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Student Cover Art Contest Winners 2018

The Arts and Minds of East Bay Youth | Three young artists impress with their submissions in the 2018 cover contest. By Francesco Guerrieri

The three artists who earned top accolades for their artistic submissions to The Monthly's annual student art contest display a penchant for creativity. Their work speaks not just to their artistic minds, but also to their work ethic and devotion to their craft, also suggesting underlying qualities of perseverance and dedication.

The Monthly invited students attending East Bay public and private schools in grades six to 12 to submit entries for the annual contest. The winner's painting, along with the second- and third- place winners' work, are featured here plus the talented trio's observations about their pieces, their inspirations, and themselves. The Monthly congratulates these budding artists as well as the hundreds of other students who worked so hard on the pieces they submitted for the contest. Well done to all.

FIRST PLACE
Natalie Jeng
Piedmont High School
Macaron Self-Portrait
(acrylic paint)


It's not hard to guess what first-place winner Natalie Jeng's favorite subject matter is.

Her acrylic painting portrays a winking Jeng with her arms rested on a pink macaron, with piles of green and yellow and white and red and brown macaroons behind her. The piece, said Jeng, is a quintessential Natalie Jeng painting, because it depicts her favorite subject—food—and, in particular, her favorite food—macarons.

"People know me at my high school. I've famous here for drawing food, because I love food, and I also love drawing food," Jeng said. "This is the first piece where I really combined them." Jeng was last year's third-place winner with Charming, a bowl of Lucky Charms, her favorite cereal

"I love art, and I feel like if I don't go for that in college and as a job, I just won't be as happy when I'm older," Jeng said as she painted a mural for Piedmont High School. The theme of the mural is diversity, self-love, and being yourself, concepts she firmly believes in.

The 17-year-old said she is inspired by the works of Gerhard Richter and John Singer Sargent, as well as those of Wayne Thiebaud, whose paintings of gumball machines and sweets inform Jeng's style. More dear to Jeng's heart than these professional inspirations, however, are the personal figures that motivate her every day.

"I'm the president of the art club at Piedmont High School, and I see the stuff my friends come up with, sketch with them, and work with them on this mural 12 hours a day during the summer," Jeng said. "They inspire me everyday, and I love them so much."

Jeng's mother is an artist who has also pushed her daughter down the artistic path. Though Jeng wants to continue doing art in college, she is unsure how to balance art with her interests in math and sciences. After she found out about her success in this year's student art contest, however, she said she knew art would always be a part of her life.

 

SECOND PLACE
Sydney Chan
Alameda High School
Squirrels in Winter


(click the art to
see a larger version)

Art evokes much more than a canvas and paintbrush in Sydney Chan's mind's eye. Chan was involved in the circus growing up and participated in the physical arts of stilt walking and acrobatics. The rising senior at Alameda High School has also taken multimedia arts and advanced multimedia art, which have improved her skill in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Chan used these programs to create her second-place winning entry, Squirrels in Winter, which depicts a brown squirrel against a muted background. The piece is reminiscent of artist Charley Harper from whose work Chan takes inspiration.

"We have a lot of squirrels where I live, and I always see squirrels everywhere," Chan said. "I really wanted to do a piece with a squirrel. I liked the lighter colors. I liked the more muted tones."

Chan's forays into the arts, however, do not end here. She also works in an art gallery where she experiments with more traditional painting styles. She also does furniture painting and glasswork, the latter of which has exposed her to stained glass and mosaics. The talented 17-year-old also taught herself the ukulele, which she has been playing now for five years.

"I love creating," Chan said. "I really enjoy being able to create things that are more physical and artistic. I like the colors. I like being able to create."

The impressive breadth of Chan's portfolio shows her desire to create and impress. She even has plans to conquer entirely different fields, like engineering. While she intends to pursue engineering in college, she said art is "something I will always enjoy doing.

 

THIRD PLACE
Delaney Keating
Piedmont High School
The Rosenquist

(click the art to
see a larger version)


Delaney Keating has carved out a large part of her life the arts. She not only teaches children about ceramics and painting at Oakland's Museum of Children's Arts, but she also volunteers at an art center in Los Angeles.

Keating is a volunteer, teacher, and an artist, but the accomplished Piedmont native is also a 17-year-old headed into her senior year at Piedmont High School. When she is not focused on writing her colleges application essays, Keating is glued to her art.

"What I like to do is get really involved in the pieces at school, so I just take them home and work on them at home," Keating said. "I'm just really detail oriented, so I like to put a lot of time into each project, but I don't necessarily have enough class time to do all that."

Her entry, The Rosenquist, put the young artist's abilities on full display. The painting, set to a salmon-orange background, features a sunglasses-donned surfer carrying his surfboard with the board blending into the hood of a black automobile. She used gouache for the painting that takes inspiration from artist James Rosenquist.

"He would do a lot of pieces like this," she said. "He would blend these older images and make these beautiful pieces."

Keating wants to continue her adventures in art in college but is not sure what that entails. She is drawn to art for the powerful space it gives her for devoting her energy and creativity.

"I've always been really fascinated with creating things and the idea of being able to make things myself," Keating said.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Will Dalton, Piedmont High School; Saatvik Dube, Piedmont High School; Mia Horvath, Piedmont High School; Viki Li, Alameda High School; Nguyen Truong, Oakland International High School; Elizabeth Winters, Piedmont High School.

Will Dalton


Will Dalton

Saatvik Dube


Saatvik Dube

Mia Horvath


Mia Horvath

Viki Li


Viki Li

Nguyen Truong


Nguyen Truong

Elizabeth Winters


Elizabeth Winters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 FIRST PLACE Maddy Lake,
San Ramon Valley High School,
Untitled

FIRST PLACE
Natalie Jeng
Piedmont High School
Macaron Self-Portrait
(acrylic paint)