Tualatin High artists share their work
When Tualatin High School art teacher Jeannine Miller invited the Times to visit and speak with her three "artists of the month" for November, I underestimated what I would find. These three young International Baccalaureate visual artists — Jake Deering, Janae Hundley and Shelby Hansen, all seniors — are just on the verge of college and adulthood, but they already have defined styles and big ideas about what they hope to accomplish.
For Deering, who brings nature into his work and draws "inspiration from more non-physical things, like sound and feeling, than from sight," clothing design is the goal. He hopes to attend Pacific Northwest College of Art, Oregon College of Art and Craft, or Parson's School of Design in New York next year.
Hundley plans to be a character designer, concept artist and storyboard artist at an animation studio, and she hopes the illustration and entertainment program at Laguna College of Art and Design will help get her there. Hundley said she wants to bring more diversity to animated media. As a child of divorce, she struggled to find families like her own onscreen when she was growing up.
"I want to create media for kids that don't necessarily have representation that they see on TV," Hundley said. "Kids will always see that everybody lives in a house and looks like they're well-off, and it's okay that you're not. Or it's okay that you're LGBT, or of a different race."
Hansen, on the other hand, doesn't want a career in art; she's going to Oregon State University next year to study marine biology, a passion that shows up on her canvases. Art has been a beloved hobby since freshman year, when a teacher taught her to embrace her bold brushstroke style.
"We were painting cupcakes, I remember, and I was trying to blend it perfectly and make it a smooth transition," she said. "She walked over when I was trying to get rid of the brushstrokes and said how beautiful they were, and then I decided that I should just embrace that quality in my work, and I've ran with it from there. It's been my style since."
Presented here are images of the artists among their work, as well as meditations on that work, in their own words.
— Blair Stenvick
On his untitled driftwood piece and the role nature plays in his art: "I went to the beach, and I saw this piece of driftwood that looked like bull horns, and I thought, 'Oh, I can probably work with that.' And then I decided to add a different element to it. So I put yarn in so it would add the element of air to it.
"I just want people to get more in touch with nature and natural elements. I try to incorporate lots of natural symbolism in my art to reconnect people with the art, because there's been a disassociation over time. I've always been really in tune to nature. I try to bring how I see nature into my art."
On his passion for clothing design: "I was reading through a book about Greco-Roman architecture, and I saw this image of a female sphinx, and I thought it was really cool so I decided to embroider it on a shirt.
"Instead of drawing or painting, I do embroidery usually. I've been doing embroidery since I was 6. My mom bought me these little kits. … I've been in textile fields for a while."
On his own personal style: "I go to thrift stores in Portland a lot. I go to Red Light and Buffalo Exchange. … I like carpet-like textures. This (his jacket) reminded me of a couch, and so did this (his shirt) so that's why I put them together."
On her piece "Felicity Afar" (holding in photo): "It's a digital piece that I painted. It's about the feeling of loneliness, and a color study that I was experimenting with."
On her piece "Meet Me Where the Sky Meets the Sea" (pictured): "I've been focusing a lot on mother nature lately, and the connection between how nature takes care of us, and how society has been destroying nature.
"This is one of my most recent pieces. We were supposed to draw a koi fish swimming as one of our first assignments in art seminar. I wanted to do something different — because that's what I always do in these classes. That piece was really different to work on. … I always have trouble making things really dark. I always want to be light and not make mistakes. With this piece and other recent ones, I've come out of that more."
On her portrait of an old woman: "The older lady, I wanted to do her where she was clearly older and elderly. But I wanted to put a lot of color into her wrinkles and her skin to represent all the wisdom and all the life that goes into people who live to be that age, and how they're lucky to live that long."
On her painting of a mantis shrimp: "I am a bit of a marine biology nerd, and mantis shrimp have really cool eyes and they're really cool creatures. I wanted to showcase it, and I thought a giant canvas would be cool to do. I love working with crazy colors, and this was a good opportunity to do that, because mantis shrimp actually look like that."
On art as a hobby: "Hopefully I'll be able to take some electives and keep up the hobby, but it's not a career for me. When I'm stressed, I go to painting or drawing, so it's a good hobby to have."
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