The art of winning
Lake Oswego students are undeniably talented, but many students in the area were recently recognized in a big way for their artistic achievements by the Oregon Scholastic Art Awards.
Students from Lake Oswego, Lakeridge and Riverdale high schools all won Gold Keys in the contest — one of the most prestigious awards that high school students can receive for their work.
Entries included individual pieces as well as complete portfolios in a variety of media, including ceramics, sculpture, oil, mixed media and more.
The Scholastic Art Awards is run by Little Bird Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to exhibiting, recognizing and publishing artwork by the region's students in kindergarten through high school.
"I decided to submit my art to the Scholastic Art Awards because it was a way for my art to get recognized, and it was also a way for my voice to be heard on controversial events like immigration and women's rights," says Alma Tzintzun, a Riverdale junior who received a Gold Key for her painting "A Country Divided." "When my art piece was chosen for a Gold Key, a jumble of emotions just came rushing in. I wanted to cry and laugh and scream with happiness. It felt amazing to be chosen for a Gold Key — honestly, I would've been happy with any award."
Tzintzun's work had a political point of view, influenced by the feelings she's experienced as a Mexican American living under the Trump administration.
"I wanted to focus on something controversial and something that I'm passionate about. Immigration came to mind, and I then thought of the present events that Trump had been doing, which was deporting Hispanics, more specifically Mexicans, because they weren't legal in this country," she says. "Because I'm Mexican, this made me feel unwanted and also wanting to fight against this and to do something about it."
Ianna Lull, a senior at Riverdale, says she owes her Gold Key to her school's art teacher, David Schell. Lull says Schell told her that a self portrait would make a good addition to round out her portfolio. He took her photo in the gymnasium lobby, and Lull edited it to black and white to suit her style. She then used the photo as a reference for her Gold Key-winning painting.
"After many tedious hours of staring at my own face and seeing every imperfection and shadow, I recognized myself in each brush stroke and decided it was time to call it done," says Lull. "If I wouldn't have had such a great reference photo, I would have never won a Gold Key. All of my work and awards are solely because of Mr. Schell. His teaching and guidance over the last four years are the only reason I'm the artist I am today, and I could have never won without him."
She says she feels extremely honored to be recognized for her work, especially because this is her senior year and first time entering work into the Scholastic Art Awards.
"Being recognized for my work is very special. I was extremely surprised to find out I'd gotten a Gold Key," says Lull. "It was an amazing feeling to know that others see the potential in my work and want to give me the recognition I've worked so hard to earn."
All of the Gold Key Individual and Portfolio winners from the Portland metro area will be exhibited through Friday, Feb 24, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 N.W. Broadway in Portland. For more information about the Oregon Scholastic Art Awards or to view all of the winning artwork, visit www.littlebirdarts.org.