hildhood seems so distant now, as opposed to the everyday mindless self-indulgence of young adulthood. Not much can be remembered from years past; however, the sense of innocence and carefree passion is always reminiscent whenever thought is placed upon those years. We were young explorers, like Lewis and Clark, trudging through the marshy woods, examining every small insect and breathing in the warm summer air. We begrudgingly would walk home with faces smeared with mud and knees crusted with dried blood from the tumbles we took down mammoth hills of dirt and stone as the pink sun sank below the horizon. We became astronauts lost on a distant planet, superheroes fighting for the good of humanity, and magicians casting spells upon the evil forces of the world. Those were the carefree days for which I so longingly reminisce.
Those days used to blend with each other, knowing that a new adventure would unfold before us the next afternoon. The days of adulthood also seem to blend, however, in a way that is not to be looked forward to. These days seem to be in a constant state of monotony, with schedules and due dates. There is never the mysteriousness present that used to let my childhood self excited to wake up every morning; there are no new adventures to behold. To where did this sense of spritely innocence disappear? I long for the days where problems of adulthood never tainted my sense of pure joy and innocence.
Though those days are gone, growing up seems to be a new adventure in itself. And while my childlike sense of imagination is gone, it seems to still be somewhere deep down inside me. Perhaps it has not completely disappeared, but grown as the way my mind and body has. Perhaps it has evolved to adapt along with the social norms of becoming an adult. My creative outlet has been shaped by my childhood and I can call upon those memories to help me in my design of the built environment. They influence what is done. Though I never know why I do some things that I do, there is that intangible force pushing me in a certain direction. My childhood will always be within me.
If given the opportunity, one could interpret the classification of art in a plethora of distinctive mediums. It is assumed that most people, however, would automatically recall the visual arts as the most principal form of art, likely having had the idea of painting and sculpture ingrained into their subconscious as the most concrete definition of “art” from early memory. Alas, what most people may not realize is that art extends its tendrils into realms that may not be as easily considered. Art could easily be argued to exist within performance art and theatre. This also holds true for dance and music. Although these classifications lack the brush and canvas that painting utilizes in the creation of art, they all operate within the confines of artistic expression. The artist attempts to evoke sentiments from within the audience through the instruments they are allotted. While the art forms already listed are significant and unique in their means, the influence of literary expression cannot be lost.
Communication has been paramount to the survival of man since the beginning of time. It is the way generations have learned from the past in order to survive and excel, to thrive from scripts with the purpose to educate and perpetuate traditions of antiquity. The ability to convince others through the mastery of prose and diction has exceedingly shaped the way people live today. This was the birth of the art of storytelling.
A true innovator of allegory was Italio Calvino. In his work Marcovaldo, Calvino conjures vivid scenes that transport the reader into the world of Marcovaldo, the protagonist. Marcovaldo appreciates the nature encompasses his surroundings and always, without fail, falls victim to quirky misfortune. The underlying themes of poverty, power of the police state, and the harshness of reality in Calvino’s stories, however, provides compelling political commentary that allows the reader to truly contemplate the expressions he is trying to convey in the short amount of dialogue that he provides.
To manipulate words into a meaningful final product is a gift that is utilized by professionals in many fields. As in architecture, I realize how important it will be to be able to reiterate ideas that are convincing and evocative of my intentions. Creative writing is an instrumental in this and I was able to realize this through the works of Calvino, a true master of storytelling.
How does one feel to be so disconnected to the world by the primary sensory means? Jorge Luis Borges embraces his blindness as a gift as it allows for his capacity to learn to increase and provides him the opportunity to appreciate languages and works of poetry that he might not had if he had retained his ability to see. While there is a disconnection to the environment through the capability to perceive through means of sight, one can assume that other sensory factors are heightened due to the lack of vision. Much of what I do depends on my ability to see, something I feel that many people take for granted.
Just closing my eyes I feel that my other senses are sharpened, acute to the slightest brush and able to pick up the sound of a pin drop from afar. As strange as it may seems, I catch myself staring blankly at some points throughout the day, completely numb to every other sense that I possess. Merely blank empty gazing into some sort of random void or distant horizon and without a single synapse or neuron firing. As blank as untouched paper, my mind will drift and my most useful sense is just taking nothing in. How would this change if I was somehow blind? There is nothing to vacantly gaze off of into. Is every other sense tensely waiting to react as any sort of incoming danger might arise? Is there never a moment where one is able to relax and attempt to perceive the hypothetical imminent threat that could happen at any moment?
Where Jorge Luis Borges lacks his ability to see, he makes up for in vision. Not vision in the meaning of sight, but in terms of what his expectations and goals. He does not let himself be held down by the restraints of blindness, but he actually comes to appreciate the way it has shaped him and his perspective of the world. This is much more than I can say about most people who have the ability to see. Everything is taken for granted.
Many people can see but they lack direction, vision, drive, and the capability to prove ones self. I do not think about what it would be like to be blind every day, but if I reflect back on how my lifestyle would have changed, then I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today. But then again who would I have been? Much of what I love to do is heavily dependent on the ability to see. I would not have been able to balk at he colossal oil paintings of the old masters, I would not have played tennis for years, I could not appreciate fashion or art. My career path relies on my ability to see shapes and determine whether or not they make a cohesive whole. Nothing would be the same.
Though one must appreciate their sight, do not take pity on those without theirs. Maybe they don’t want our sympathy. Blindness does not have to be seen as impairment to those who cannot see, but seen as a gift as Borges did.
My name is John Shin and I hail from Brentwood, Tennessee. I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 26, 1991 and moved to Brentwood at twelve years of age. My heritage is Korean, however, being born in the United States, I do not identify as particularly nationalist to my motherland. I generally characterize myself as being and American, as cliché as that may seem.
I have two sisters, Pearl who is older, and Susan who is younger. We are all one year apart and constantly argue on who was the mistake, as no couple in their right minds would attempt to conceive three children in a row. God bless my parents, however, as my sisters have very much shaped the person that I have grown to become. Pearl is currently a senior at Boston College and plans to graduate with a degree in communications and a minor in art history at the end of this semester. Susan is a freshman at UT and does not know what she is to do with her short time here on earth. However, I do hope that she will continue to explore many possibilities of career choices, as I know she is very much capable of excelling at much of what she attempts.
As for what shaped my interest in the realm of design and architecture, we go back to my primary education. I attended Brentwood High School for four years where I took art classes for many years under the tutelage of Barbara Bullard, whom I visit quite frequently when back home. What she has taught me increased my capacity for excellence in design and composition and I truly hold her in high esteem for her hand in my love for art. She pushed me to levels of artistic achievement that I never thought I could achieve which allowed me to win many awards for my art, including an exhibition for a piece I completed that travelled to many major museums across the United States.
Alas, at this time I never considered applying for a place in the architecture program and instead chose to delve into the bore of engineering. Perhaps it was my innate desire to create beauty through design or some internal voice telling me but after my sophomore year at UT, I applied for the architecture program and now, as a Junior I am in my first year of architecture and do not regret that decision one bit. This education seems unconventional as compared to my previous twenty years of schooling experience. I spend many nights a week contained within this concrete monolith and love every second.
As for some random facts about myself, I am an avid tennis player and have been for ten years. I also secretly have an undying passion for acting, which has allowed me to be on a handful of sets as an extra. I plan to double major in business as well and hopefully will be able to minor in French if scheduling works out as planned. Another secret passion of mine is fashion, and finally, I am wholeheartedly prepared to tackle the cyclical stress that awaits me around every corner in the form of studies, models, and diagrams.