PS Art Competition Finalists



How has being an artist made a difference in your life?

Being an artist has helped me discover who I am, and how I want to present myself to this world. Often I feel that when I experiment with the things I draw, maybe using color or maybe subject matter, I gain a better understanding of the things I enjoy and what I know about myself. Additionally, art has been something that I can consistently rely on, which has been a big factor in my life. If I’m uncomfortable in a situation, I can draw something to calm me down. If I feel like I’m not expressing myself physically, I can express myself through my art. I remember nearly a year ago when I was starting to question my gender, art made by others helped me realize that I’m genderqueer just by other people expressing their queerness. Finally, art has always been something that has related me to other people, and I feel like I can make friends in many situations just off of that one thing that we share. 

Explain how your art teacher has played a role in your creative development.

One of the biggest ways that my art teacher has helped me grow and develop is simply the weekly prompt that we receive. Sometimes I can find it difficult to draw in my own time; big projects that last weeks seem too daunting, but quick sketches can feel like I’m not actually making any progress. However, when I have to draw something every single week it helps me maintain my passion. Ms. Herrity weekly assigns projects that can be silly, or things that challenge me and force me to work differently. All in all, if I didn’t have strict prompts to follow every once in a while I think I would be a lot less creative now, and wouldn’t be able to use some of the materials I use most today.

What challenges did you face in creating this artwork, and how did you meet these challenges?

In creating this artwork, I was challenged with bringing human traits and actions onto an inhuman being. This was difficult because although humans and raccoons are similar in some aspects, they’re very different in the neck and shoulder area, the area that took up about half of the seen raccoon. The way that I worked around this was by slightly changing the anatomy of the raccoon: I lengthened the neck and gave them broader shoulders. Additionally, I mostly draw humans, so trying to realistically capture fur was quite a struggle. However, I found that by layering pen strokes I could make something that was good while not coloring with pencils for hours. 

ula's self portrait

ULA KLEINSTEUBER (VISUAL ART), ARTWORK: EYE, 11×14″ charcoal on paper

How has being an artist made a difference in your life?

Art has helped me a lot throughout my life and is a coping mechanism for stressful situations. If I want to relax or unwind, I will usually doodle and create little compositions. One downside of being passionate about art is that I feel a lot of pressure to be the best. I look very harshly down upon my art and I try hard to improve. A lot of the time I don’t like what I’ve made even right after making it. Being an artist can be very helpful though. The reason that I go to New Voices right now is that I auditioned for art in 5th grade and got in. Another example is this year I had to create a portfolio and audition to a few different high schools using my art. Being an artist opens up a lot of opportunities for me, including this competition.   

Explain how your art teacher has played a role in your creative development.

My art teacher, Ms. Herrity, has played a role in my creative development by assigning my class very open-ended projects and giving us a lot of creative freedom. We usually get to choose what materials and mediums to use, along with the mood of our art. There are a few assignments from my visual art class that really push my creativity. These assignments are usually open-ended and are required to include arbitrary objects and materials placed in a scene together. When the students present their work, there are usually a lot of unique and creative compositions. My art teacher also lets us bring lots of imagination and ideas into a piece. An example of this is my class’s watercolor painting of the future. Everyone felt confident expressing themselves, and in the end, everybody’s pieces were very different and impressive. 

What challenges did you face in creating this artwork, and how did you meet these challenges?

A few challenges I faced while creating this artwork were figuring out where to correctly place the eyes and nose. I was using a small picture while creating this, and I regret not making grid lines. Usually, lines help the placement of features, especially when up-sizing something. In order to resolve this issue, I tried to look closely at the photo and observe it very closely. I noticed how the angle foreshortened my nose, and this was very helpful when drawing. Another struggle I came across was creating small details using charcoal. The rim of the eyes was particularly hard to draw. As I went along though, I found that using the tip of an eraser to erase thicker parts works really well. I really struggled while creating this, but I’m still proud of my attention to detail and how hard I worked. 

pablo's art


How has being an artist made a difference in your life?

I’m a very introverted person so expressing myself verbally is almost always a challenge. Being an artist, I have been able to find ways to express myself visually and it’s certainly a lot more comfortable. I also enjoy the fact that there’s no right or wrong way to make art. This is very freeing and allows me to not feel so self-conscious.

Explain how your art teacher has played a role in your creative development.

My art teacher has created a very safe and open environment in class. She challenges me to be more creative and allows me to make what is meaningful to me. By doing this she has created a class that I really value. I know that I will continue to be creative and make art in the future. 

What challenges did you face in creating this artwork, and how did you meet these challenges?

My 89 year old grandfather was the subject of my photograph. A big challenge that I faced was how to communicate with him so I could take a photograph. Since he’s deaf and has a lot of trouble focusing, I found it really hard to capture a moment where he was still and not distracted. I met this challenge by being patient. After putting him in the position I wanted, I let him be. Then, I took multiple photographs over a long period of time. Afterwards, I went through all the photographs I took and selected the one that I found the most engaging to me. 

robotany art work


How has being an artist made a difference in your life?

My art is my voice as I struggle to articulate my ideas verbally. As an introverted kid, I have used art as a way to ground myself and cope with my anxieties. I’ve immersed myself in the art world, realizing my expression does not need to be cured. My ideas are manifestations of my celebrated identity.  Being an artist radically shifted my thinking, making me more observant to the atmosphere around me. This awareness, or rather thoughtful appreciation of the mundane around me has been sharpened. As I embarked on my mile-long walk home from school, I found myself looking all around; at the many folks passing by, the storefronts, and the boxes of discarded stuff people would leave out for free. Each view told a story.  At home, I would recollect everything I saw and these objects remained in my field of vision as fragments of stories. These visions act as inspiration for my art. In my Robotany project I constructed a realistic robot, embracing the styles, designs and tools reminiscent of my travels home. 

Since the seventh grade, Ms. Eisenberg has expanded my creative development, inspiring me to grow as an artist and a thinker. With every project, creative problem solving was key. I learned to address challenges through innovation and design. Ms. Eisenberg stood at my side offering ideas and posing questions to ignite new ideas. She was always willing to answer questions about the Adobe software as I tried out new things. Just this week, she taught me Adobe After Effects, so I could animate my Robotany design into a promotional video. I have learned so much and I am eager to learn more. Ms. Eisenberg is responsible for my love of digital arts and the motivation to take expression to new levels. In addition, Ms. Eisenberg cares about the person in me just as much as the artist. During the pandemic, she encouraged the class to practice in “art journals”, where we found words to complement the art created in response to the quarantine. I’ve been so grateful for her constant support. 

COVID- 19 has been difficult for so many. There were days when it was hard to find motivation to create. Thinking about life on Mars was helpful as days on this planet were often pain filled. I lost my grandmother right before school began. She was such a big part of my life. By creating Robotany, I was able to focus on the creation of new life in a new world. That really helped me find hope as I imagined new possibilities. 

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