Students Pursue the Arts for Senior Projects This Spring
by Emma James on Friday, June 10th, 2016
Senior projects come in many shapes and sizes. Some seniors take on internships away from campus, others base their projects closer to campus, and some seniors — though not many — choose not to do a senior project at all. For Milton artists, senior spring may be the last opportunity to create artwork under the guidance of some fantastic mentors and peers. In fact, for many students not pursuing art careers, senior spring can be the last opportunity to create artwork at all. Since art is so prominent at Milton, I decided to interview a few seniors about their experiences creating a senior art project.
Avery Park (I) painted portraits of each of her three siblings and of herself for her senior project. Like many students at Milton, she didn’t have enough time in her academic schedule to take an art course and hadn’t taken an art course since freshman year. Though the requirement for doing an art senior project is to have taken an advanced art course, Park obtained permission from Ms. Hughes by practicing the techniques with Ms. Swain throughout the winter. Park said Ms. Swain was “really helpful” in the process, and that the whole project has taught her how to paint: an experience that she was grateful for, considering Park “[doesn’t] think [she] will be doing much art after high school.” Park’s pieces were displayed at the senior project fair.
Juan Diego “JD” Jaramillo (I) composed music for a gallery for his senior project. The gallery’s theme is capitalism, consisting of music, writing, and paintings created by JD and other seniors. JD decided to participate in a group senior project because he “thought it would be great to have a large collaborative art project” and chose to compose because senior art projects require a moderate amount of experience with the art form of choice. The process is meant to expand upon skills that already exist, and “[sponsors] won’t let you learn a new art form” for a project. Though JD already had experience with composing, “a big part of [his] project [was] learning to use musical software and a keyboard that [he] bought.” Aside from working with other members of his group, he also worked with mentor Larry Pollans, the Modern World and Art History teacher, who JD says, “is very knowledgeable about contemporary art and is a great person to bounce ideas off of.” Besides improving his skills with the art form, a bigger lesson JD learned is that “collaborating with people can be tough” and that “identifying the end goal and how you’ll get there is key at the beginning of a collaboration.” The gallery was displayed in the basement of the AMC.
Rika Ichinose (I) made a set of ceramic pieces “inspired by the typical Japanese pottery style, which is rooted in the beauty of nature.” Coming from a Japanese household, Rika was inspired to make a full tea set to honor the daily custom of families drinking tea together and “added a sake set, vases, and ramen bowls” to enhance the project. While Rika had taken ceramics for two years and didn’t struggle with creating the fundamental structures of her pieces, she “did need to practice making the smaller details [she’d] never paid attention to before.” She received guidance from Mr. Menneg and worked with her peer David Jones (I) throughout the process. On Mother’s Day, Rika served a five course dinner to her mother on the finished products. Thinking back, Rika admits that while her project was enjoyable, her “perfectionism and impatience is not compatible with ceramics” and concludes that “ceramics is not for [her].” On the bright side, Rika knows that she can focus on new, more fulfilling ventures during her gap year and in college.
Brian Kim (I) painted portraits of his parents, JD Jaramillo, and Mr. Pollans for his senior project. He chose the project because he had “never painted, drawn or made art related to the human form and portrait,” so he decided to try it out. Through the process, Kim learned that “people who paint for a lifetime have a lot more patience than [he]” and added that painting people is as difficult as he’d expected. Overall, he’s grateful that for the duration of the project he “got to do what [he] loves to do everyday, on [his] own schedule, without being graded or anything” and jokingly remarked that “the only thing on the line is [his] diploma.” Kim’s pieces were displayed at the senior project fair.
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