Celebration of Learning 2017: Senior Art Show Gallery Talks group 1
GROUP 1: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Project advisor: Kelvin Mason, art, graphic design
Each of the seven figures is a well-liked religious leader from one of the five largest world religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. All of them are typically associated with one of the seven virtues (chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility). The work is a commentary on the tendency of people to blindly follow religious figures, not questioning their ideas or actions as thoroughly or actively as they should. People often blindly obey and revere religious leaders without educating themselves on what that person has actually done.
This blindness can have disastrous effects: complacency, ethics compromised for wealth, preying on the poor, creation of terrorist organizations, or even genocide. Each of these figures was able to commit horrible acts or get away with an equally damnable lack of action. Even after their death, they are still considered to be great leaders because of their perceived virtue. These images are depictions of the leaders as their actions show, characterized by the vice that corresponds to the virtue with which they are usually associated (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride). The goal in creating grotesque caricatures of such revered leaders is to call into question the actions of people who have for so long been immune to questioning.
Project advisor: Kelvin Mason, art
The Truth Lies Beyond the Screens
My mission when creating works of art is not only to evoke an emotional response, but to shed light on important issues that our country faces. In our culture today, we are surrounded by stereotypes that do not define our true characters, and the media plays a huge role in how we perceive others. I highlight those dramatic stereotypes by surrounding the figures’ portraits in television frames and force the audience to realize that judging based on appearance is never okay. I dive deep into our cultural normalization and bring forth some of the most controversial topics. The portraits I paint are of anonymous people from all different backgrounds and religions. I show negative stereotypes through a Muslim woman, an American Christian man, a Mexican woman, an African American man, a Jewish woman, and a man with body modifications. Each portrait is a reflection of the most common labels that are thrown around in our world. I urge people to think with an open mind. This is my response to the ignorance that media fuels in America. The subjects are serious and intense, and I want the audience to feel the exact same way. I hope that the viewers can see, feel, and understand the importance of transparency and how building walls will divide who we think we are and who we really are. Your character matters more than who you are because of how you look.
Project advisor: Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, art
Recuerditos: The Warmth of a Latin American Home
Ultimately, everyone has a story. Though it may be vastly different from mine, perhaps it is even similar to mine in a lot of ways. The fact of the matter is, every person has a story and every person comes from somewhere. Lineage and heritage are very important to me. With this project, I want to take you through my story—I want you to think about the sacrifices of immigrants coming to this country to make a better life for themselves and the people they love. But most importantly, I want you to think of the people that you love and think about how the decisions of your ancestors have made you who you are today. I want you to think about all the memories of laughter and tears both. I thought there would be no better way to do this than to take you into a home—my grandmother’s home. The home is the center of all life. Before you is a living room inspired by my late maternal grandparents’ house in that very neighborhood in Chicago—a house that I spent a good part of my childhood in. My grandparents did not have much. But the love that they had for all of us in the family, my father included, was built into those walls and that is what made it so special. It was the loss of my maternal grandmother in November of 2016 that inspired me to use elements of her home to portray the warm feeling of family, togetherness and ultimately lineage. Rather than paint pictures of it, I decided to take you all there instead. The method in which I have chosen to display my paintings is significant—my grandmother always had countless pictures of us on the walls, however she only had one wall space to display them on, which was her very small living room. She used all of the wall space she could, putting pictures as high as the ceiling and as low as the head of the couch where my cousins and I used to watch Looney Toons together. They were always in mismatching picture frames of various sizes and styles. I chose to paint the portraits on panel, because many Renaissance paintings were painted using oils on panel and since I wanted to express the idea of ancestry and lineage I thought panel would be most appropriate. The rustic texture it provides also suits the purpose and overall look I wanted my work to have. This project is about family, it is about lineage, it is about struggle, it is about the home, but more important than anything, it is about love. I took a lot of inspiration and influence from family portrait artist Stephanie Ryan who works as an art professor at a university in California, as well as from Frieda Kahlo, who painted to make a statement about her life as well as her place as a Latin American female, like me.
Project advisors: Kelvin Mason and Vickie Phipps, graphic design
What Does It Take To Make You Care
Type has the power to resonate differently with every single person that reads it. When people read things they give it their own voice, and it means something different to each of them. It is important
to not only appreciate the art of letterforms and how different letters work with one another, but also how letterforms can simply be the art form. After learning the basics of letterforms through Calligraphy, I began experimenting with letters in an abstract form. I wanted to see how much I could get away with. How far can I push the letterform to where it is still a letter but has more of an abstract value? My focus is to create words and letters (and ultimately my message) as an art form, and make a statement about passions in life, forcing people to think about what they are passionate about. I have realized that I am passionate about being passionate about what you are doing. If you don’t truly love something, what is the point of doing it? Can you grow to love something again that you once did? I want everyone to truly think about what it takes to make them care.