Profiles in student art: ‘Being an artist means enjoying what you do’

As we prepare for our Annual High School Student Exhibit, opening March 18 in our farmhouse, we’ll be profiling some of the amazing young artists whose work will be on display.

With March being Youth Art Month, we’re excited to not only showcase some of the talent in our area but to support quality visual arts education programs as essential to developing well-rounded critical and creative thinkers for the 21st-century.

Amanda created this piece with fine point black and gold gel markers

Amanda created this piece with fine point black and gold gel markers

First up in our blog series is Upper Moreland High School senior Amanda Zurybida. A student in Alex Pinguli’s AP studio art class, the 17-year-old has been doodling, drawing and coloring since she was a tot.

Creative seeds: “My parents were always giving me pencils, crayons and paper. My dad, he did art in high school and college. He would bring me home coloring books, sketch books… I remember seeing his sketchbooks, and this superhero that he drew coming out of a toothpaste tube. He helped me understand a lot of stuff at a very early age.”

An architectural rendering in color pencils

An architectural rendering in color pencils

Future potential: “In seventh grade, we had to do these Peace Posters for Acceptance Day. Everyone was drawing flags from around the world. I thought, ‘I have this really cool idea.’ I remember I wanted to show different cultures, so I added faces instead.”

Art allows me to express…“things I’m thinking about that I can’t put into words — stories, emotions, thoughts. Personally, I don’t think I’m good at words. I’m better at expressing my thoughts through drawing.”

Favorite medium: pencil and acrylic. “With pencil, I like how precise I can be and how detailed I can get. With acrylic, I like the messiness and the opportunity I have to explore. You don’t have to erase. You can just layer.”

Everywhere, inspiration: “I try to find inspiration in everything, every day — a shadow a branch makes, a person walking by and what their hair looks like…I’m really interested in the modern and neofuturistic aspects of architecture and using modern buildings for my own inspiration and ideas.”

Architectural influences: Zaha Hadid (Pierresvives in Montpellier, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan), Adrian Smith (Burj Khalifa in Dubai), Frank Lloyd Wright

Amanda began this piece as a sketch of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water, before moving to chalk pastels and ultimately acrylics.

Amanda began this piece as a sketch of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, before moving to chalk pastels and ultimately acrylics.

A moment of zen: “With art, some people think, ‘Oh, those kids are just playing around…’ I think it’s a way to relieve stress and also a way to get emotions out and open up the mind and have a way to not think about anything except what I’m working on. Being an artist means enjoying what you do…If something else motivates you, that’s fine, but when you’re working on your art, in that moment, it’s all that matters.”

A work in pencil

A work in pencil

Forever her champion: “My grandfather — he comes to all my art shows. He always asks what new piece I’m working on, gives criticism if I ask for it. He has pieces of my artwork in his house. Even when I don’t like my work, he’ll point out parts of it that he likes.”

Creativity recharged: “If I’m feeling stuck and I’m in class, I will do research or something else. If I’m at home and I want to draw, I just look around and find something to draw… I talk to my mom a lot about this. It’s good because she’ll say, ‘Here, draw this bowl of fruit.’ I think, ‘I don’t want to draw a bowl of fruit. I’ll do this instead.’

Future plans: Amanda will start at Drexel University in the fall as a civil engineering major. “I love the idea of remodeling houses, designing bridges and other buildings. I don’t see myself losing a passion for art or losing my inspiration. I may not be doing it everyday but I’ll still always want to do it.”