Students Work on Portfolios in AP Studio Art & Design Class

Nico Vargish

Dreams, religious architecture, nostalgia, summer in Maine…

Those are some of the themes that Briarcliff High School students in Roxanne Ritacco’s AP Studio Art & Design class are exploring in their work as they put together a portfolio.

Students are required to submit 15 works of art during the first week of May and can choose themes from a list, or create their own.

Several students in the class discussed the themes and some of the paintings that will be included in their portfolios.

Senior Nico Vargish chose “nostalgia” for her theme.

“I did a painting based on a photo of me on my second birthday – I had just gotten a Harley Davidson kiddie bike with pedals,” she said. “I wanted to use a style that would kind of show that a child was doing the painting, a little bit like Keith Haring, with outlines. I was also inspired by Basquiat. Being a senior, I have reflected a lot about where I have come from and about my family, so I wanted to explore the emotions of growing up and looking back at those feelings.”

Paul Torosian

Senior Bailey Apter’s theme is “where grief and love intertwine.”

“This painting represents the animals that I have lost,” she said. “I painted a corner of the mud room in my house, with a collar and a sunflower. The collar belonged to my dog, Riley, who passed away a year ago. The sunflower represents my cat Sunny, who was named after a sunflower and also passed away. The window looking out into the sunset is of my back yard, but it doesn’t actually exist in the mudroom. I added it to tie in with the collar; on the last day before Riley passed away, we took her to see the sunset. I always look at the sunset to remember her.”

Senior Diana Jones’s theme is “summer in Maine.”

“My theme centers around the nature in Maine, which is where I grew up most summers,” she said. “I have been exploring the emotions that I have felt there, and especially how serene it is outside. My paintings explore the feelings that I have when I am there. One of my paintings is of me canoeing on the open water, which is where I feel most relaxed. I also did a painting of a waterfall I have visited over the summer. I am currently creating a beach collage with poems by Joan Didion.”

Like Nico, Senior Sora Marable also selected “nostalgia” as her theme.

“My painting is based on a photograph of me as a baby,” she said. “I really liked the emotion on my face – it’s very animated. I made up the background, but it’s based on a fabric I saw in another picture, and it just makes me feel very calm. I also like to incorporate roses in my artwork. It’s my birth flower and also a theme that runs in my family – almost everyone grows roses in their garden.”

Senior Allison Chu is taking the class for the second time. Her theme is “dreams and the unconscious.”

“I haven’t fully developed my theme yet, but I want to explore the concept of what dreams are, in general,” she said. “This painting is a self-portrait. I wanted to show the feelings you have when you are dreaming, or when you are slipping into the unconscious.”

Paul Torosian, the only junior in the class, chose religious architecture as his theme.

“I like painting churches because they often have more details in the architecture,” he said. “I used tissue paper and water color to create a mixed media of a church.”

“The students will have to write extensively about the process and about exploring different concepts and taking risks,” Ritacco said. “They are developing an investigation series through their artwork.”

Keep your eyes out for the Art Show, later this year, where the students will showcase their entire portfolios.

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