Work of art

Maya Morriswala, Jr. managing editor

After weeks and months of hard work, 11 Allen High School student artists won a competition hosted by Kaizen Development Partners and the Allen High School Arts Department. As a result, those artists’ original pieces now hang in the One Bethany East office building, which is in its final phases of construction.

Senior Rae McGraw won first place for her piece “Reflections in Glass” which, according to McGraw, was inspired by the glass installation in Kaizen’s buildings.

“I was thinking about something that would look well in a modern building and looked at some of the other stuff Kaizen has done,” McGraw said. “They had a lot of glass installation so I was like, ‘okay, I want to do something with glass.’ So I went to the storage room, and I saw some wine bottles, and I was like, ‘Okay, here’s my inspiration.’”

McGraw took about a month on her piece, even coming to school over Christmas break to work on it. As she worked in the beginning and middle stages, she experienced some doubt.

“There were many times I was like, ‘this is awful, but that’s just kind of how making art works,’” McGraw said. “Then you get to the end, and you’re like, ‘wow, that really looks nice. I’m so amazed that it came together like that.’”

Another challenge for McGraw was color mixing since she said that many of the colors she needed did not come straight from the bottle. Yet another challenge was the size of the art itself.

“I [made] sure the image didn’t get distorted because it was an eight foot by four foot,” McGraw said. “Also, covering large areas at once was a bit of a challenge because it was such a large work.”

Art size was one of the few requirements given according to junior Dora Pang, who received an honorable mention for her piece, “Flowers by the Road.”

“I really have no idea how the selection process went down because they said they wanted large pieces of art,” Pang said. “That was the only parameter that they gave us, not even a size, just the word large.”

To Pang, the submitted works seemed to be mostly abstract works, a trend that she followed in her Andy Warhol-inspired prints.

“[Warhol’s piece] was called ‘Flowers 1961,’ and basically, it was this really bright, colorful set of prints, so I wanted to make mine look like a set of prints, and I wanted to keep the flower motif,” Pang said. “I decided to make it look like road tracks were going over the flowers, so I called it ‘Flowers By The Road’ as a nod to ‘Flowers 1961,’ and I basically, tried to follow the same kind of color scheme.”

At the unveiling ceremony on March 5, Kaizen announced the winners to the students, parents and teachers. McGraw said that she was not surprised, and she cited her effort as a contributing factor to her success.

“I have talent, but that’s definitely not really what came into play here,” McGraw said. “I was up here every single chance I got, and I had the time to go in and work on it. Even if I didn’t have the time, I went in and I made the time.”

Pang, on the other hand, said that she was really surprised by the results.

“[My piece] took about two weeks, three hours per day, but I know some people that were working on it for months on end, and they didn’t get it, so I was really shocked,” Pang said. “And I knew they were going for abstract, but I thought mine was way too out there, but I guess not, so I was really really shocked actually.”

Another student whose art is hanging in One Bethany, honorable mention winner junior Piper Roman, created “Mind and Body,” a piece including portraits of many of her classmates.

“I’m super happy not just because it got into the building but because this was the largest project I’ve ever made, and those were by far the best portraits I’ve ever done,” Roman said. “I was overjoyed [when I was selected] because I was anxious for weeks about this. [I] didn’t cry, but I called my mom.”

Roman, Pang and McGraw alike have something they believe distinguishes or differentiates them from other artists, allowing them to come as far as they had. Roman believes she differs in deciding what art to create.

“I don’t do stuff that has big meaning,” Roman said. “I just do it because I like it.”

In contrast to Roman, Pang feels she is different more in the sense of her lifetime experience with art and her openness to experimenting with new things.

“I know for a fact that most artists have not had the same lifetime journey that I’ve had with having [an] art teacher since I was barely able to walk,” Pang said. “I think what really differentiates me is the fact that I’m willing to go out and try new things. I just switched to a new art teacher, and I just started new mediums right when my art is most important.”

However, McGraw believes what makes her different does not have to do with her talent, but rather her work ethic.

“I’d be up at 5 a.m. drawing and planning stuff, so I don’t really think there’s something that really distances me from other artists other than just, I’m willing to really go in and work on it,” McGraw said. “I don’t sleep much, so I’m doing art instead of sleeping. I’m one of those people who once I can get my hands on something, I can take it and run with it.”