Maxwell Smith

Vulnerable Joy

Class of: 2026

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Digital photo montage

Faculty: Karelyn Siegler

Prompt: The goal of this assignment was to create a digital photo montage that expressed a certain emotion through the use of color.

From the start of this project, I wanted to use this picture of me smiling that my friend took during a New Years party. As an unfiltered visual of joy, it fit well into this assignment where we had to convey a specific emotion in the piece. From there I worked on adding a background and implementing the color yellow into the piece, which symbolizes joy and ecstasy. I wanted to give the montage the feeling of the cover of a R&B album, like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” or Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book”. The single central figure, a simple backdrop, and a unifying color are all elements that help invoke the style of these covers.