So, I have always loved art. It’s fascinating, what different people can do with similar supplies, and yet make something unique. Personally, my favorite artist is Salvador Dali, whose artworks are just as bizarre as his mustache. Liking his paintings has opened my eyes and given me the ability to appreciate any type of art. Most recently, I have learned that you can do anything with art, including using it as a vessel for activism.
The first artist I’m going to talk to you about is Doron Gazit. Gazit uses an unusual medium – balloons. Most of his works are displayed during big events, such as when he placed long balloons along the Asahi River during the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Okayama Castle in Japan (which is a place I wish to visit one day). However in 1998 he used his balloon creations to spread awareness about climate change and the misuse of the environment with The Red Line Project. The Red Line Project – presented all over the world, from the Salton Sea in California to the Dead Sea – places long red balloons in areas where the effects of climate change are very visible.
My next pick for an artist is Travis Threlkel. Threlkel is one of the co-founders of Obscura, a company that uses light as their canvas to make creative light shows and displays. They sometimes use paint and water, or just use different color lights in different shapes and quantities to create large scale images that are projected on buildings. Threlkel has said, “I want to turn adults into little kids asking, “What are they doing? How did they do that? What are they trying to say?’” Obscura’s art, whether it be a piece that is animated like Trevor Paglen’s “Sight Machine” project that uses facial recognition – or the creation of theMART building in Chicago’s light show that only shows up at night – fills me with awe, where all I can do is whisper, “That’s so cool!” I love the bright colors and deceptive simplicity that still manages to be so new and so creative. I really do feel like a child, because it makes me realize that something that I see and use every day can be turned into something as imaginative as a tiger on the Empire State Building.
And then there’s the rest of us, the ones who paint for relaxation, or doodle at the edges of their paper as a pastime. I consider myself an artist. I draw and doodle, I paint, I also attempt to do digital drawings, with … mixed results. I painted a cherry blossom for my mom’s birthday present. It made her happy because she loves cherry blossom trees, with their fragrance, and their connection to Japanese culture. I was able to use my art to let her know how important her birthday is to me. My hope for the future is that art keeps evolving, improving people’s lives, communicating messages like hope, love, equality, and courage because to be an artist takes creativity and passion. We are shown that by people who have nothing, and yet can make art from trash and debris, and it knocks the wind out of you, just like an expensive painting in a museum. I will challenge myself to be more unconventional with my art and I hope you the reader do too.

Firdaws Hakizimana is a student at Cape Elizabeth High School.
She loves terrible puns, writing, and is one of a kind.