Eight students from three Tooele County high schools can now add a rare achievement on their resume: an entry in this year’s prestigious Utah All-State High School Art Show.
Now in its 41st year, the annual juried exhibition runs Feb. 20 to March 22 at the Springville Museum of Art. It showcases the best art created by high school juniors and seniors throughout Utah. To be considered, students and their artwork must be nominated by their art teachers.
Tooele County students accepted this year include Carly Coles and Vivian Gardner from Grantsville High School; Jonathan Buckendorf, Chelsea Jones, Jessica Mellor and Laura Trussell from Stansbury High School; and Duncan Holt and Roger Lozano from Tooele High School. Jones and Lozano also received Congressional Honorable Mention Awards.
Earlier this month, the students shared the stories behind their artwork.
Buckendorf, a senior at SHS, described his 2-foot by 2-foot ceramic sculpture, titled “My World in a Bottle,” as a fat, blue bottle with big blotches of green that are meant to look like moss, but turned out looking more like continents of the world.
“I kind of threw the shape on the pottery wheel, and it just came together,” he said. “After it was done, I added the green island masses.”
Even though the result wasn’t as he had originally intended, he said he was happy with it.
“Pottery is very organic,” he said. “I wanted my artwork to reflect that. I didn’t want it to be realistic. I wanted somebody to look deeper.”
Pottery is his favorite medium.
“I’ve always loved playing in the mud,” he said. “In junior high, I took the basic pottery class and got the highest percentage, having turned in so much extra credit work.”
SHS senior Mellor’s watercolor piece, “Vibrant Flower,” was based on a photo her parents took in Germany the summer of 2011. She picked the photo because it was vibrant and had a lot of cool shadows. Mellor has taken several art classes, but her greatest influence has been her mom, an artist in her own right.
“My mom used to say she’d find me by following the crayons,” she said. “I drew in her favorite books.”
SHS senior Chelsea Jones also learned to love art from her mom, who was a high school Sterling Scholar in art and who studied commercial art in college.
“She’s always supported me in everything I do,” Jones said. “She taught me a lot of technique.”
Her artwork, “Lemur,” shows an attention to detail that belies her age. She made it using the scratchboard technique, which involves putting a layer of ink on a white board. Once it dried, she used a scratching tool to reveal the white underneath.
“I took really thin newsprint and did the main shape of a lemur,” she said. “I took that paper and put it on top of the scratchboard, drawing the design with a pencil so it left an imprint.”
Jones enjoys drawing animals the most.
“I thought a lemur, especially the ring-tail, would be cool because of the fur,” she said. “And it’s already black and white.”
Two artists took everyday objects and turned them into art.
Lozano, a senior at THS, turned a bowl of potatoes into a photo titled “Potato.”
“It’s originally in black and white, then I added highlights into the picture,” he said.
Although it’s his first submission to the art show, he’s placed before in other high school level photo competitions. Lozano said he enjoys photography because it allows him to be himself.
THS senior Duncan Holt’s pencil drawing, “Dark to Light,” shows a hand reaching toward a light bulb.
“I thought it would be a fun challenge to draw a light bulb,” Holt said. “I have a hand reaching for the light, [like how] the grass is greener on the other side.”
He said he likes pencil as a medium because it’s easier to control, though he thinks oil and acrylic are fun, too.
To three artists, photography is their favorite form of expression.
Vivian Gardner, a GHS senior, took “Weathered 8” while she was walking through her grandmother’s basement. It’s a photo of vintage trunks that belonged to her great-grandmother.
“I thought they were cool,” Gardner said. “I liked the textures. My grandma thinks it’s a little weird that I take random pictures of stuff in her house. When I got my picture in the art show, I told her and she thought that was cool. I guess I’m not just this weird kid with a camera.”
SHS junior Laura Trussell took her photo, “A Blast of Snow,” while she was up a canyon on the east bench of Tooele with her friend Haley Salvesen. It had snowed the week before, and powder-fine snow still covered the ground.
“I asked [Haley] to pick up the snow and blow on it so I could take her picture,” Trussell said. “I really liked how it turned out.”
The 17-year-old’s interest in photography started three years ago, when her dad took her to Washington, D.C., for her 14th birthday. She recalled walking around the National Mall, a sprawling tourist attraction made up of several museums.
“It was a May evening,” she said. “There were fountains and lights, and I took pictures on my cell phone. Even though [the quality of the photos] wasn’t that great, they were still cool.”
Like Trussell, GHS junior Carly Coles is an avid photographer. In July 2012, she was exploring different areas of Grantsville she’d never been before with her friend Sienna Rhodes. Coles’ photo of Rhodes ended up as her entry, “A Path Followed.” Coles said it represented different areas of the world one has never explored.
“It’s cool that [through photos] you can capture moments that will last forever,” she said.
The artists all enjoy art as a hobby, and some want to continue studying it in college and beyond.
Mellor, who placed third in a Tooele County art show last year for an oil painting, said that after high school, she wants to major in English and minor in art.
“I want to write books and illustrate them myself,” she said.
Jones has already been accepted in Utah State University’s art and design program. She plans to attend USU in the fall, majoring in drawing and painting.
Coles wants to teach photography someday, while Trussell aspires to be a professional photographer.
“I’d love to travel and just take pictures,” Trussell said.
Lozano plans to join the Air Force and study photo-journalism.
Many of the students expressed excitement and surprise at the news of their acceptance into the art show.
“We haven’t had a pottery piece since two years ago,” Buckendorf said. “Last year, my submission got rejected. It was my goal to get in this year. It’s such a big art show. It’s very selective. It’s an honor that they thought my artwork was good enough.”
Jones agreed and said having her art displayed in the show is a neat experience to be a part of.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said.