Isabelle Mellor – Jacket

(Student Submission)

Themes: Identity, Agency, and Optimism in a Pandemic; Human Connection in a Virtual World

Artist Statement:

I decided to paint my leather jacket when I purchased tickets for a band’s reunion tour in C term. I wanted to create something to honor the event. The design is based on a mailbox from the band’s last album that follows characters surviving a dystopian 2019. In the album, the mailbox was an altar to loved ones that passed. Letters to the dead were placed inside.

Mailboxes symbolize communication. Even when someone is no longer near you, you can send them warmth through words inked on a page. This particular mailbox also symbolizes remembrance, isolation, and resilience in dystopia. I added the word “return” to acknowledge the reunion, but when painting throughout quarantine it became a reminder that we could someday return to the world. The act of painting the mailbox was a meditation for me on those lost to COVID-19, connection through remote communication, and promise for the future. The concert was postponed, but the jacket means more now. We have experienced loneliness and fear in quarantine, but we cannot give up. Until the world is ready to reconvene again, that mailbox will be silently waiting on street corners across America to give us identity, empathy, and hope.