Walking through the hallways of the Fine Arts Center, oil paintings, acrylic paintings, photographs and ceramic plates line the floor and walls. In one corner lies an army of ceramic pots; in another, a Rococo-style painting with the head of a goose on the front. It is April 19, and the senior studio art exhibition has begun.
Amalia Maxa is a senior who works with ceramics, but she also has created some oil paintings for her exhibition. Her goal is to make her art “as creepy and weird as possible,” saying, “I want people to fear me.” She is mainly inspired by her AP Art History class, which is what led her to go into oil painting, and also her love for horror movies.
Her favorite piece is a cookie jar with a “Coraline” theme, adorned with a painting of the movie cover on the front. “I’ve been obsessed with that movie all my life,” said Maxa. “I even wrote my college essay on it, so I thought it would be fitting to be my first piece.” She is worried to exhibit her pieces, because “they’re definitely strange and hard to wrap your head around, nothing like my peers.” She advises her audience to try to keep an open mind.
Grace Demba, who is on her way to art school at Washington University in St. Louis, is using oil paints for her exhibition. She says she “likes to paint mysterious, stylistic scenes” and she rarely does realistic art. “I like to see where my imagination can take me,” Demba said. One of her best pieces is an oil painting of a “mysterious, dark forest scene” with “four glowing figures wandering around it,” according to Demba. “It’s rare that I can bring a vision to life just the way I want it,” she said. She almost never shows her work to anyone, so she is excited about this opportunity.
Claire Howell is also doing oil painting, but her paintings have a unique twist: embroidery. She has been embroidering for a few years and often embroiders on her own. She wanted to mix the embroidery skills she had developed with the painting skills she acquired in art class. Much of her embroidery is nature related, and embodies what she describes as “a whimsical feeling.” Her favorite piece is included in the exhibition, a still life mixed media piece inspired by the impressionist painters that she made with oil paint and embroidery.
Lily Cummings also has a unique twist. She usually uses oil paints, and in nearly all of her oil paintings, she also finger paints. “The brushes get annoying sometimes, so sometimes I use my hands,” said Cummings. “I’ve ruined about 10 items of clothing in the past semester.” Like Maxa, she is inspired by her AP Art History class. “I’ve been trying to recreate paintings from the Rococo period. Sometimes I take the head off a person and put a chicken or duck or swan.” Her favorite painting, a painting of a chicken in a gold dress inspired by the Rococo period, is one to look out for.
Jack Brown is working with acrylic paint, graphite drawings and sculpture. Among many mediums, painting is his most preferred. “I think painting is one of the most raw forms of art: a canvas on a wall stops and all but forces you to look at it,” said Brown. “That’s what I want my art to do.” He does not have one specific theme across his work, however. Rather, he wanted to showcase a diversity of talent.
“I also wanted to show myself through my art,” he said. “I wanted my personality and sense of self to come through, and I feel like I accomplished that.” Brown’s best piece is an acrylic painting of bees and honeycombs, which he made with a stencil and spray paints for the honeycomb, and hand painted the bees. “It was the piece I had the most fun creating and it feels like the most authentic representation of my style.” Brown is heading off to The New School, so he hopes his art will be good practice in anticipation of his college art classes. He is also selling some of his original pieces.