NSHSS’s second annual Visual Arts Competition drew more than 450 entries encompassing painting, ceramics, glass, sculpture, mixed media, printmaking, weaving, digital and 35mm photography. Scholarship submissions were judged on originality, understanding and application of visual arts elements, technical mastery, critical thinking and problem-solving, and emotional impact. Each first place winner received a $1,000 cash prize. Second place winners received $500 and third place winners $250.
First Prize: Pooja Galley, Abilene, TX, Cooper High School: “Preservation”
This photo was inspired by the culture I was born into. My family consists of two different cultures, both from different countries and that inspired me to capture a photograph of my grandmother as a way of preserving and valuing our culture. This photo was taken in a natural light with a neutral background to express the simplicity in the existence of one of many cultures in this world.
Second Prize: Brooke Buchan, Thornton, CO, Mountain Range High School, “Eunoia”
I created this image as a double exposure in Adobe Photoshop by layering two images I had taken together and blending them into each other. I wanted to create this photograph to embody the beauty of life, and the beauty of loving life. I want always to look upon life and feel wonder, I want always to look upon myself and love fiercely, and I want always to possess a mindset indestructible to the ubiquitous pressure of life’s perils, which is why I chose to name this piece “Eunoia.” Stemming from the Greek language and being the shortest word in the English language to contain all 5 vowels, eunoia translates quite literally to mean “beautiful thinkin.g” I want this photograph to inspire people to think beautifully, much the way photography has taught me to seek and find radiance everywhere. Life is a mindset; delve for the beauty piece by piece, and you will begin to see it all around you.
Third Prize: Brittany Walker, Hoover, AL, Spain Park High School, “Enchanting Whispers”
My photography teacher gave us a portrait watercolor assignment, and we had to choose a picture of a person. I immediately thought of this photo I took of my friend Emily the year before. Working on this project inspired me to display her personality and features. A list of criteria was handed out but the imagination it took to make this photo as it is now was in my hands. The intent of this photo was to show her connection to nature and her emotional strength.
First Prize: Sarah Tan, Penang, Malaysia, Dalat International School, “Reminiscing”
This colored pencil drawing completed in 2014 is of a woman on her wedding day, dressed in traditional Peranakan Chinese clothing. "Peranakan" is the term used for the descendants of the 15th to 17th-century immigrants to modern day Malaysia and Singapore, and I am one-quarter Peranakan. As I am growing up in a very westernized modern culture while still trying to upkeep and identify with my traditional Asian heritage, I wanted to create a piece that depicts the defeat of this identity struggle that I hope to achieve in my future. Therefore, this woman has overcome her conflicted feelings of who she is, finally coming to terms with her culture and background, learning to embrace it and uphold its importance in her family by even incorporating the traditions and dress into her wedding. The drawing focuses on her last few minutes alone before her marriage when she is reflecting on her transformation, her growth and maturity, and her new journey ahead. As I am of Peranakan descent, I hope to be able to continue to embrace my culture and identity throughout all stages of my life no matter where I am or who I am with.
Second Prize: Cory Levy, Sayville, NY, Sayville High School, “Typhon”
“Typhon” was drawn with an original ballpoint pen outline and shaded afterwards using digital painting on Adobe Photoshop. My illustration is in respect to Typhon, the "Father of all Monsters" in Greek Mythology. Typhon was forged in the depths of Tartarus in motive to obliterate all civilization on Olympus. My piece emphasizes that through the creation of weapons capable of the mutilation of entire countries, humanity has already created its own Typhon. It is inevitable, due to our highly destructive nature as a species, that we will bring upon our own Armageddon without the hand of god. I display the machine that will end society.
Third Prize: Quynh Vo, Kansas City, MO, Bishop Ward High School, “Calmed”
My rendering is of my art teacher (watercolor accompany with willow charcoal) in a meditating position that resemble the Buddha. He is portrayed as the epitome of calmness, yet he appears to be surrounded by chaos. In a sense, he's trying to conquer madness through generating peace through the mind. There is no intention for this depiction as it was done spontaneously. It is through the carelessness of this rendition that one could understand the best work is often unplanned and unrestricted by the notion of perfection.