As Students Discover Art, They Discover Themselves

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Photo K. Rhodes

A photo art student Kaitlyn Rhodes ('16) took as part of the course.

Mia McKell, Staff Writer

Walk into an arts class at room 107, and the students painting, drawing, sculpting or crafting in one way or another don’t all fit the same stereotype.

For those who choose to take one of Robinson’s visual art class, taught by teacher Mary Wilson, decision to choose this path can be due to a genuine interest or a perceived chance at an easy “A”.

However, no matter the motive, these aspiring artists say taking an art course at school proved different than what they expected.

At the beginning of junior year, Claire Casper (’17) had never taken an art course before. Nevertheless, Casper decided to enroll in HL Art.

“I’d always enjoyed [art] and wanted to explore it more,” Casper said. “I figured now would be the best time to figure out if I want to pursue it.”

I’ve really had more time to explore my own technique”

— Claire Casper

Casper used her first semester to explore techniques and art forms such as memory drawing, blind contouring, watercolor paintings and collaging.

“Just being in the class has helped me improve way more than I anticipated,” Casper said. “I’ve been exposed to a wider variety of art and been influenced by everyone else in the class. I’ve really had more time to explore my own technique.”

In art, Abram Scharf (’16) also developed a unique, individual style.

“I first got into visual art in the 11th grade,” Scharf said. “I wanted to start creating because I wanted to learn more about myself.”

When choosing electives for junior year, Scharf’s decision to take art was not driven by curiosity alone.

“My friend, Grant Oken [class of 2015] told me that he went to bed at 10 every night thanks to IB art,” he said. “I was sold.”

Although he expected the workload to be minimal, Scharf said he was surprised by a change in the art curriculum, putting an increased emphasis on documenting the artistic process and increasing the amount of effort.

My technical ability has gone from bad to passable”

— Abarm Scharf

Despite a larger-than-expected workload, Scharf feels the class has been beneficial to him as an artist.

“I have a much greater appreciation for art, and my technical ability has gone from bad to passable,” Scharf said. “There are so many people who actually know what they are doing, and they are always willing to help you—tell you that you’re using the wrong end of the knife, that kind of thing.”

Unlike Scharf and Casper, Katelyn Rhodes (’16) had previously taken two art classes: a drawing class her freshman year and a painting class her junior year. However, she never took much interest in them until her junior year.

“I got really bored one day at home and decided I want to paint,” Rhodes said. “I’m not good at thinking of what to paint or draw off the top of my head so I decided to just paint Lilly [Pultizer] prints on canvases.”

She took her paintings to art teacher Mary Wilson, who convinced her to join the AP Art Class her senior year.

Ever since Rhodes discovered her interest in painting, she says her technique has improved drastically.

“I’ve come a long way since last year. I couldn’t even draw a 3-D box and now I’m drawing pictures that look like you could walk through them,” Rhodes said. “Without these art classes I probably would be making stick figures still.”