Ellina Jung

Manhattan Pursuit

Class of: 2027

Major: Fine Arts BFA

Medium: Mixed media sculpture installation

Faculty: Matt Browning

Prompt: We were assigned to create a self-portrait that prompted us to explore how we might represent ourselves at that moment in time

While brainstorming this project, I asked myself how my current lifestyle as a college student compares to my expectations three months ago. Although I romanticized New York just as much as anyone who aspires to live in the city, I also knew of the challenges that would come with living here. Assault, high living costs, and difficulty making friends were some of the worries that I had (and still have) regarding what it would be like to live in NYC. However, I soon realized that despite these looming concerns, living here is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I should not take for granted. Despite its quirks, I am more inspired than ever to pursue my dreams as an artist in this new city that I now call home. I started to portray this feeling by spraying foam onto chicken wire in the shape of Manhattan. I let the foam expand naturally on the wire secured to a cardboard base, taking inspiration from the free-standing Philadelphia Wireman sculptures. Upon seeing the dried foam, I thought the organic shapes that the foam had formed were interesting, but lacked the personal representation of myself that I desired to show. Using various colors of acrylic paint, I added a more personal touch to the foam, developing the right section into the scene of a figure climbing atop the structure. This is where I derived the title “Manhattan Pursuit”: a person—me—pursuing and embracing the forces of New York City.