Brand Essay Competition

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State: California, USA High School: Public school, 422 students in graduating class Ethnicity: Biracial Gender: Male GPA: 4.5 out of 4.0 SAT: Reading 800, Math 800, Writing 800 ACT: 33 SAT Subject Tests Taken: Mathematics Level 2, Biology E/M, Physics, U. History Extracurriculars: Science Bowl team captain, intern at U. Congressman’s District Office, varsity tennis, Interact Club President, senior class president Awards: Ron Brown Goldman Sachs Scholar; CA Science Olympiad State gold medalist Major: Environmental Science and Public Policy ESSAY For the longest time there were two people waking up in my bed each morning, and neither of them knew who I was.

One boy dedicated his time to observe the remains of an assassin bug, a hugely impactful predator with a name fit for its voracious nature.

Though, on the surface, Bobby’s essay explores the contrast between the abstractness of his art and the order of rest of his life, it also mirrors the history of art itself.

Just as Bobby the old artist had “the proportions just right, the contrast perfected” in his sketchbook, so too did the painters of the Renaissance work tirelessly to master perspective—to make art seem as realistic as possible.

I suppose this is strange, as the rest of my life can best be characterized by everything the studio is not: cleanliness and order and structure.

But then again, the studio was like nothing else in my life, beyond anything in which I've ever felt comfortable or at ease. My carefully composed sketchbooks—the proportions just right, the contrast perfected, the whiteness of the background meticulously preserved—were often marred by the frenzied strokes of my instructor's charcoal as he tried to teach me not to draw accurately, but passionately. But thus was the fundamental gap in my artistic understanding—the difference between the surface realities that I wanted to depict, and the profound though elusive truths of the human condition that art could explore.Although the two boys didn’t fully understand the implications of a loss of a particular species in a food web or restrictive trade policies on poor countries without much arable land, they still yearned for more knowledge. A future lab scientist, or the next president to come out of the state of California?Early on, my mother could see this dichotomy developing within my own personality.Apart from surface manifestations altogether, this realm was simultaneously one of austere simplicity and aesthetic intricacy, of departure from realism and immersion in reality, of intense emotion and uninhibited expression.It was the realm of lines that could tell stories, of colors and figures that meant nothing and everything.Indeed, not only does this essay document Bobby’s development from child to young adult, but Bobby’s art also matures from something orderly and superficial to something abstract and deeply meaningful.What separates Bobby’s essay from a well-written story, however, is the subtextual narrative it provides the reader.One such example is “the whiteness of the background” on his sketchbook being “meticulously preserved” but yet “marred by the frenzied strokes of my instructor's charcoal.” Nevertheless, imagery alone does not provide the concrete, powerful narrative found in Bobby’s essay.One of the most powerful appeals of the essay is that it represents a coming-of-age story that echoes the Bildungsroman literary sub-genre, in which characters evolve psychologically from youth to adulthood during the story.The other boy spent his early mornings reading the newspaper.A devastating cyclone had just hit the people of Burma, a thuggish ruling junta was causing havoc in their lives, and the young boy had to know about it.


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