Taylor St. George
In December 2016, nine students were recognized from Holliston High School to compete in the annual and elite Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, against students from all over the United States.
Last year about 320,000 students from across the country submitted their work. Of these 320,000 students, “more than 85,000 pieces of artwork were awarded at the regional level” according to Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ website.
Regarding the piece of artwork senior Ella Hines won an Honorable Mention for, “Under the Stairwell,” she said “the painting I submitted took a few class periods. I did it really shortly before I submitted my portfolio for college.”
Since fifth grade, Hines has asked for new sketchbooks, graphite pencils, and micron pens for every holiday gift. She remembered that the point at which she became really motivated to improve her art skills was when she met Elena Daly, one of the Gold Key winners of the competition.
Daly has helped Hines work from different perspectives. “Now I feel I’m better at utilizing the tools I already have… if I have just blank white paper or printer paper at home, I’ll use it anyways,” said Hines.
“[Mr. Shiff] pushed me to [enter the competition] again, with more pieces, so Mr. Shiff has been really inspiring to me this year,” said Hines.
Senior Elena Daly said “art is kind of how I identify myself. I look at everything differently, and I think ‘how can I make this original in my own way.’”
Daly plans on going to art school next year, hoping to get into character design for movies and video games. She also actively posts updates and pictures of her final work on her instagram account, @e1enada1y.
In discussing her artwork on social media, it is clear that Daly is a perfectionist, as she explains why she doesn’t use any filters. “Lately I’ve been kind of thinking ‘well, if it can look better with a filter, then it’s not done yet, and I should definitely keep working on it,’” said Daly.
Another of the Gold Key winners, junior Juliette Plante, sculpted Love Tap. Plante explained that this sculpture “was actually based on a video I saw of two people fighting, and you almost couldn’t tell if they were fighting or if they were kissing; it was just kind of weird and very funny.”
Plante recalls that she was only about four years old when she began to venture into the sculpting world, straying away from it around the age of twelve, and then finding herself coming back to it. Plante talked about following other sculptors on social media, like @octoplum (Paloma Smith), @erikasculpture, and @kehinddewiley, as she is inspired by them on a day-to-day basis.
One of the Honorable Mention winners, senior Jade Medveczky, explains how art has been a stress reliever for her. “I want to keep art as something of a hobby, not as an obligation because usually when I think of school or something like that, I’m think ‘oh, now I have to get this done’, and I don’t want art to become that,” she said.
She admitted that she doesn’t like to post her artwork on social media, as her perfectionist traits sometimes cause her to see imperfections in her pieces. “If I keep looking at something, I just think ‘oh, it just looks worse’, so I try not to,” said Medveczky.
She said Mr. Douglas Lack convinced her to submit her work. “I ended up doing it, just to see what would happen, because it couldn’t hurt,” said Medveczky.
Mr. Lack has been recognized as one of the “favorite teachers” for the school’s annual superlatives.
As noted by the Holliston Reporter, he is also the teacher who has had the most students receive awards from this competition.
“We have been involved in this competition way before I came here, and we’ve always been very successful,” said Lack.
The pieces of artwork in this competition “ranged from drawing/painting to sculptures this year, and we’ve had students who are in graphic design, as well. But, it’s mostly drawing and painting that we’ve had the most success with,” said Mr. Lack.
Lack thinks that the competition will help benefit kids who are applying to art schools in their future, as they “look at the awards when kids are applying” and “look at those awards as a mark of success, and quality.”
Lack spoke about his personal life, as he said, “ever since I was a young child, I was always good at art and always enjoyed doing [it]. I always knew that I was going to do something with [it].”
He also competed in the competition when he was in high school, winning Gold Keys when he was a junior and senior.
When asked if a lot of his students end up pursuing art as a career, Lack said, “many do, in some way, shape or form. Some go to art school, some minor in art at liberal art schools, and some just do it for their own enjoyment.”
Other students who were awarded from HHS include Helen Dolan, Sydney Halchuk, Casey Prendergast, Renee Torio, and Roman Bolshakov.