Collection Title

The Pursuit of Happiness

Author/Artist Name

Delaney RogersFollow



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Download Delaney Rogers, Initiation 1.jpeg (591 KB)

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Academic Level at Time of Creation


Date of Creation

Fall 11-19-2020

Artist Statement

Perfection, it is the expectation perpetuated by mass media. We are spoon-fed the propaganda of the American Dream through sex-filled advertisements of beer and food our entire lives. Anything less than a god-fearing nuclear family eating three square name-brand meals a day and wearing the newest clothes is seen as a moral failing. We willingly participate in the capitalist game of conformity, it doesn’t have to be policed, only continually advertised. How far can this go until it becomes a cult mindset? And does any of this actually equate to happiness?

I am depicting a “fictional” world where social conformity has become a cult practice, representing the visual culture and values of mass media within it. The figures in my paintings are set in liminal environments where they interact with symbols like the smiley face, which acts as logo and figurehead of the cult, in these spaces they wrestle with their perceptions of themselves, their mental health, and the cult. The imagery all relates to the “sex, drugs, and money” mindset valued by the media, as well as party culture. This party imagery is really key to the work because partying is not only valued as a form of conformity that often perpetuates an environment of self-medication but it is also a form of escapism for the figures. They battle between letting go in the only way they know how and being confronted by the ever-present subconsciously ingrained cult pressures.

I critique the outcomes of our capitalist, consumerist society by exploring the materials and symbols commonly found within it. The wearable pieces use plastic and some readymade items to comment on the value we hold of those materials. A few of the pieces represent how an oppressive society could even make oppression or addiction opulent and visible on the body.

I work from personal experience. When constantly flooded with new information from brands, ads, T.V., music, social media, and just people with their general opinions this “mind pollution” has to find its way out as new imagery. I’m interested in how we fit ourselves into the narrative around this overwhelming amount of information and the pressure to somehow agree with it all.


Jeanne Beaver, Danielle Muzina, Sarah Martin, Mike Martin


The pieces included in the show are a series of paintings made with both oil and acrylic paint, as well as some wearable jewelry pieces made of metal, lasercut acrylic, and various found objects.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

The Pursuit of Happiness



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