Eyes of Michigan

(2021)

"Eyes of Michigan" is a collective body of work that consists of 50 illustrations of the eyes of people I've encountered around campus. It is commonly said that eyes are the windows to the soul, and my aim was to capture that small facet of the color, life, and expression that can be depicted in just one aspect of a person. As someone who always felt uncomfortable with direct eye contact, this project pushed me out of my comfort zone. Each drawing took about 20 minutes.

This project occurred when COVID mask restrictions were still in place. With everybody wearing masks, eyes were the main thing we saw in a person’s face that was not covered. Despite the flexibility and convenience that online learning offered, I made it a point to make each of these encounters in person -- there is so much detail and life that a screen cannot capture. Throughout the process, it was fascinating to capture how the present states of those individuals were able to create nuances in the expressions in their eyes, whether it was through lighthearted conversation or doing work in peaceful silence.

Materials: colored pencil on mixed media paper