Justification: My artwork represents a concept that love is bound to labels which aids us in belonging to our societies. While some may find love to be natural and an unconscious pull towards another, there is a need to find the perfect match that adds great benefit to an individual’s life. Eric Packer displays this concept well in the way he chose Elise Shifrin as his wife in order to fit in with the societal norm of relationships for the wealthy. On page 72, Eric’s characterization of how their love came to be depicts the necessary requirements that were met in order for them to be a couple. Eric is rich, self-made, ruthless, strong and brilliant while Elise was rich, heir-apparent, brittle, gifted and beautiful. They very clearly complement one another, even though Elise’s beauty may have been fabricated in Eric’s mind to make the relationship work (121). In my work I depict a physical representation of how one would find their perfect match. It represents the concept that we look for the complements in our own personalities and appearances in others. The multiple cards beneath Elise, represents the notion that some individuals go through multiple relationships and possible suitors before they find “the one.” Love is not always something of a fairy-tale, but it is also a self-serving endeavor to belong in a society of perfection as well.
The Justification: My art is trying to depict the inner struggles of the main character named Eric, the man sitting on the right, seeing himself as the man who set himself on fire, the man on the left, on pages 97-100. What I see as his character develops is that he seems to be unsure about his own life and as the book goes on Eric unravels more and more. I think that this shows that the most successful people on the outside can also be unfixable beyond repair on the inside. When Eric says “He did a serious thing. He took his life. Isn’t this what you have to do to show them that you’re serious?” (100). It is in this statement that I can identify that Eric feels similarly to the struggles the man on fire. He has success in numbers but throws it all away so that people will take him seriously. Success is not everything that there is to fulfill a life and this is demonstrated repeatedly by Eric.
Transcript for the presentation section: What I’m trying to illustrate in my art is that the main character, Eric, sees himself within the man who set himself on fire. He feels pain and mental suffering just like the man and though to an outside perspective he has a perfect life but in reality money cannot fill the void he feels. So I display the flames starting to reach Eric as he is beginning to lose himself just like the man. The man made a serious statement within his actions and Eric seems to be heading along that path as well as he throws his money away to make a statement of his own. Money isn’t everything and that message resonates throughout the book. As stated before, I found Eric’s state troubling throughout the book and I knew that what he was portrayed as was meant to teach a lesson to everyone that thinks that money is everything. Here’s a man who had it all lost it and still has the means but unravels more and more as time goes on. He very clearly is grasping to feel something more in his life that money can’t provide him, and I wanted to portray his pain compared to the act of pain most prevalent in the novel. My art overall, with editing, critique, and finalizing, it took multiple tries to get the lines to be defined right, it took me about 45 minutes to complete my piece. I like my art because I think it shares an important message symbolically. My idea came to me in the middle of class and once I made it real, it came together just as I imagined and actually made me understand the passages I highlighted more. I’ve shown my art to some of my classmates that are interested in philosophy and they were all intrigued and one classmate actually suggested that I make the flames start to fade into Eric’s side of the art to start to show his deterioration more vividly.