I was inspired by the beautiful images of Alice in Wonderland illustrations in the Cassady collections from USC Libraries to create my sculpture, Hearts Dream. The Cassady Lewis Carroll Bibliography’s art section was particularly helpful, because I could see many different artists’ work in the same document. It was interesting how the illustrations evolved over the past century, with artists branching into many styles and mediums. I liked seeing all the different interpretations of the characters and their personalities. So for my sculpture, I wanted to illustrate my own interpretations of the character, and to use them in an object that could be both whimsical and functional. I embraced the childhood imagination of Lewis Carroll by making a mobile, a toy designed to hang over a child’s crib as they sleep. On the mobile, I hung twelve small illustrations of Alice in Wonderland characters, each painted in oil on a playing card in the suit of Hearts. This symbolizes Alice’s dream, and how her imagination led her to meet all the delightful, humorous, and uncanny characters as she slept. The mobile may hang over another bed, as one sleeps and dreams the creative, whimsical, sometimes fearful dreams of a child. Each character is painted on a playing card to evoke the theme of playing cards in the story. The characters are painted expressively in saturated colors to show the vibrance of their personalities. The characters depicted are Alice, the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Mock Turtle, the Frog Footman, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, the Dodo, the Gryphon, Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Through the Looking Glass, the Queen of Hearts, and the King of Hearts.
I am applying for the Wonderland Prize because I try to create with youthful whimsy similarly to Lewis Carroll. As a childrens’ art teacher, I hope to relate to the playful personalities of my students, and to help them embrace their imagination through creating artwork. Inspiring and uplifting childrens’ creativity is why passing on stories like Alice in Wonderland is so important.