America the Beautiful - Ryan Mainous
Literary Artist Statement
I think this shoebox is a representation of modern America, with the American flag being the central focus. A major statement displayed in this assemblage box is the base of the American flag. The flag is stuck on a fighter jet. This could symbolize the belief that America is rooted in war with the flag being America and the jet being war. Also on the flags pole is a sign from Napoleon Dynamite saying “Vote for Pedro.” This could be about the controversy of immigration in America today. In the movie Pedro Sanchez had recently emigrated from Juarez, Mexico, to the gem state in America. Because the sign is part of what is holding up the American flag, this could show that our country is founded on immigration. It could also be a criticism of the influx of illegal aliens from south of the border, with “Pedro” representing the average illegal alien.

To the right of this is the framework of a Rubik’s cube. On the front of it is the name of a bank. This shows how the Rubik’s cube renamed by the bank in this box, represents the American financial system. Tax codes, stocks, and the American financial system in general is so complicated, it’s almost like a Rubik’s cube. It being deconstructed shows how only the banks themselves can simplify the mess, but also how it should be simple for the average American. Behind the flag is a case with a smile on the front. In the case is a ying yang symbol and behind it is a dreidel. These represent America’s multiculturalism by showing objects from different cultures that are represented in America. They are almost obscured from view, saying that for the most part we disregard these other cultures. However, they are blocked by a smile. This shows our real priority, which is cosmetic beauty: having that perfect smile.

To the left are a baseball, a basketball, a whistle, a battery, and a bulb. The basketball, baseball, and whistle are behind the battery and bulb. The basketball, baseball, and whistle are items used in various sports, and therefore represent sports in general. The battery and bulb represent modern technology. Because the sports items are behind the technology ones it shows how America’s interests have shifted. It could be criticizing how children in America used to spend much more of their free time playing sports, but now they are playing with technology. Overall, I think this piece is positive about America; the criticisms are merely suggestions for improvement. The positive tone is established by the bright colors and lots of light.