Sum of Our Parts


Audrey Cook, Managing Editor

We’ve all seen the great works of Picasso. We’ve seen Van Gogh. We’ve seen Michelangelo. We’ve seen the brilliance of their art, but Adrienne Hinojosa’s artistic creations have something none of those great works of history do…they breathe. They are alive. It’s called the Partition Project, and it consisted of finding average high school students, covering them with paint and photographing the beauty that came of it. Hinojosa is a senior at the school and her theme for this exhibition was “personal identity.”

“It’s an attempt to give this person a reflection of themselves as they are seen by the world. It’s difficult because you have to have people to make it happen and you have to get them to agree with whatever you’re seeing. So it’s exposing them while simultaneously exposing the way I think and see. The way that words sound when they’re spoken sound different to the person listening than to the speaker. Some of the sound gets caught up on the inside. It’s a reflection of whatever is caught up on the inside. You have to be a little brave to do this. The people I got were not the people you’d expect. I got all of these shy kids that had been under the radar the entire time and it was me saying ‘I see you. I hear you. Look how amazing you are,’” Hinojosa said.

For Hinojosa, people are the point. And the effects of their participation have given her more than she ever thought could be possible.

“If you had told me freshman year, I was going to do this I would have laughed. I would have told you that’s completely nuts. I can’t talk to people. This was getting comfortable about being uncomfortable. I had every intention to not do art after this and this has turned into double majoring with a BFA in studio art and opening a studio in Austin to do stuff like this,” Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa has decided to double major in architecture and studio art at the University of Texas at Austin this fall. Her attraction to the abstract beauty in people isn’t new. Hinojosa also shared the origin of her inspiration to use human canvases.

“In middle school, I saw this Ted Talk by a lady named Alexa Meade who dropped everything out of college and decided to paint shadows. So she’d put a piece of toast outside and painted the shadows on top of the toast so it would stay there. My inspiration from that was to paint people and paint themselves on them,” Hinojosa said.

And her artwork has been blowing minds and astounding people ever since. When I asked her what drives her creations, all Adrienne had to say was this:

“It’s like that thing that Mrs. Zell says: ‘Do you dare disturb the universe?’ Yes, give me the universe and I will paint all over it.”