Ray Huard…From the surreal to the practical, student artists at Vista High School put on a recent Celebration of the Arts show that stimulated and inspired.
“It’s phenomenal,” said Leslie Cole, whose freshman son is an aspiring architect.
“I see a lot of character in what they’re trying to say, very expressive,” Cole said. “I think that’s good because sometimes kids have trouble expressing themselves, which they can do through art.
Cole was particularly taken with the pottery and ceramics that the students produced – an art form she’d like to try.
“It’s on my bucket list,” Cole said.
Junior Jennifer Cabrera shared Cole’s passion for ceramics and pottery, displaying bowls she made and was offering for sale at the show.
Ceramics is her favorite class, Jennifer said.
“You start with clay, and turn it into something beautiful.”
Money raised from the sale of the student artwork went to the Panther Foundation, which helps finance art and Career Technical Education programs at the high school.
Foundation Vice President Scott Gommel liked what he saw.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m very impressed,” Gommel said.
Board of Education Trustee Cipriano Vargas said that he was impressed with the “high caliber” of the art work.
“It speaks to their passion,” Vargas said. “These kids, if they are seeking to go to art college, there’s definitely a place for them.”
The best of show award went to senior Kai Dominguez for a black-and-white self-portrait drawn in pencil.
The drawing showed Kai holding a sketch book in her right hand with her hand and the sketch book looming in the foreground and Kai’s face in the background, with her black hair glistening and drawn so fine that every strand seemed to stand out in what art teacher Candy Munson said was an example of foreshortening.
“Just the technique is amazing,” Munson said. “It looks like she’s going to reach out and grab you.”
Munson also was fond of a colored-pencil drawing by freshman King Garcia of a leopard on the prowl.
“He worked very hard at it,” Munson said. “The composition brings you into the picture and the leopard is in action, he’s ready to pounce. With the colored pencil, he (King) was successful in getting the texture of the fur.
Among the surrealistic was a painting by junior Anne Sophie Monson of a skeletal hand holding a red rose against a blue background, entitled, “The Beauty of Life.”
In a written explanation of her art posted next to the painting, Anne wrote, “I wanted to play with the impact of life verses death and incorporate that into this space,” adding, “I wanted this piece to represent the beauty of life and that even death can be a beautiful thing if viewed through a different perspective.”
Most of the artwork on display was done by the students as class assignments, including a striking black-and-white pencil drawing by freshman Olessya Drazd. The assignment was to depict heroes who weren’t well known.
Olessya chose Irena Sendler, a nurse and social worker who served in the Polish underground in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II and is credited with smuggling about 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto.
“I like her, I like what she did,” Olessya said.
Her drawing has a Star of David at the center, a head-and-shoulder sketch of Sendler wearing a nurse’s cap in the upper left corner, a hand grasping a jar in the upper right, and Sendler as a nurse leading a child by the hand past an old courthouse she often used as an escape route. The jar is filled with paper listing the names of the children she saved.
Among the photography on display, senior David Maynes won a first place award for a photo entitled “Spirit Woman,” which showed a woman holding a frame, but only part of the woman is visible, like she’s floating.
Carolyn Thom, an award-winning art teacher, said that the Celebration of the Arts gives students a critical outlet for their work.
“When they hear people talking about their art, it boosts their ego,” Thom said. “It’s important for the kids to see how the public interacts with their art.”