Benjamin Bear, Black
Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. —Barbara Kingsolver
Knowing what you want to say before you put your pen to the paper, click the camera shutter, or dip your brush in paint takes time to figure out, but it is well worth the effort. One of the criteria the Scholastic Awards jurors look for is a personal vision or voice, and this year’s Gold Medal Portfolio recipients’ works are speaking loudly and clearly. These works are personal and public; they focus on the small things in life and the big ideas. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore these works, and the artists and writers behind them, in their own words. Benjamin Bear and Edil Hassan will kick off our series on the 2015 Scholastic Awards’ Gold Medal Portfolio recipients.
Elevated Place by Brandon Brooks, 2014 Gold Medal Art Portfolio
Nathan Cummings and Brandon Brooks rely on the natural world for inspiration and to create, dazzle, and amaze their audiences. Movement—whether it’s the unexpected flow of bent wood or the harmony of sound, tongue and teeth to pronounce a single word—also plays a central role.
Explains Nathan: “I am a devotee of the arcane and bizarre: my writing includes pieces on phantom fish, conjoined twins, and the sheer improbability of the word syzygy (SIZZ-uh-GEE). This is my “normal,” the gear at which I’m used to operating.”
In astronomy, syzygy– the alignment of four planets– is a rare and fascinating occurrence. But for this poet, the process of saying the word and envisioning its reality stirred his imagination. Can you see it as the planets spin below? Read More
Again and Again and Again (detail), 168” x 72” Adobe Photoshop, Digital Print, Polaroid / Emulsion Transfer
Country, family, community, beliefs, race, cultural norms and accepted behaviors: we are born into this world with many of these factors pre-determined for us. So what’s a teenager to do? As Portfolio Medalists Patrick Zapien and Jackson Trice see it, there’s just one choice: to rebel.
For Jackson, a born-and-bred Southerner, “I Should Be Leaving” deals with how she feel s about her place in the world, coming of age, and the natural urge to revolt that comes with it.
“It goes back to this central question I’ve posed for myself which is: what makes me want to rebel?” she reflects. “Perhaps it is in my blood. And perhaps, I dare to say, I am okay with it.” Read More
The eight Writing Portfolio Gold Medalists with alum Hannah Jones
This post originally appeared on Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog. By Brittany Sullivan.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Carnegie Hall award ceremony is just two days away! Last week, we took a closer look at this year’s outstanding eight Portfolio Gold Medal artists, who, in addition to winning $10,000 scholarships, are well on their way to following in the footsteps of famous Scholastic Awards alumni such as Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein and Zac Posen.
Before the National Celebrations begin in New York City tomorrow, let us introduce you to the talented eight Portfolio Gold Medal writers of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These storytellers captivated regional and national judges with their wild imaginations and powerful emotions – communicated through short stories, poems and memoirs. We can’t wait to meet them here in New York City! Read More
Contour by Luis Zepeda, 2014 Gold Medal Art Portfolio
Have you ever had a dream where you find yourself naked at school? While that may be a nightmare for most, Luis Zepeda likes to infuse his works with a touch of humor, which in his 2014 Gold Medal Art Portfolio, the humor comes from a nude Zepeda. More of his work is shown below. Shannon Daniels aims to communicate acute observations about her family based on her experiences growing up with a strong link to her parents and grandparents in New York City. “Persimmon peels left on the kitchen table. The chipped keys of a piano that is out of tune. Everyday objects like these reveal whole histories of the people who use, save, and discard them.” says Daniels.
Daniels, a student at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, continues to describe her portfolio in her writers statement: “To approach and relay my encounters with giant, ubiquitous beasts – death, racism, and poverty – I have learned to begin with the ordinary, the small. From hearing family stories over the kitchen table to grocery-shopping in Chinatown market stalls, I’ve discovered that moments that are dismissed as banal or mundane can unfold daily, unspoken truths.” You can read excerpts from her pieces Scale (below) and Ars Poetica (following Luis’ work). Read More
Dylicious Jones by Ellie Braun, age 17, Grade 12. 2014 Gold Medal, Art Portfolio.
Today we share with you the work of Jack Rayson and Ellie Braun. Both Medalists gravitate to things discovered and experienced in our youth. While talking about childhood and adolescence, Jack explains “There are so many experiences to be had, experiences that cannot yet be expressed in words, and I think those indescribable moments of discovery or realization are the purest moments because they escape language.” Ellie is “inspired to place an emphasis on human sexuality and gender identity through my investigation of adolescents changing their physical appearance.”
Jack and Ellie truly encompass our criteria of originality and technical skill, and bring a genuine and honest personal voice and vision to their work, even when the subject matter can be difficult to address. Take a look at more of their work below! Read More