Name: Talk To Strangers
Artist: Ariel Maldonado
Material: Fired Clay
HxWxD: About 6″x 36″x 60″
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
The piece of art that I have chosen this week comes from Ariel Maldonado’s Talk To Strangers exhibit; as soon as I saw this piece, it immediately reminded me of a maze and although my story has no mazes in it, it does involve my first encounter(s) with many of the feelings you are faced with when in a maze: the element of discovery and the feeling of being lost, and also ties into the whole theme of the exhibit which is to not be afraid to meet strangers.
When I was about 4 years old, my mother took my brother and I to Toys’R’Us to look at the the new toys that had been released; since we didn’t have very much money, my mother would often take us to the mall – or random stores – on the weekends to just simply look at the items since, although we couldn’t afford many of the things there, those were the only places aside from the library and the park that provided free entertainment for two boisterous children.
During this trip, however, my mom said that we could pick out one toy from the store for her to buy, which never happened, and I could not contain my excitement. Once she said that, I remember immediately running down all the aisles trying to figure out what toy was the best since I didn’t want to waste the only opportunity I had to get a new toy. After I had explored the store for what felt like an eternity, I remember I looked up and soon realized that I was in a part of the store that I did not recognize and began to feel a little afraid.
I remember trying to be brave and make the most out of the situation so I wouldn’t let the fear overtake me so I went over to the baby book section and hid away in a corner to read and wait for my mom to come find me. After about 10 minutes, my mother had still not found me and I begun to feel very alone and afraid – I remember looking at the store and thinking that it seemed a lot bigger and scarier than it had before.
I finally gave in and decided to run down the biggest aisle I could find in hopes that it would lead me to the exit or that I would get so lost that I would eventually find my mom. I was crying hysterically at this point and remember making it to the entrance where there was a front desk; as I had tears running down my cheeks, I uttered to the employee sitting at the desk that I was lost, which led to them announcing through a loud speaker that someone’s child was at their desk and needed to be picked up. A few moments later, I saw my mom coming down the aisle and I ran to meet her halfway – I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly love my mother more than I did at that moment. This experience not only taught me how much we should appreciate the things we have while we still have them but also that interacting with new people isn’t so strange after all – who knows, maybe one day you might need their help just like I did that day.