Woodburn students excel at scholastic art awards
Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy students won big at the 2018 regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which recognize creative teens for their accomplishments in visual art and writing. Forty-seven WACA students won 30 Gold Keys, 43 Silver Keys and 68 honorable mentions for their visual art pieces in the Willamette Valley regional level of the national competition.
The Gold Key-winning artwork is currently being judged at the national level by professional artists in New York City, according to WACA art teacher Catherine Johnstone.
The pieces students submit are judged on their originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal vision or voice.
Hanah Thurman, a WACA senior who focuses on drawing, illustrations and mixed media but experiments with other art forms, won a total of 25 awards. She won seven Gold Keys for drawing and illustration, two Gold Keys for mixed media pieces, a Silver Key for her senior art portfolio, five Silver Keys for drawing and illustration, one Silver Key each for digital art, mixed media, sculpture and photography, one honorable mention for digital art, three honorable mentions for drawing and illustration and two honorable mentions for photography.
Thurman said she focuses on a variety of subjects, and finds inspiration in everyday life. "I draw my inspiration from a lot of different places," she said, saying that how she feels on a certain day and the situations she's in are many of the sources of inspiration.
As for her aesthetic, Thurman said she likes using pastel colors, in addition to "sparkles and glitter and rainbow colors," she said. "Very girly."
Thurman doesn't think she'll pursue art as a career, though she's open to the possibility of doing part-time freelance work as an artist. "It's more like a hobby to me," she said.
Another student who won many awards is Pedro Coronado, a WACA senior who photographs striking and glamorous self-portraits of himself. Coronado won a Gold Key for his senior art portfolio, along with four additional Gold Keys for photography, two Silver Keys for painting and four honorable mentions for photography.
Coronado said that in the past he would draw a lot of portraits of women wearing dramatic makeup. But as he became more interested in art made by and focused on the LGBTQ community, and as he started to experiment with wearing makeup himself, he started to make himself the subject of his art.
"I'm very influenced by queer art, drag queens and makeup," Coronado said. "As I started experimenting more with makeup on myself, I started incorporating that into my photography, so the women I drew ended up being me — I made it myself."
Photography is his main medium, and he focuses on all the details that compose the photos. "Anything, from my hair, my makeup, what I'm wearing, is photographed and designed by me," Coronado said.
He hopes to go to art school after graduating high school and continue honing his photography skills.
WACA junior Julia Melkomukov also won several awards. That included two Gold Keys for drawing and illustration, one Gold Key for digital art, three honorable mentions for drawing and illustration and one honorable mention for digital art.
Melkomukov is inspired by illustrations in children's books and cartoons. Her art reflects that style, with imaginative subjects like a girl carrying a clear umbrella that appears to be filled with creatures in an aquarium.
She hopes to become an illustrator or animator, adding that she loves creating characters. "What motivates me to draw people or watch shows is the characters in them," she said.
Another WACA junior, Raul Prudencio, won several awards for his photography. He earned two Gold Keys and four honorable mentions for his photos.
Prudencio said he's inspired by street photography and aims to shoot candid photos of his subjects. His Gold Key-winning photos feature family members and friends in i"I like working with my family," he said. One of the Gold Key photos is of a friend at a summer art camp held at Oregon State University.
A mostly self-taught photographer, Prudencio's been experimenting with the art form for about two years, and hopes to continue working beyond high school.
And sophomore Ariyonna Macrum was also recognized with several awards. Macrum won two Gold Keys and five honorable mentions, all in the drawing and illustration category.
Macrum focuses on creating art that reveals her subconscious self. She accomplishes that by drawing subjects without looking at where her pencil is on the page.
"All of my art is about myself and trying to understand myself," Macrum said. "I'm trying to get my feelings on paper."
Macrum started experimenting with the technique of drawing without looking at the page this past summer. She'll start by holding the subject of her drawing — for example, a lightbulb — and sketching the item without looking away from it. She'll then go over the pencil with a brush pen, sometimes adding paint or other media to the piece.
"It's a really good outlet, and it's a really good way to understand what I'm feeling," Macrum said.
An exhibition of the of the Willamette Valley Scholastic Art Award winners will be March 6-19 at the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University, with a reception held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10.
Full list of winners: