Elena Mendez – Girly

Artist: Elena Mendez

Title: Girly

Grade: 10th Grade

School: Las Lomas

Teacher: Artwork created independently

I created this digital painting using one brush, and a monochromatic color scheme. The use of the color pink was to highlight the motif of femininity in my piece.

This piece represents how I was pressured to be less “girly” as I got older. Being sad, staying up late, and poor mental health was the norm in my mind, especially throughout quarantine. This is what I tried to convey in the portrait on the left side of my piece. The shadows under the eyes, the tears, and the slight dilapidation at the edge of the figure were meant to be dark and pensive.

As I progressed through late elementary and middle school, I was often judged for being too loud. This made me ashamed of my passions. See the two flags at the bottom of the right side of my piece. They depict the Japanese and Icelandic flag. I’ve had a great interest in both countries’ cultures for a long time, and I’m proud to be half Icelandic. But for both of these interests, I was deemed obsessive, and stopped talking about them. I intend to change this.

Recently, I’ve realized that there is beauty in being girly, and that’s what I tried to convey with the simplicity of the happy face on the right side. It reminds me of the simplicity of childhood, where all these judgements and opinions did not exist. On it are hearts, stars, and an exclamation mark – a call to action. I hope this piece makes someone, girl or not, to be vocal about their passions, and express themselves in spite of what society says.