Senior Art Show 2018
Kirkland Arts Center
620 Market St., Kirkland
Bear Creek Palettes | An Exhibition of Perspectives, Personality, and Passion
Friday, February 23, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 20 through Saturday, February 24
What do teens of today think about? What affects our youth so profoundly as to have life-changing impacts which alter the way they live out their lives? Come and see the perspectives of eight diverse personalities, each a passionate student-artist exploring his or her thoughts and memories.
This combined exhibition by Advanced Studio Art students features the works of seniors Kim Do, William Ethington, Morgan Jensen, Jack Johanneson, Sophie Schroth, Maya Vides, and Derian Williams. Join them as they launch their creative careers into the public sphere with this culminating show.
2018 Featured Artists
Glimpses of Vietnam
My series exhibits glimpses of a land not many have experienced and a culture few have discovered. This is a part of the world, a piece of my heart, my homeland.
I used the straw hat (nón lá), my favorite Vietnamese traditional garment, as the base for my series because of its origin in the history of Vietnam and its utility in the lives of the Vietnamese people. The myth of nón lá is about a rain-shielding goddess who wore a straw hat to protect farmers from a deluge of rain while they were working in the rice fields. With that, Vietnamese farmers wear the straw hat to protect themselves from the sun and rain and has since became a fashion statement for this culture. The image of nón lá has become strongly associated with peasants in the paddy field to boatmen in the rivers.
This body of work explores the beauty of Vietnam, particularly of the countryside and natural landscapes. I have tried to capture the tranquility and simple beauty within this scenery. The sound of rushing water over rocks, the calmness of a river pond untouched in the early morn brings a moment of peace and generates a sense of wonder. The fields reflect my interest in the ways humans, specifically farmers, have been impacted by their surrounding natural resources. Farmers live a profoundly ordinary life, a life of humility, of hard, straightforward work, of honesty, empathy, compassion, and kindness. The farmers toiling in the fields to harvest a crop, not for themselves, but for entire villages. My piece “Gatherers amongst the terraced rice fields” portrays the Vietnamese rice farmers as an integral and appreciated part of Vietnam. Since rice is the most essential basic necessity, those who cultivate it are looked upon with honor and gratitude. In order to portray this simplicity, I created my works using mostly basic shapes and colors.
A peek into the culture, Glimpses of Vietnam. I hope to share my appreciation for God’s creation and the beauty He has placed in the simple fields of farmers and waterscapes of this country I call home, Vietnam.
All proceeds from the sales of these pieces will go towards the non-profit organization PeaceTrees Vietnam.
Coming to Life
What once began on a summer day with the desire to work and create something with my hands led me to one of my favorite passions. One which I take a lot of time, effort, and pride.
Making models, specifically robot models, is a genre that not only focuses on detail but design. How will that form take up space, how will light bounce and reflect on its surface? Originally my very first model was nothing special, but it was something that I enjoyed doing from start to finish. The desire to bring it to life captivated me. In a way I am the sculptor, and they are the block of marble. Assembling the parts, adding minute details here and there, painting each individual piece until I reached a final product that was something for me to be proud of. As I progressed through techniques as well as growing in the model’s complexity, I discovered how much care and effort are reflected in that final piece, and how the small details added go a long way in achieving an overall design, and in fact are integral to the overall model.
Working and creating something with my hands is an occasion that took up most of my childhood. Originally LEGO® was my passion, giving me an infinite number of things to build with a seemingly endless amount of detail. However, I began to get tired of this and longed for something else, this is where I found designing and building complex models most intriguing.
Through my art I intend to show the viewer something I take pride in creating, which can be seen in the little details. I hope for the viewer to reflect on their own passions and realize that these passions are what shape us as individuals. These photographs are a snapshot into my childhood. They capture bringing these figures to reality and giving them a story. They are a reflection of my own individuality as a model maker as they come to life.
What Is Your Treasure?
What do you treasure in life and why do you treasure it at all? Do you lock it in a vault? Do you find it in your success? Why do you value it to begin with? This body of work explores the concept of things we value and the places we search for them.
Where is your treasure? looks specifically at wealth and the pursuit of wealth as the ultimate worth of a person. An empty vault then seems almost paradoxical. How would someone who is hoarding money have an empty vault? Money might make your life easier, but it is not the measure of your worth. We can’t pack up our wealth and take it with us when we die. If money is how we determine our worth, then we are bankrupt in the end, and ultimately left with only an empty vault.
