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Jess Drawhorn (BFA ’12)

Published January 2, 2013

It’s a Wash


“It’s a Wash” Video Installation

The words ”You can be anything you want to be”, should have wrought in iron and installed on the roof of my house as a kid. I grew up watching my parents juggle multiple jobs and work their way from a paycheck to paycheck existence to a true realization of the American Dream. They taught me that if anything is standing in your way, it’s yourself.

I took this to heart and fell in love with ambition. I have a terrible compulsion to join organizations, which has left me with a weird resume that includes JROTC cadet, pageant contestant, dog rescuer and sailing coach. This compulsion manifested itself in my personal life as well; I constantly find myself trying to throw parties, cook for my friends, or offer a place to crash for the night.

It took me a long, long time to make the connection that all I have ever really wanted was to feel like I belonged somewhere. The irony of all attempts at leadership and charity is that it has always been about me. Not that I needed to prove my worth to other people, but I did need to convince myself.

It’s a Wash is a short film that visualizes a very specific phenomenon- when feeling left out causes you to retreat into yourself. You don’t feel like you measure up, so you attempt to look better and know more. Eventually you look up from all your self reflection and realize that you’ve not only been left out, you’ve been left behind.

’It’s a wash’, is an expression that means ’your effort has been wasted’.