From March 19-23, eight senior IB art students will be showcasing their cumulative two year projects. Students choose a theme for this exhibit, in total creating a portfolio of between 8-12 pieces of art in varying mediums.
Each student’s topic is unique and represents their own interests. IB art teacher Terry Waldron says of her students, “They’ve been working so hard over the last two years. They’ve been building a portfolio of their work and doing extensive research on artists and cultures that relate to their approach to art and also express certain meaning in their work that pertains to the themes they choose.”
She emphasizes how she encourages students to choose specific topics. “I make students articulate their theme and clearly state how they will execute it. The most important thing is that students are passionate about their theme,” said Waldron.
Elise Anderson found her passion in this project through combining two of her favorite subjects: art and science. “My theme is the beauty of science. I came to it because this was the first art class where I essentially had a chance to come up with something of my own instead of just being assigned projects and so, for me this was unique because there aren’t a lot of opportunities where you’re able to blend art and science together. They’re usually seen as very opposite things. I love both so this was really exciting,” she said.
She incorporates elements of these fields in her work through her varying mediums. She said, “My favorite piece in my portfolio is a clay sculpture that was inspired by a fungus. I saw photographs of the fungus and thought the design was stunning.”
Senior Oscar Dierker took a different approach with his topic. “My portfolio has about 12 pieces and I’ve put in a lot of both work and stress,” he said. Different than Anderson, his topic is one that is expressed in a more abstract way. “My topic was depression and I thought it was a good choice because it would be easy to make a lot of pieces about,” he said. One of the mediums represented in his working is painting. “I haven’t titled my favorite piece, but it’s my biggest piece and it has a white background with a person in a red chair. It was the second piece I made during my junior year and it was the first piece I was really proud of and is still my favorite.” Dierker’s hard work throughout high school has allowed him to set up a big future for himself. “I got into the NYU Steinhardt studio art program, which has a freshman class of about 60 people so hopefully my skills carry!” he said.
Creating a portfolio as dense as required by most of these topics encompasses commitment. Waldron said,“IB art requires a tremendous amount of work both out and in class. Not only do they have to produce bodies of art here in the classroom, they also have produce a process portfolio which is all their written research and exploration into media, so they’re doing at least four hours of out of class work per week.”
“Each piece takes different amounts of time so the workload really depends. For most of our pieces we have what’s called a process portfolio that contains medium experimentations, artist research and all the things that go into each piece. It’s been a lot of time put in for the past two years,” Anderson said.
Dierker adds his personal motives, saying, “I think the hardest thing for a lot of people was getting enough pieces to make a good selection, but I needed to make an art portfolio for college so that pushed me to finish.” Even more challenging is the fact that the pieces must all be part of one final result. Dierker said, “Every time I chose a medium it wasn’t what I was most comfortable with, it was what would best represent my theme or the idea behind the piece.”
All the hard work put in by these students can be viewed as a sort of investment. Waldron says, “IB art will help their futures in so many ways. I’ve heard from IB students who have written me back later and said how it helped with their study skills, and broadened their awareness of other cultures because IB is a global program and requires research much beyond Western culture. It’s enriching and gives them greater art appreciation.”
The skills that they learn through this course are designed to carry them past high school and can be applied in whatever field they choose to pursue. “I think one of the best things about IB Art is that it teaches an independent approach to art and study in general. We have a lot of freedom in the class, so a lot of the responsibility is on us, you really have to be aware of your time management. I think that’s a skill that’s really necessary in college because you won’t be in a classroom everyday,” Anderson said.
The show will be set up in the faculty lounge instead of the library this year in room 212 across from the main office. It will be open all week for students to stop by and take a look. The seniors showcasing their work are Elise Anderson, Gwen Weber, Anna Hothai, Jacquelyn Johnson, Oscar Dierker, Alice Preston, Heather DiStefano, and Adam Nayak. Some themes being addressed are The Effects of Society on the Individual, Superstition, Thailand and the United States, Origins of Fantasy Art, The Beauty of Science and Depression. Art however, is up for interpretation, so as Dierker says, “If you really want to understand it, you should come see the show!”