Behind the art

SHS students share the reasons behind their works displayed in the annual township art show


Zing Par

Senior Maggie Johnson’s sculpture of an alien tourist made with paper mache.

Senior Henry Van Ni’s artwork inspired by a picture he found on Pinterest.
Photo contributed by Henry Van Ni

Given a chance to inspire, SHS art students have been preparing for the township’s 60th annual art show. For the past two years, SHS students have been unable to attend the art show due to COVID-19. Now that the art show is finally back on, the students are able to showcase their hard work and provide an insight into the art community.
One of the fine arts students, senior Biak Par, is very excited since this is her first art show.Par has been drawing since her freshman year and is a self-taught artist. According to Par, her work focuses primarily on the unique aspects of her culture.
“I think that I’ve improved a lot over the past couple of years, and I really want other people to see what I’ve been working on so far,” Par said. “Not just students, but parents, little kids and anyone.”
Par has more than 10 pieces at the art display. Her favorite piece is a drawing of a girl. In the background there is a blue traditional skirt, which is inspired by her mother. She’s also wearing a traditional necklace, which Par wanted to draw attention to because she believed it had been lost in her culture, and she wants to implement that into her drawing.
Although Par feels that there is a lot of room for improvement, she feels proud of what she created.
“For me, I think the art show is an open door,” Par said. “It allows so many new people to not just see our hard work, but an opportunity to show our creativity.”
Senior Henry Van Ni has been drawing since 2012 and enjoys exploring his creativity.
“I like doing art because I like to do whatever I want with it, and no one can really tell me what to do,” Ni said.

Senior Logan Spencer’s ceramic skull has two sets of teeth, but one of the sides has more teeth than the other.
(Zing Par)

Ni is submitting five to 10 art pieces to the show. His favorite among these is a drawing of two anime characters kissing behind a cloud. He believes this is one of his best works.
He came across the image while scrolling on pinterest, and he was amazed at how he was able to capture that moment from the movie without copying it.
He drew the piece on his iPad and does most of his art digitally. According to Ni, he spent 4 hours drawing this picture, and he is very happy with how it turned out.
The art show not only primarily focuses on painting or drawing, but highlights various types of art, even including ceramics.
For example, senior Logan Spencer, who is enrolled in the advanced ceramics course, submitted work to the art show.
He’ll present a skull flower pot, a cup set and a vase. According to Spencer, to make the skull, he used a glass mold as the general shape and then carved and sculpted it to achieve the details. It took him around three hours to complete this process.
His art revolves around imperfections. Logan sees the beauty in imperfection and likes to incorporate it into his artwork. For the skull in particular, there are nine rows of teeth, but one side of the smile has one more row of teeth than the other do.
“A lot of my art has little imperfections in it,” Spencer said. “Nothing is perfect ,but I enjoy the little imperfections about each one.”
Maggie Johnson, a senior, is also currently taking ceramics. Johnson hasn’t considered herself to have ever been a creative and strong art person, but being included in the art show has changed her perspective.
Johnson has two pieces in the art show: an alien tourist made out of paper mache and a ceramic bowl in the shape of a llama. These pieces were very unique and challenged Johnson to push herself.
The alien tourist was originally supposed to be a fun paper mache craft, but she had to improvise due to a mistake and ended up with an alien. Because aliens are not native to Earth, Johnson thought it would be a fun idea to create the concept of alien tourists visiting the planet, and this piece took her three weeks to complete.
“It’s a chance for not only me but for everybody who completed stuff that they’ve been proud of or other people proud of to get a chance to show it off that they normally don’t get to show off,” Johnson said.
After not having an art show for the past two years, art students are excited and eager to express their talents. With this show being a first for some and for others a chance to gain recognition, this art show will act as a gateway for students to show off the accumulation of their hard work and dedication.

Senior Biak Par’s painting focused on her culture. This is seen from the traditional neckline and the pattern in the background inspired by her mother.
Photo contributed by Biak Par