Pieces of a Grant Year

Our own Infusion Staff Editor Monica Heilman allowed us to take a look at her grant year through her art and quite literally, allowed us to take a piece of her art home with us.

At the ETA Final Dinner, Monica displayed 55 pieces, all done on cardboard cup holders. This is how she describes her work:

“Pieces of a Grant Year” is a collection of moments I experienced in Korea, from the mundane (students sleeping during self-study time) to the touristy (Beomeosa Temple, Busan) to the seemly insignificant but actually very influential (squatty potties).

Why use coffee cup warmers, also known as cup cozies, java jackets or paper zarfs?

Just because? Actually, the materials came before the plan. Thanks to encouragement from our own Hillary Veitch and my frustrated art drive, I began collecting java jackets in January. It wasn’t until many months and paper zarfs later that I decided to draw, paint and paste memories of Korea onto these pieces of cardboard. The concept was broad enough for any number of cup cozies and finding a connection to the material wasn’t too much of stretch.

Cardboard cup warmers are always wrapped snugly around your cafe drink-of-choice, but afterward they’re nothing but trash. Cup warmers are insignificant physical tokens, whereas the memories I wanted to capture were meaningful but intangible. Through “Pieces” I give form to these memories, but only in snippets, the same way one might experience memories.

The final component of this piece is up to you. The memories here are meant to be applicable to the general ETA experience. Our memories of Korea will eventually grow faint, but I’d like to think you could slip a zarf into your jacket pocket, fly back to America, and later look back on that piece of cardboard with some degree of fondness.

So what I’m saying is, if any of these catches your eye, take one because my jacket pockets aren’t big enough for them all.

To see more of Monica’s art, visit her website: https://monicaheilman.com/