“Iridescent” is my senior year graphic design capstone. It is an extended metaphor which uses iridescent color to highlight pivotal moments in my life that changed how I thought of myself or the world. My personal goal was to reflect on my own life’s iridescent moments while also inspiring viewers to become aware of their own.
All of us experience the same life from 7.5 billion different perspectives. The rising sun, the sounds of the city, the streaks of planes passing overhead, the smell of home, the gift of iced coffee on a hot day, the feeling of falling in love, the moment you realize you’re not, the belly ache of laughter, the awkward smiles, the nervous greetings, the heat of the moment, the blessing and curse of time, the desire to play, the feeling of rain on your skin, the realization that today was a good day, the inside jokes, the way music makes you dance, the energized feeling after a long nap, the realization that there was life before you, the earth and all it has to offer us in such a short lifetime, and the infinite list of things that make each of us human.
And yet, the world is not always in color. While time continues on, we stop to acknowledge that life sometimes just sucks; It is complex and complicated, heavy and hard. But in both the best, and even worst, of times, life goes on, and inevitably we continue to experience people, places, and moments that show us a new perspective on the world as we know it.
These people, places, moments, and experiences move us forward and help us grow, learn and transform. They give us perspective which generates hope and excitement about life. They expand our minds. Expanders show us that the world is, in fact, in color.
We make space for the expanders in our life because without them there would be no light.
And without the light, there is no color.
REFLECTIVE BY NATURE
The significance of some moments are easier to notice than others as they expand our understanding of life or ourselves. These are big moments, both good and bad, that immediately make us feel like a new person. But life is full of small moments that often have even bigger impacts. A simple conversation over coffee can feel revolutionary, if we pay attention.
More often than not, we have to look back in time to realize which exact people, places, or events made these impacts in our life. Sometimes that ‘ah-ha!’ moment, the moment when you fully understand a piece of your life, doesn’t happen until you reflect upon it days, weeks, or even years later. Once you shine light into the archive of your memories, only then can you fully process which moments in your life were responsible for expanding your mind. These are called iridescent moments because they help us to see the color in the world. Iridescent colors are a vital part of growing and learning about ourselves because they encourage optimism and inspire us to focus our energy on continually expanding ourselves.
The beauty of iridescence is that it is reflective by nature. Not being able to pinpoint just one color, there is something magical about seeing the full spectrum that light creates with an object. In retrospect, the colors we see will always be changing as we continue to expand and experience new parts of our lives. Even two friends who experience the exact same moment together will be impacted differently. While we all experience the same day in a different way, we still have the ability to connect with one another by sharing our light, ultimately sharing the opportunity to see color as well. The simple act of telling a friend about your own iridescent memory could reflect a bit of color onto their own life. We desperately need these moments of reflection and projection because they not only bring us hope about the future, but about ourselves and who we are becoming. The more we look back to see these moments of color, the more we realize we, too, are iridescent: always changing, shiny, and beautiful.
THIS WORLD IS A MIRROR.
THIS HOME IS A LIGHT.
MY MIND IS A REFLECTION.
AND SO, I REFLECTED.
I mapped my mind. When I examined the timeline of my life, I pinpointed the moments that stuck out in my brain. I took note of which ones felt more important, even if it did not make sense. I constructed a list of some of my most personal memories from the past 22 years and surveyed their impact based on how they directly changed my life, how they changed my perspective, or how they made me feel. This process was very therapeutic and left me feeling nostalgic, but it was also heavy and emotionally exhausting. A lot of memories that came to mind were expected, but many were not. Many of them were very specific moments, linked to important events in my life, that seemed to have some sort of larger significance.
After realizing that my own list of memories was much more intimate than expected, I wondered how other people process their own life. If sketching a simple mind map could make me feel so deeply about my own life, surely others would have similar experiences. At this point, I began obsessing over how to visually represent the way these memories had affected me. I conducted multiple experiments in my bedroom using light and reflections to obtain a better understanding of how we all experience color. My ultimate goal was to discover a visual language that would inspire other people to view their own life in the same light I had viewed mine.
There are places to go and people to see! The world reflects onto us. When we leave our comfort zone, we absorb new knowledge, develop new feelings, and understand new realizations, which stimulates growth. We expand. Yet, fear robs us of these experiences. Leaving home, the state, and especially the country can be an intimidating decision for me. Sometimes I have to be my own cheerleader and remind myself...you should go.
For me, home is a safe place. It is the place where you recharge and process the outside world. 3640 is representative of my home away from home. From late night conversations, to Friday night house parties, 3640 taught me (and many others) that it is not enough to be transparent, we need genuine vulnerability. So, while the world reflects onto me, it is 3640 where the actual expansion takes place. It is the light within me that allows the reflections to produce beautiful color.
My brain is a snapshot of my experiences. Once we see that both the world and ourselves are iridescent, we realize the importance of each one. Processing how the world has impacted me allows me to grow and mature so I can, in turn, impact the world.