Vanitas, before 2020 is a romanticization of my college years as I prepare to graduate this summer. As someone obsessed with the passage of time and the cataloging and safekeeping of moments, I find myself frequently nostalgic for events that have barely passed.
I first learned about vanitas, a genre of painting popular during the 17th century, in my high school art history class. I was fascinated by the hidden meanings behind each object, and how the skulls, flowers, fruits and other objects told a story about the transitory nature of life and the certainty of death.
Time is an idea I’ve returned to often since then, and I wanted to create a series that evokes the unique experience of semi-adulthood that is American college life. Like most things, it is temporary, but we cannot help emphasizing its beauty and vibrancy when we reminisce.