Artist Joel Lara
Information: Created in 2021; measures 7 feet by 4 feet; weighs 80 pounds; made of steel, aluminum, copper/aluminum wire, mirrors, and spray paint
Description: This piece was selected to be put on display in Elkhart County because it brings awareness to suicide and positivity. This is a taboo subject which needs to be talked about as many battle with various mental illnesses. More must be said about this matter and not everything about the subject is negative. Not only does this sculpture bring awareness, but it celebrates those who are still fighting and honors those who are no longer with us. Mental illness is a real thing and not everyone survives it. The choice of mirrors for this piece is to have the viewers look at themselves for 10 seconds, hence the title in Spanish, “10 segundos.” It takes courage to stand and see yourself in front of a mirror in public while everyone is watching, but it can be a whole spiritual experience when no one is watching. For those 10 seconds, one can talk with oneself or have a conversation with others, not to mention the infinite possibilities you can get if you want to take a picture with it. The birds in this piece are a representation of the struggle that many, including Joel, have or are dealing with. By simply sharing your story you can save a person’s life. Without even knowing it, you can be someone’s inspiration to keep fighting and not give up. Life is a struggle, but it only makes you stronger. You do not have to fight this alone!
For sale: $1,218
About the artist: Joel is an art major at Goshen College. Generally, his media of work is three-dimensional and specifically sculpture or ceramics. Lately what has inspired him is the stories of people battling with mental illness (depression, anxiety, food disorder, etc.). He has struggled, and still struggles with this personally and he wants to bring awareness and positivity to this illness. Joel’s vision for his art is to provide a way for others to see the good in life and the good in the struggles that we all face. Life is not easy and even waking up every day is an accomplishment already. Joel loves being an artist, because he feels he is free to go into his own little world and bring people in. Artists can express themselves without having to speak because their art speaks for them. He has been a sculptor for since 2018.