Heart maps lie at the heart of the Talking Hearts project. Let’s take a deep dive into our student coordinators’ perspectives of heart maps and their experiences drawing them out!
What do “Heart Maps” mean to you?
Alyssa: Heart maps show us who a person is beyond a superficial level. They allow us to expose vulnerable parts of ourselves and have others meet us at the same level. There are so many layers to who a person is and through heart maps, we begin to peel them back.
Ashwin: Heart maps to me are a way to put our emotions, desires, likes and thoughts into paper. Often times, I feel I listen to my mind and not my heart when I take decisions, owing to many different factors and the nature of my profession. But drawing my own heart map gives me an opportunity to pause a bit, reflect, take a long breath, and listen to my heart for once. It is a beautiful concept which is an apt way to express everything that one is going through in a certain phase of life.
Audrey: I think the Heart Maps really give us all a chance to talk about what we have gone through during the pandemic and to show people how even thousands of miles apart from some that a lot of us share a lot of things in common. Heart maps allow myself to be vulnerable and share things with strangers that I normally won’t do. This project has connected me to so many amazing humans.
Constance: Well, in this context, I think a heart map reflects how your heart looks during this pandemic — a visual representation of your feelings and experiences.
How did you go about drawing your heart map? Tell us about your thought process.
Alyssa: Drawing the heart map was more difficult than I had imagined it would be. I’ve never been confident in my physical art skills, so I knew I needed to go back to basics and create something simple but effective. I decided to utilize a design common in elementary school classrooms: outlining with crayon and shading it in. It reminded me of my childhood, which fit the heart map imagery perfectly! Beyond that, I asked myself what are the parts of myself and my environment that make me who I am. As those thoughts came to mind, I wrote them down until my heart was full!
Ashwin: When I started out, I thought to myself – “Right. I’m going to draw my heart map. It’s going to be straightforward, just a few minutes of work, and I can get back to my assignments.” Boy, was I wrong! Drawing out my heart map was not straightforward, in fact, it was from it. I started off by thinking about keywords, but when it didn’t get easy, I asked myself some simple questions like: What’s my profession? What’s my passion? What’s my ambition? What do I like a lot? What are some of the values I associate myself with? What are my hobbies? What are my strengths? What do I care about the most?
And the answers started flowing out, almost straight from my heart, the way I’d like to put it. And after I spent some time drawing, arranging and placing my answers to these questions, voila! I was done! At the end of the exercise, I ended up learning a lot more about myself that I thought I would.
Audrey: We actually had a meeting with the entire steering committee, and as we were talking about what a heart map could be, I immediately started pulling stock photos from google and knew immediately I wanted a real heart with a camera inside of it because not just during the pandemic, but within the last 5 years of my life, my camera has been my saving grace in life. I made my heart map after our first zoom meeting. I couldn’t not think of anything else, but to get my heart map down on paper and then create my true vision using Adobe suite. When I’m creatively moved, and have a vision of creating something I just have to stop everything, and do it.
If it sets my soul on fire, I sink my whole being into it until I feel like it’s complete.
Constance: I wanted to create a heart map that wasn’t in the shape of a heart. So, I made mine in the form of a cat because I love my little kitty, Salem. I wanted the images in the map to symbolize how I felt/feel during this pandemic, and the words are lyrics to my top five songs from 2020.