Northern artists win top awards

Talent roams the halls of Northern in many forms, but recently some talent in the form of four art students (junior Anres Alcocer and seniors Brianna Patterson, Zach Mincey, and Gia Smith) has been in the spotlight.

Senior Gia Smiths Wanderer, winner of a Scholastic Arts Gold Key Award, makes use of techniques such as shadowing and foreshortening. Photo Courtesy of The Round Table

Senior Gia Smiths Wanderer, winner of a Scholastic Arts Gold Key Award, makes use of techniques such as shadowing and foreshortening.
(Photo courtesy of The Round Table)

All four students had the honor of being able to enter a piece for competition in the Scholastic Art Awards. Patterson and Mincey both won Silver Key awards, while Smith was honored with a Gold Key.

With artwork from all over the region, including pieces from students at Durham School of the Arts, the competition was tough. To top it off, the participants could not be sure of what the judges would like.

“Your judge is really [the basis of] who wins what,” art teacher Tabitha Eller said. “Different judges are looking for different things.”

Smith’s mixed media painting, a self-portrait entitled Wanderer will continue onto a national competition. Eller believes that Smith’s piece is truly an accomplishment.

“[His] piece, number one, has got that foreshortening in a portrait which is difficult for a high school level, and number two, has that shadowing with the paint…[He] is painting on a college level,” Eller said.

Mincey’s entry, The Lamentation of Zach, is also a foreshortened portrait, though created with pen and marker. Patterson used pen and marker as well, while Alcocer’s piece was more three-dimensional, including elements such as foamboard.

Each artist was inspired by something different.

“I was just staring at buildings and thinking how cool it would be if they could fly and where we would go if Earth fell apart,” Patterson said.

Her drawing does indeed feature buildings floating above the surface of the earth.

Alcocer was influenced by something a little closer to the ground.

“I really like the detail of the Aztec and their culture,” Alcocer said. “Especially the Aztec calendar.”

Alcocer is not the only one inspired by culture.

“I like a lot of street art and a lot of graffiti,” Mincey said. “I stick to modern a lot more than historical art. Street art and graffiti give me a lot more inspiration.”

Artists gain inspiration from their peers well as cultural influences.

“I was inspired by the people on [deviantArt] that draw [pieces], like, thirty times as amazing as my stuff,” Smith said.

DeviantArt is an online community where artists are able to share their work with each other.

The artists have achieved many accomplishments this year. Teachers have noticed more improvement in student work this year as compared with previous years.

“I believe we are getting higher quality work out of the students because we are asking that of them, and we are teaching them in a different way,” Eller said.

While their work may be of excellent quality, some students would like to keep the pressure off.

“I’m just going to continue art as a hobby, and I’m thinking about minoring in college,” Patterson said.

Others intend to make even bigger accomplishments through art in the future.

“Art is all I want to do. I’m going to college so I can make a career out it,” Smith said.

Top on Smith’s list of colleges is Moore College, an art school in Philadelphia.

These promising young artists clearly have a passion for what they do.

“It’s what I’m obsessed about,” Smith said.