What labels you? shifts away from looking at wealth, and instead looks at our value determined by our actions and the words of others. We all wear labels and it is easy to let those labels determine our value. After all, it’s what other’s think of you and say you’re worth, right? When I was in junior high, I often got caught up in the titles and actions I held. I would find my worth in being on ASB leadership, or my grades, or in what others thought of me. I would do anything I could to receive praise from my peers. My label was in social or academic status and the affirmation of others. This way of thinking compounds and makes people work harder and harder for validation, especially here in the U.S. On average, people in America are working more hours a week than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Students want to put in those extra hours getting ready for a test, workers need to put in long hours to get their job done to perfection. It all billows up like smoke. We turn into machines, plugging away, going and going with no end. However, everything comes at a cost. Just as the smoke from factories is full of pollutants that harm the environment, so too does overworking cause destruction. Whether that’s in harm from lack of sleep, hurting loved ones from our absence due to work, or just missing out on life due to busyness. We pay the cost somewhere. All for what? A label we induce on ourselves because of what others say?
Is it enough? examines the urge to overly place hope in the future instead of realizing the benefit of the present. As a graduating high school senior, it has been easy to get caught up in looking at the next chapter of my life. Thoughts pass through my mind that place me further and further into the future, “Right now high school is hard, but when I get to college it’ll be better.” Or, “College isn’t what I thought it would be, but when I get my dream job it will all get better.” This trend to yearn for what we don’t have and pushing to desire what could be can also manifest in what we own. The thing about looking to the future is there is always another future. We are never satisfied. Just as a revolutionary soldier was thought to be the best soldier at one time, he stands no chance against the newer, more advanced army or technological advances. What we put our hope in will eventually become outdated. And at least for me, it is hard to enjoy the blessings in my life now, when I’m consumed with focusing on the future.
Throughout my life, I have found myself in these paradigms. I’ve put money and things before people, I’ve put countless hours striving to be the best at school, sports or social life. I just wanted others to see and say that I was good enough. It is easy for me to get caught up in focusing on college and the next chapter of my life, to the point where I am not doing what I need to do in high school right now. Or realize the time slipping away that I have with family. This series has left me questioning what am I really pursuing? Like a small-minded fish, these “treasures” became my world, looming all around me. I realized that these pursuits are not necessarily what I should be pursuing and that, in the end, perhaps I’ve been chasing the wrong things all along. I need to allow mustard seed growth in my life and look at things outside of my fishbowl, and ask myself what is my treasure?
What is art to you? Is the Mona Lisa art, and if so why? Some things we accept as art, while and others are things we scoff at. “Abstract art” is dismissed by so many people. “That’s just throwing paint” or “I could do that in 10 seconds” is something I often hear muttered. So what makes something art, if not time and effort? I would argue that thought is what makes something art. I’m not trying to define art, but to help people explore the sides of art rather than “that’s pretty”. I believe that some attributes of art are more easily recognized than others, and I hope to bring to light the often-overlooked qualities.
I was around 7 when I was first started drawing, when the measure was if my robot was recognizable as a robot. As I got older, I grew more adept, learning about small factors of art like overlapping and complimentary colors, which slowly grew to principles like linear and atmospheric perspective and the golden mean. At one point, one that I cannot recall specifically, art was suddenly not about “drawing well” but about what you were communicating. Since then, I have been enthralled by the facets and interpretations of art and experimenting with them until I land on my own personal style, or perspective.
This Art series explores the boundaries we place on art, and challenges that art presents. Each piece represents an aspect of art. The first is only an impulsive, pure idea, the second was time consuming, and incredibly complex, the third portrays something human, a memory, and the last is proportionate and measured realism.
I want to show that art is subjective in every way, that there is no one technique that is “art” and no version that can be objectively proven not to be art. Moving past mere aesthetics, the meaning behind art is what is important, not solely the ability to “draw well."
At the dinner table, my family tends to slip into this fantasy world of “what ifs” and “why nots” to plan our next grand adventure to dip our toes in culture. Whether dreaming of hut-hopping in Switzerland or surfing in Thailand, the boys always opt for life by the sea, whereas my mom and I yearn for culture. We all agree on one thing: adventure will come wherever we go and the voyage into a different lifestyle is always enriching.
Through creating a board game, I am allowing people to experience culture from the comfort of their living rooms. My personal challenge was to translate a conceptual design idea into a concrete consumer product in the form of a game. This cross-country trek relays the concept of diversifying ourselves in other cultures. People might ask, “What’s Tiksi?” or “How do I travel from ‘a’ to ‘b’?” Already, they are subconsciously experiencing what I have found to be wanderlust.
In the simulated act of traveling, people’s eyes will open to the world at large. Russia, Germany, and America show specific aspects of culture. Each has its own architectural aesthetic that adds to the awe and experience of traveling abroad. In these pieces, many different aspects of culture are portrayed through the use of fabric, architectural sketches, traditional dress, and cultural symbols. The viewers can finally step out of their world and into another, even if just for a moment. People so often get streamlined into their native lifestyle that they forget to step into a different culture or different mindset.
The comfort of our homes is an incubator for a unique sense of adventure and desire to know culture. Slipping into “one-track-mindedness” has become the norm. I want others not only to be curious about what the word wanderlust means and who people are, but to step into the realm of this desire to do and to simply be.
A passing glance of a beautiful stranger, a lingering sunset, the laugh of a small child. Chances are, these images produce a feeling of hopefulness, happiness, or comfort. But the thoughts of lost lovers, self-hatred, or of dark loneliness, produce an entirely different set of emotions. In addition, some colors carry emotive connotations, so that yellow is considered a “happy” color. By saying the word sad, you might think blue; say angry, you could think red. So then why does color connect so strongly with emotion? I believe these two are so intimately linked due to the simple nature of both color and feelings
I titled this series Therapy Sessions, for the purpose of connecting the beauty and simplicity of art to the emotive and cathartic power of counseling. This body of work demonstrates the combination of color and emotions. I want to reveal how powerful emotions can be and give the viewers a glimpse of influential life instances. These could be viewed as flashbacks, or simply memories of important times. My hope is to create a feeling of nostalgia with the viewers; to allow them to be taken back to a time when they felt similar emotions.
The simplicity of the color allows for the focus to be on the image, but it also creates a subconscious leaning toward the emotion I am trying to convey. Much of color association happens without the viewer knowing, which is how I tried to demonstrate a very specific emotion, without literal words.
I am addressing the importance of feeling deeply. Art is universal, as is color and the form of hands. Faces are easy to recognize emotions on, but I believe that hands have the same emotive power. Taking something generally less expressive and turning it into a vessel for emotion was what I wished to challenge myself with.
The color then is what draws people closer to the emotion of the hands. I wish to bring attention to the power of emotion and give people something to reflect upon. Emotion is strange in the sense that it can create such strong memories. Keeping those memories and having time to feel emotions, even negative ones, is an important part of life.
Sometimes I become busy, stressed, overwhelmed, burdened, and I am sure others can relate with my struggles. There is often something weighing on my mind that I’m struggling through or a challenge that consumes my time. This is when I question why I put myself through these tedious tasks and if I should even continue them if they cause so much angst. My desire to stay steadfast vanishes and I feel compelled to take a step back from what I am doing and re-evaluate myself and my desires. I need to remove myself from the busyness of life momentarily, interrupt my pace, and go somewhere that makes my heart slow to a calming beat. This is where nature surfaces. When I enter it, I embrace nature’s serenity and gaze at the magnificent things around me, from mighty waterfalls, to humble forest clearings full of decaying materials, to broad ridges over calm lakes. It is a beauty that is not just visual, but transcendent – from this, my inspiration truly emanates. To me, nature echoes the handiwork of God. I find motivation in the fact that God placed all of these beautiful things in the world for us to appreciate and use. It is a reminder of Him and His care for humanity is evident in everything. The beauty itself is not the thing that motivates me; it is the consolation I feel from God’s care that makes all my troubles and challenges seem insignificant. Through this I am filled with such immense feelings of awe and gratitude that my troubles melt away and I feel at peace.
Through my series, I want to motivate people to go outside in order to find the same comfort that I find in nature’s beauty. Just as the figure slowly gets lighter and comes out of the darkness in each piece, tension dissipates as they gaze into the brilliance around them. The path in the piece never ends, because some thoughts always remain unresolved, and there are more opportunities to find inspiration in the endless beauty of the world. I encourage the pursuit for the end of the path, even if someone feels ready to return to a stressful life. Whether or not people find God in nature, I want the viewers to recognize something in it that relieves some of the burden they struggle with.