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My Life: In & Out

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Painted by Michelle V. (Class of 2025, University of Colorado Boulder)

For the Ambassador final project, I chose to depict my state of mind as a woman in a hispanic household visually. I chose the try and true method of acrylic paint on canvas. Using this fast drying medium allowed me to change or rearrange or even repaint as they were brought out. This gave me the freedom to mull over my family situation, relationships, and upbringing. I have felt, and perhaps have even been told, that I come from a family with a solid foundation at its core. In my painting, I represented this foundation by the frame of the house, my house. I did not paint the walls as I wanted to represent the flow from the past to present and onto the future. If you notice, on the left hand side, my piece seems to be darker, even turbulent. Here I reach back into my family's history. I went as far back as the patriarchal beginnings of my family. That legacy is the anchor that holds us all together. You can tell from the storm and the mask, which represents the forces which led to restricted emotions. As we enter the structure of my home life, one finds me at the center, after all I am the artist! Although I don't see the various members of my family as numbers, I used numbers to show the order in which they appeared. I left windows on both sides so that my feelings could flow throughout. Over the entire structure, you find the canopy of my Mexican heritage. This has been an integral part of my life, since I was born and still is. A word about my house

floating: if you notice it still casts a solid shadow, this represents to me the family support that I have been given, and continue to receive.

It's necessary for clarity to explain some of the symbols that I used throughout the work. To begin, the A plus represents the expected pie in the sky push to do and be your best at all cost. On the other side, the sunnier side if you will, you find on the eve of my house a bee's nest. This is not any ordinary collection of pests, far from it, for it represents my time at the J. Churchill Owen Branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver. Tiny as they are, each bee represents one of the staff that worked there. The next A represents learning with enjoyment, while still reaching your goals. That freedom is represented by the red-breasted bird. We now have the pink feminist symbol. This symbol is the antithesis of the patriarchal symbol on the left. As I have matured and ventured out in the world, this symbol has become important to me and how I live my life. The flying book represents the relationships that I have kept close to me throughout my life. That leaves us at the lower right hand corner. These masks are not your typical tragedy and comedy masks, rather they represent the ability to express your emotions good or bad, positive or negative. I want to give a special thanks to George Patterson, the Visual Arts Director as Owen, for helping me bring my ideas to light.


Michelle was one of Access Opportunity's Student Ambassadors throughout the 2022-23 school year. She worked on many different projects this year, but this essay represents her final work as an ambassador. To learn more about her, please visit her other blog post. We wish you luck in your Junior year at CU, Michelle!


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