What happens when six professional artists from different disciplines offer their support and guidance to nine aspiring creative teens?
Louie, I think this is the beginning of a wonderful mentorship.
Since 2004, the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! has sponsored the Teen Artist Internship Program, created to inspire and educate high school juniors and seniors who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the fine arts.
TAIP offers would-be artists the opportunity to work with mentors, experience what it’s like to maintain a personal studio, and engage in long-term art projects that require dedication and patience.
Since TAIP’s inception, many of the local teens have continued their art education at a number of regional colleges including UMass Dartmouth, Boston University, Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art and many others.
Each annual mentorship culminated in an exhibition at the museum, allowing the teenagers to share their work with the public alongside the art of their tutors.
Mentor painter Roy St. Christopher Rossow, attending for the third time, worked with two students, Emma Almedia and Kerin Lacroix, both of whom have an affinity for manga and comics.
Working in a hyper-realistic mode, Rossow was able to help both focus on the basics of drawing, composition and lighting. Almedia, who was inspired by the One Punch Man anime, created a series of sequential art images that reflect a sensibility that, with further discipline and effort, could lead to a career in the field.
Similarly, Lacroix used Rossow’s insights to hone his skills to pursue a career in comics.
Student Avary Amaral was mentored by designer, painter and photographer Sheila Olivera. Both exhibited multi-faceted collages and the creative connection between the two is evident. Both show the faces of young women amidst a sea of different visual elements. Olivera’s “Dress Maker’s Daughter” is a reflection on her days as a seamstress in her father’s clothing factory.
Amaral’s “Welcome to the Unknown” more than holds its own, featuring a heart on one side of the woman’s collar and a skull on the other. Surprisingly and happily, there is also a wave borrowed from the great Japanese painter Hokusai.
Mentor Diana Arvanites, a multidisciplinary artist, exhibits Silver Lining, an elegant and simple geometric mixed media work. She worked with Tiara Hatchett, a student at New Bedford High School, encouraging her to explore different papers and fluid drawing techniques.
This exploration led to Hatchett’s The Inner and Outer Layers, made with Sharpie, gel pen, and acrylic paint.
At first glance, it appears to be just blue squiggles over a bear’s faint silhouette, but a closer look reveals there’s much more to it.
Painter/printmaker and gallery owner (and 11-time TAIP mentor) Judith Klein tutored Kaylee Tillson, who is exhibiting a charcoal self-portrait and three separate works entitled View from the Studio. One is an acrylic painting, the other two are woodcuts, one in black and white, the other in full color.
The view is of Clark’s Cove visible from Klein’s Kilburn Mills studio and gallery. Tillson received a valuable lesson in both the use of different techniques and the need to constantly re-explore subjects.
Olivia Baldwin, a painter, weaver and sculptor, was a mentor to Adryana Climbron and Arianne Driscoll. Climbron features an adorable portrait of a smiling girl interacting with a butterfly, bumblebee, beetle, spider and ladybug. It is not an etymological study. It’s a picture of youthful exuberance.
Driscoll notes that Baldwin gave her the opportunity “to explore all kinds of mediums, including acrylic and clay”. Significantly, this dilettantism led her to “just let go and just embrace art”.
Driscoll’s It’s Not Me, a digital painting, is intriguing and portends her future, whether it is or not.
Devin McLaughlin (aka Nevid) is a painter who works at Hatch Street Studios and he mentored Kaili Stys and David Thompson, both students at Dartmouth High School.
Stys would love to work as a video game designer or comic book artist, and Thompson has similar interests, noting his love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and creating his own superheroes and villains. With some knowledge of McLaughlin’s personal artwork, he is the ideal mentor for both of them.
Congratulations to all TAIP students on their first museum exhibition and thanks to all mentors who encouraged young artists to follow their dreams.
TAIP: Artful Identities is on view through April 3 at the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks!, 608 Pleasant St., New Bedford.