Young artists reveal their inner animal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2012



LAPLACE – Paintings, puppets, sculptures and sketches filled the library at East St. John High School Wednesday night as the school’s art students showed off a year’s worth of artistic expressions during the annual art fair.

Some students were inspired by the work of famous artists, while others took inspiration from everyday interests or past experiences. The exhibition featured about 40 students involved in the school’s Visually Talented Arts Program.

Art teacher Carol Jane Myers explained that each student, at the beginning of the year, settled on a theme that their individual art would revolve around. They were challenged with using that theme in each piece throughout the year.

“One assignment was to choose an animal to represent them,” Myers said. “In another assignment, students were asked to create a fully functioning puppet from foam rubber or other materials. Students often used their experiences to develop their art.”

For Tatyana Lee, 17, a junior at East St. John, that experience was Hurricane Katrina.

“About a year after Katrina I just started drawing whenever I could,” said Lee, who took second place in the 3-D category. “The drawing led to painting and other things as I got more into it.”

Senior Jessica Alford said she has been doing art since the third grade when she would make simple drawings for class assignments. Alford said her inspiration for her work in the exhibit came from the death of her dog last year.

“I just went crazy painting dogs,” she said. “The paintings were solemn and sad at the beginning, but the happier I got, the more the dogs would change.”

Alford said she did not plan to continue art into college, opting instead to pursue a degree that will land her a job at an industrial plant. Lee, however, said she planned to enroll in an arts program at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

 Myers said the classes went on field trips throughout the year for inspiration, including trips to the French Quarter and to the New Orleans Museum of Art, to see the work of Thornton Dial, an artist from Alabama whose work focuses on history and politics.

“There is always so much talent with these students,” Myers said. “They really embrace the art all year.”