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Students explore Brave New World through art
April 5, 2022
Tackling the theme of “Brave New Worlds,” seniors Tammi Trujillo and Helena Su, junior Sydney Chao and sophomore Shivam Maji had their art selected for the New Museum of Los Gatos’s ArtNow exhibit, which features works from high schoolers across the county. The artists used techniques and mediums ranging from sculpture to photography to create works that explore the ideas of hope and the future. The prestigious art exhibition will display the students’ pieces through May 22.
Although senior Helena Su’s art comprises mostly street photography, she decided to photograph a different subject for the competition by combining two elements: a hand in shadows and a clear cube.
“I already had the photo of the hand, and I liked it because it had good lighting,” Su said. “I thought it fit well with the theme, and I wanted to show that hands are very important when creating art.”
To make the cube, Su folded a piece of transparent film and colored it with highlighters. She shined a laser on the cube to add hues and further edited it on Adobe Photoshop. The piece, titled Create, is meant to encourage others to make their own art and share their vision.
“This is more dream-like and unrealistic than street photos, and I like the contrast between the hand and the film,” Su said. “The main message is there are infinite possibilities from what you create with your hands.”
Su started taking photos as a way to capture the special moments of daily life. She has a photography based Instagram account, where she posts her photos from the past year. In the future, Su hopes to continue photography as a hobby and encourages others to visit NUMU, the museum where her art is featured.
“I’ve always been into art,” senior Tammi Trujillo said. “I’ve always been creative.”
Trujillo’s art was originally meant for her AP Studio Art portfolio, but art teacher Matthew Reynolds encouraged Trujillo to submit it to the competition. The sculpture is composed of images of people and three layers of CDs, which were made transparent by removing the foil. She used print transfers to add the people on the discs and organized the layers on strings.
Trujillo hopes to represent unity through her work by showing how fighting racial injustice during divisive times helps to unite communities. The piece reflects the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with people wearing masks, and encourages people to celebrate individuality, not division.
“My art is about division and unity,” Trujillo said. “Throughout the division that we have faced during the pandemic, we have also found unity.”
Now, Trujillo is shifting her focus on art to fashion, with more of her work featured in Indesign, Lynbrook’s fashion club.
Junior Sydney Chao takes photos to remember the places she visited. However, the photo she submitted was taken in her own neighborhood. Photographed when the skies were filled with wildfire smoke, the photo represents hope during the darkest of times.
“I went outside, and I didn’t think I would take anything because the lighting was really bad,” Chao said. “But then, I looked at this window in my neighborhood, and I took a picture.”
Chao submitted her work to the exhibition because she believed it fit the theme of Brave New Worlds.
“In the photo, one panel absorbs all the darkness while the other panel reflects the sky,” Chao said. “It symbolizes how during unprecedented circumstances, we can’t change the situation, but we can change how we view it.”
Chao increased the photo’s saturation in Adobe Lightroom to increase the glow around the window. The photo helped Chao see how photography can improve one’s view of the world.
“Later on, I realized that it looked more beautiful through the lens of my camera than in real life,” Chao said. “It shows how you can look at things from different perspectives, and you can see the good and bad sides.”
A contrast between the past and the future, sophomore Shivam Maji’s photo depicts how humanity faces its challenges.
“I interpreted the theme as how we as humanity want to perceive our future,” Maji said.
The picture was taken during Lunar New Year in San Francisco Chinatown. It depicts an old statue wearing a face mask in front of a mural of warriors. After taking the photo, Maji edited it on Adobe Lightroom before submitting it to the exhibition.
“It’s really cool to see how the past and the future have been blended together and lit by retro futuristic lighting,” Maji said.
Maji first became interested in photography through the Photography class at Miller Middle School.
“I enjoy photography because it not only merges art and technology in a really unique way but also gives you an insight into the world almost instantaneously,” Maji said.
In addition to street photography, Maji also does virtual photography, taking photos through photo mode on video games.
“Because most modern games have a photo mode, you can control settings, and you can get some really cool photorealistic shots,” Maji said.