This post originally appeared on Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog. By Brittany Sullivan.

Tyra AThe 91st annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Celebration is right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate some of the most outstanding young artists and writers from all across the country. On Friday, June 6, national Scholastic Art & Writing Award-winning students will be honored during the National Awards Ceremony, live-webcasted from the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Since the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers announced the 2014 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards winners in March, we have had the privilege of getting to know some of these talented teens, including the Art Portfolio Gold Medal Award recipients. This year, 16 high school seniors received the Portfolio Gold Medal Award, the highest Scholastic Art & Writing Awards honor, which includes a $10,000 cash scholarship. After their big win, the Portfolio Gold Medalists have made television appearances, been featured in local papers and done radio interviews to discuss their award and what it took to get on the path to Carnegie Hall.

Before the National Celebration kicks-off in New York City next week, we wanted to give you a glimpse into the creative minds of the eight Portfolio Gold Medal artists. From vital organs made out of fabric to quirky self-portraits and even intricate pencil shavings sculptures, these eight teens are sure to impress you with their incredible talent, undeniable creativity and bold personalities.

 

Tyra Abraham – New York, NY

“For me, photography serves as an outlet for my creativity. I love wandering around New York City and exploring new neighborhoods,” saidTyra. Her beautiful photography focuses on the theme of vulnerability through portraits of her grandmother, who came to America from the island of Tobago for medical care. “This project represents my most personal and sentimental work.”

Ellie Braun – Richmond, VA

Ellie’s stunning colored pencil portraits explore human sexuality and gender identity, challenging why we must follow certain norms in today’s society. “In my work, I have been inspired to place an emphasis on human sexuality and gender identity through my investigation of adolescents changing their physical appearance,” she explains. “I chose to focus on appearance because that is most commonly judged.”

Brandon Brooks – Charlotte, NC

Brandon’s passion for architecture can be seen throughout his artwork. He uses unexpected materials such as wood, matches and glue to demonstrate movement in his sculptures. He says, “When creating my portfolio, I kept in mind two things: shadows and movement. I believe that every aspect of the work should add to the experience of viewing the work.”

Madison Brownson – Interlochen, MI

Madison’s mixed media artwork is inspired by nature and basic human anatomy. She celebrates the often overlooked beauty of our vital organs with life-size, hand-stitched organ replicas – a reminder of all that the human body does for us on a daily basis! “My hope is to make the viewer pause and realize the beautiful complexity of their own anatomy or the world around them,” Madison notes. “As I continue to grow, I plan on celebrating this passion for life with a career in medicine.”

Kasem Kydd – Weston, MA

“This past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own identity as a black man, a man, and who I am as a person,” said Kasem. His winning art portfolio mixes vibrant self-portraits with mixed media sculptures to uniquely reflect his personal identity. He explains, “The materials in the sculptures have different significance for me as a person and an artist.”

Lisa Su – Towson, MD

Lisa has the ability to see the beauty in almost anything. Her portfolio features fascinating sculptures that play with light and shapes, but when viewed closer are actually created from recycled materials such as paper bags, coffee filters or and pencil shavings. “We often overlook the value in everyday objects, conscious only of their functionality,” said Lisa. “Through manipulation and alteration, mundane and ordinary items can transcend their original utilitarian purpose, creating unique textures and atmospheres seemingly from another world.”

Patrick Zapien – Houston, TX

Patrick’s art portfolio is incredibly unique, an installation within an installation. Through his work, Patrick aims to break the boundaries of traditional exhibition through a mixture of video, sculpture and performance art. He states, “By embracing simulation and spectacle I want to find out how an alternative space can manage to act in opposition to culture while not retiring into escapism.”

Luis Zepeda – West Palm Beach, FL

“My art often aims to change a semi-serious scene or situation into an amusing one by the addition of a single detail,” said Luis. Both his sense of humor and minimalist style make Luis’s screen print and gesso-based art undeniably unique. Many of the scenes featured in his pieces are from his own personal life experiences; mainly a summer spent studying in San Francisco, CA.

To view all eight Portfolio Gold Medalists’ artwork, visit artandwriting.org. Stay tuned for an inside look at the eight Portfolio Gold Medal writers!

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