Aylen's Trip to Carnegie Hall


My name is Aylen Mercado. I am a senior at White Station High School in Memphis, TN.

I have had the tremendous honor of being selected as one in eight high school artists across the country to receive a National Scholastics Gold Portfolio Medal for my series of work titled "After an Eight Day Work Week."

I am in need of funding for traveling expenses to New York City to receive this prestigious award at Carnegie Hall.  Any and all amounts for this trip would be greatly appreciated. 

I will be awarded a scholarship for my work that was selected nationally. 

Artist's Statement:

Each piece in my series "After an Eight Day Week" displays my interpretations of pain and exhaustion through the human form. I find that these pieces demonstrate my execution of charcoal, a medium that I had not fully experimented with before. The charcoal in my work allowed me to exaggerate values in the human body. I am also interested in highlighting the struggles of the everyday worker who must sacrifice their body physically and mentally in hours of labor in order to survive.

My work reveals the end-of-the-day pain that a laborer experiences. Though I never explicitly cite the profession or work of the individual, I hope that people can connect with the pain that this worker and many others have to endure. Most pieces focus on the hands, feet, and head of the subject which are parts of the body that handle the most pain and stress from hours of laborious work. Much of my work emphasizes lines and wrinkles in the face and hands, and I believe that viewers will see this and subconsciously mimic these expressions as they analyze my work.

Art allows me to recreate reality and compose it in a different manner to develop and show my own style. Because of my involvement as a social and economic justice activist, I am exposed to art in various mediums that represent the struggles and issues in society. Art is a form of communication, often, without the use of words. It is also a source of inspiration for me in that I can sit in front of a piece and stare at each detail and later be provoked to create. I aim to use art to be able to connect to an audience and evoke emotions or thoughts because as art has introduced me to new ideas and perspectives, I hope to create work that has a similar impact on others.

Aylen Mercado


Aylen Mercado
Memphis, TN

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