A Mother's Day-themed art contest sponsored by 99 Ranch Supermarket.

Hand-drawing | Annual (Spring)


99 Ranch Market, an Asian Supermarket chain located primarily on the West coast, hosts annual Mother's Day-themed art contests. Enticed by free snacks and awards and a very fancy looking trophy offered by the contest, I eagerly take my shot at winning the prizes every year.

Eventually, as I was nearing the age limit to enter the contest, I started to think of ways to stand out to get the grand prize.

"Cake for Mom" (2015)

The theme for the 2015 Mother's Day Art Contest was "Cake for Mom." I drew a cake with different tiers, and it resembled that of the nutrition pyramid. While attending the awards ceremony, the MC said that the grand prize winner created a 3D clay model of a cake in addition to her drawing, allowing her submission to stand out among the 2,000+ entries. I began thinking of ways I could incorporate an out-of-the-box method to add to my submission.

"Future Supermarket" (2016)

The theme for 2016 was "Future Supermarket." I knew that on initial thought, one would think of spaceships and the generic sci-fi movie setting. I knew I had to take an unconventional route to thinking through the idea to claim the grand prize. This brainstorming process was actually one of my essays that I used for my application to CMU. Here's a snippet:

“Future Supermarket.”

Initially, I thought of generic sci-fi ideas - a supermarket in space, or one with technological advances that would streamline the process of shopping. But to me, these ideas sounded bland, like carbon-copies of the same vision that multiple science fiction authors, filmmakers, and artists have already portrayed for the future.

I remember brainstorming art contest ideas out loud to my mom, like I often do to another half-listening individual when thinking of ideas.

I sought to understand the root cause of shopping difficulty through questions: “What are some ways we could make shopping easier? What is the most annoying part about shopping? The trip there? Not being able to find what one needs?”

“A tree that grows all types of food!” I screamed, running back to my room and locking it behind me.

“What?” my mom called back.