High school and middle school students show off talent
by Hawkins Teague
Feb 13, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It might be reasonable to expect a small town to only have one person you could call an artist. Judging by the work now on display at the Janice Mason Art Museum, that number would probably have to be multiplied by at least a couple hundred.

The annual Trigg County Middle and High School art show opened Friday at the museum, and parents and students flooded the building to get a look at the paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures of their peers and children. The opening of the exhibit had originally been scheduled for Feb. 2, but was canceled because school was closed for snow. Mary Lear, the high school’s art teacher, said that she and her students had been working to set everything up on and off for about two weeks.

Museum administrator Paula Lisowsky said that students were working to get in everything in place until right before the opening. Although the event was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., students were already crowding the building by 5:30.

The type of art on display varies widely. Upon walking through the front doors, the first sight is a group of self-portraits that are striking in both their accuracy and creativity. There were also a few celebrity portraits on the walls, including a couple of uncanny pictures created by high school senior Isaiah Grimes. One was of the late “Godfather of Soul” James Brown and another was of reggae star Bob Marley. The middle school art teacher, Dani Knight, said she heard that Grimes has sold the Marley portrait to a teacher, though she wasn’t sure for how much.

There are many drawings and paintings with original concepts from high school art students and also two walls covered with chalk drawings of art supplies on black construction paper. Students also worked on projects in which they turned photographs into pop art in the style of Andy Warhol using bright reds, blues, greens and yellows.

A post in the middle of the museum’s main gallery room features a couple dozen intricately crafted oil clay figures, including an alligator halfway immersed in water, a turkey with a snake on its back, a giraffe, a penguin, a pumpkin, a corndog, as well as a couple of realistic-looking flowers. High school junior Carolyn Rowe sculpted the majority of them, with three from Rachel Anderson, a senior. Although one might assume from looking at the figures that Rowe had been sculpting for years, she said she just started last summer.

“One day I just bought some clay at Wal-Mart and started working with it,” she said.

Rowe said she routinely takes requests from friends and family members to choose what kind of sculptures to do next. Her stepfather had the idea for her to make the alligator with its head and back sticking out of the water, she said. He keeps most of the sculptures on the mantel, she said.

Rowe said that the oil-based clay she uses is pretty easy to work with. Before she starts sculpting, she has a vision in her mind of exactly what she wants it to look like. As the clays warms in her hands, she molds it with her fingers and usually creates extra detail and texture with a toothpick. After a few hours, when she is finished, she said she puts the figure in the freezer to stiffen it.

High school sophomore Stuart Harrell contributed some very different works. One was an oil pastel drawing of a lighthouse. He said he had an image in his head of what he wanted to look like and actually found a photograph just like it on the Internet, from which he modeled it. Another was a pencil drawing of a Buick sports car. The piece he was perhaps most proud of was a custom guitar, which stood near the ceiling. Harrell said it was originally a First Act guitar from Wal-Mart, which he sawed away at and painted until it looked exactly like his conception sketch. Harrell said he plans to start a custom guitar business one day. He doesn’t say this casually, either. He’ll tell you right away that with all the parts and labor, the lowest price would most likely be about $1,800.

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