“See Red” by Nickie Karayiannidis

February 3, 2003
Nickie Karayiannidis

After collecting a couple thoughts about myself portraying my personal life experiences and what it means to be Deaf into an artwork, I decided to make this project loud and simple without using a collage of pictures. First, I went to the Campus Connection bookstore to decide what kind of artistic medium I wanted to use. As I browsed through, I saw that I wanted to make something by using three-dimensional media instead of using a flat poster. I figured I wanted to be a little visually different than the examples of the other students’ artwork which was viewed on the website. As I was getting all these different ideas in my head while I was searching through the bookstore, I didn’t really have anything specific in my mind at that moment. I picked and bought an 11″ wooden frame, few molding clays, rigid plaster wrap, acrylic inks, and clear glaze.

I went home and tried to visually imagine what I wanted to do with the stuff that I bought and try to make it portray my deafness and personal life experiences together. The only thing I said to myself was that I only wanted to make it simple and into a bold “picture” that would say it all without using a collage. After having some serious thoughts to get my “imaginary artwork” together, I finally figured it out and strongly felt that it would make the viewers to be able observe and guess my intentional message. Since I had to express what it means to be Deaf, the first thing that came into my mind is the ear. The ear is an obvious statement and the easiest way to show signs of deafness. While I had to think about my personal life experiences, I felt angry and frustrated that I was born deaf and I have always wished that I would become hearing. Looking back, I remembered that I was not truly proud of being deaf and I was hostile towards the deaf culture, including learning sign language. I was very closed-minded and in disagreement with myself that I was deaf. I refused to open up and embraced who I am until I attended mainstream high school with a deaf program. After going through some changes and realizing that my deafness has helped me to become the person of who I am today. Now I am proud to say I am deaf and have no shame of admitting it.

In my artwork, I have used the rigid plaster wrap to shape up my ear and added molding clay to layer up and exaggerate its actual size. I also made a hearing aid with an ear mold with the clay as well. I added seven mini plastic eyes to represent my seven earrings that I have on my left ear and that people always looking at my ear with the hearing aid whenever I have my hair up. I took a picture of myself with my “best” frustrated/angry expression and enlarged it into a black and white paper print. I chose the picture to be in black and white to symbolize myself as being in the past and I used clear glaze over the picture to add a captivating touch. I painted my lips with red acrylic ink to emphasize my mouth as part of speaking my anger out. I chose the color red because I like to think it means for attention and anger. I glued the picture on the 11″ wooden frame along the molded ear sticking out right above my “opened” mouth. I have used coat-hanger wires, nails, hot glue to make the ear stand at least one inch above my mouth. I have made it that way so it can look like I am screaming my ear out and say that “I am deaf and proud of it”. Finally, I painted the wooden frame brownish/red with the acrylic ink to signify the attention of whom I was and who I am now. In the end, after my completion of the artwork, I took one good look at it and firmly named it as See Red.