Wk 6 – Artist Conversation – Short Story

“Talk to Strangers”
Ariel Maldonado
CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East

Short story:

Ever since I was a toddler, I was always told to not talk to strangers, keep my hands to myself, and to be respectful to everything and everyone around me. These words were the key determiners to how I interacted with everyone around me. I was always the shy, quiet kid who had no problem playing by themselves. However, one day I had my biannual dentist appointment, which I dreaded. The only thing I looked forward to was the indoor playroom that the dentist office offered to little kids. It had a tv that always played Elmo and play sets. I would always walk towards the play set because it caught my eyes the most. It was this intricate contraption with wires going in every direction and bead for kids to move around. I don’t know why I was so drawn to it, but it helped ease my mind since I was about to see the dentist. Because I always kept to myself, when another kid came in to play with me, I didn’t know how to interact with them. They walked towards the same play set as I was playing with, and began moving the beads through the wires. Then I moved a bead, and she watched. We silently began taking turns without saying a word to each other. Afterwards, she asked me what my name was and then I told her and asked her what her name was. Thus, began a new, and very short, friendship. I had the wire/bead contraption to thank for that. I wanted to make a piece that would be interactive and draw people’s attention in just like that contraption drew my attention in. I broke the rule of not talking to strangers and I made a friend. If people have the same interests, maybe they would start talking to one another and become friends. My inspiration for this maze-like piece stemmed from the wire/bead play set in my dentist office. I made it out of clay and placed it on a 36x36x24″ pedestal. This makeshift piece, hopefully, will be engaging to people, and maybe help people meet one another.



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