Sunday, May 19, 2024

Art and Basketball plus a Manifesto: The Unavoidable Assertion of Art || By Graphic Arts and Design Major Rhay Porter

Part 1 - Art and Basketball: The Maestros of My Life

I think when people think of athletes, they don’t associate them studying a subject like art. They think that they probably study exercise sciences, or physical health, or even biology or nursing. I study graphic arts and design at AIC and am also on the women’s basketball team on athletic scholarship.  Click any image to enlarge.

When being a student athlete, you are constantly tested. Emotionally, physically, positively, and negatively. Being on the basketball team is a blessing for more than just keeping me in shape. Its connected me with my sisters, its taught me patience and teamwork. 

However, it has stressed me out to no end. I am a perfectionist, and so I want to do my role to the best of my ability at all times which isn’t completely possible. It connects over to my art life. When working on a piece, I’m hunched over for hours on end spending that time on the shading of one specific spot. 

When working on assignments, I constantly ask myself, “Is this good to the standard of not only my professor, but to my class? What are they going to think?” 

For both art and sports, you are exerting yourself emotionally, letting go of emotions positively and negatively through something you love and adore. I wouldn’t trade the world for my skills in art or in basketball, and I would go to war for them both. They are both mental processes that you can only perfect through time.

Part 2 - Manifesto: The Unavoidable Assertion of Art 

To read the full text of the manifesto speech Rhay delivered in Professor Borrelli's Theater and Society course click here.

The conclusion of her manifesto:

The universe will reward those courageous enough to do what they love. If what you love is painting, then you shall do it with the fluffiest blush as your sword. If what you love is writing lyrics as a musician, then you shall do it with the boldest of scriptures. The connection between artists and non are too similar to continue to discriminate. If what you love is to save lives as a doctor, then you shall save the blood of the mightiest soldier. But do not do so without the strength of your creative mind beside you. If what you love is to defend a client in court as a lawyer, then remember what inspired your solution suddenly. We pave the way for so many, and never gain the appreciation, when all we thrive for is connection. We demand to be seen.

(Rhay paused her speech at this point to reveal her artwork of Vincent Van Gogh as a doctor.)

Vincent Van Gogh created from pulling deep within himself, especially during time of need, and stress, and made something life changing from not only himself and his reputation, but the world around him. He became a household name, with his disabilities and misunderstandings of the world plaguing him at every moment. He could’ve made his life into so many things. For all we knew, he could’ve ended up a doctor, a lawyer, a singer. But he chose his inner calling and shared his life through the means of art like so many want to do, but get downgraded by society every day. Artists through time know the struggle, now we beg that the people yearn to know it too, alongside us instead of against us.

This is why I do it. This is my why. You may know me for so many things, but this is it. My breath, my air. And I only hope to continue to share with you my reason, my itch, my yearning. I only hope to inspire youth, to find theirs too. I hope the shadows that we were forced into form, with your help, into a beautiful painting that we all can experience together.

Thank you.

Click to view Rhay's photographic portraits using studio lighting.

Click to view Rhay's photographic portfolio. Click on an image to view full image.

Professor Nordell photographed Rhay competing on the court.

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