Story Collected by Yaritza Guillen
When I was a junior in high school, I was assigned an art project for class. The requirement of the project was to use unused items and/or trash where the students had to turn it into an environmental awareness object by recycling it into the artwork. After weeks of procrastinating and freaking out over the due date coming up so quickly, I came across with the idea of incorporating an animal into the project. I soon decided to make a flying pig out of any recycled material I could get my hands on at such short noticed.
I search around my neighborhood, house, and relative’s houses for any disposable materials. Eventually, I gathered enough old junk to form my flying pig. For this project I used a milk gallon for the body, paper mâché to cover the body (which included old newspapers and magazines), old pink paint I found lying around, old egg cartons for the feet, paper cup for the snout, old screws for the nostrils, fruit nets for the wings, metal wires/coils to shape the wings and its tail, and cardboard for the ears to design the pig that soon evolved into a flying pig. These were the products that were used to complete and deliver the project’s message.
I would consider this flying pig was one of my most creative works in high school. After many years since creating it, I have not once considered throwing it away, even as I travel and move around the city. One of the reasons as to why not could be due to the fact that when I was working on it, my family helped me create this amazing masterpiece. For example, I personally created the core and body of my artwork. My aunt, who is an arts and crafts aficionado, formed the wings and provided art materials. My uncle, who works as an electrician, coiled the tail and provided a staple gun. Another aunt came up with the idea of cutting up the egg carton and using them to create the pig’s feet. Lastly, my mother and I put the pieces of the artwork together.
Although, it may seem like a simple artwork if you take a look at the finished object, the effort and support from my family lending a hand to finish this project was incredible. I was able to explain my ideas to them, and in exchange I was given feedback on imaginative ways to make my project idea come to life. Also, they lend me tools and supplies that were needed that gave my art project a whimsical structure that was enjoyable to look at.
One can easily see this flying pig project is falling apart and that there are parts that are missing from its original form. For example, it is no longer a flying pig since the wings have been long lost for some time. Yet, after almost five years since I have made it, I have not been able to bring myself to throw it away. It could be that I have grown rather fond of the memories that led to the creation of this beautiful pink creature. The collective effort of my family and me putting these pieces together to form this flying pig will always remind me of a well-spent day with my family. For that reason alone, it is enough for me to keep this broken artwork of mine as a token of my gratitude for my family. As far as I know you do not get rid of family that easily.