Drops of Jupiter

by Mariness Rivera

My work “Drops of Jupiter” is inspired by the song of the same title, the Giant Red Spot, and a personal giant storm I was facing at the time of its conception.

Three years ago, there was a call for artists for an exhibit. The theme was music so I was thinking of a song that’s meaningful enough to inspire me to create a piece. With its beautiful lyrics, the song Drops of Jupiter was an easy choice. Added to that is the fact that I’m a huge science geek who’s always been fascinated with Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. I mean, who isn’t impressed with a storm bigger than our planet, wreaking havoc for more than 350 years and counting?

Around the same time, I was also facing some mental health challenges. There was constant pressure from my studies. I was doing my thesis and it was really difficult. Most of the time, there was this voice screaming doubts in my head. What if I get a failing grade? What will I do if I lose my scholarship? What about my parents? The fear of disappointing them and the consequences should I fail was so severe.

So I did what I could and put all these emotions and thoughts in the canvass. The girl you see now somehow represents me, with her eyes closed taking reference on my naturally reticent nature. I’ve always struggled with sharing what I’m going through with people. I tend to keep it to myself, that’s why I feel like no one really knows what’s beneath this vibrant girl that I try to project. If you look closely at her expression, you may need to take a wild guess. Is she sleeping peacefully? Is she dreaming? Is she tired?

You’ll notice that there’s much emphasis on the head of the girl: her dark hair, which I’d like to think symbolizes how heavy my thoughts can be, and the “rings” surrounding her. But you’ll see that there’s a big hole in her chest. This precisely encapsulates what I felt at that moment and what I’ve been feeling ever since: my thoughts are eating me away, leaving my chest empty and hollow. And this personal storm feels endless, just like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

Sharing this story is kind of hard for me because I think this is my most personal work so far. But I also believe that the most captivating art comes from stories closest to the heart. I feel like drawing allows me to release thoughts and emotions, letting me process them. It keeps me grounded and has always been a huge blanket of comfort.

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