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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Four students selected to display their art at ArtNow in the New Museum Los Gatos

Skyler Mao
From top left going clockwise, the artworks of Lee, Pan, Hao, and Wang.

The New Museum of Los Gatos (NUMU) selected 82 submissions from 45 different high schools for its upcoming 2024 ArtNow Exhibition, which starts April 27. Of the 810 total submissions, four Saratoga High School students were selected for the exhibition: sophomore Nicole Hao, junior Melanie Lee, junior Amy Pan and junior Isabelle Wang.

This year’s theme is exploring being “In Transition” from childhood into adulthood. 

Junior Melanie Lee: “Time Carousel”

Courtesy of Melanie Lee

Lee discovered the ArtNow exhibition through online research for art competitions.

“Originally, I wasn’t planning on applying, but my art teacher outside of school said that she saw potential in my piece and encouraged me to put my work to different competitions whether or not I win,” Lee said.

Lee’s submission, titled “Time Carousel,” is a colored pencil composition meant to encapsulate her experiences through the stages of growing. She used vibrant acrylic colors and familiar fairytale-like characters from her childhood to illustrate youthfulness and the cycles of life. The different stages of life are represented by carousel animals in the drawing and symbolize how life is an endless loop.

Said Lee: “I started [the background] as if it’s a full colored pencil drawing, and it was more tedious than I’m used to because you have to layer a lot to make it realistic. It takes a lot of details. Afterwards I used some acrylic paint to fill in some contrast.”

Lee worked on the piece for a month. Although the project was time-consuming due to the number of intricate details, she found the process helped her de-stress and allowed her to reminisce about her childhood. 

“This piece is a part of my general portfolio idea, which is growing up in fairy tales,” Lee said. “The message I want to convey is how our past selves essentially lays the groundwork for the future, and the childhood fairy tales we grew up in translate into who we are through time.”

Junior Isabelle Wang: “Past Reflections”

Courtesy of Isabelle Wang

Wang created a portrait of her current self overlapping with older self, which presents the idea that childhood impacts who we grow up to in teenage years. Her younger self is painted with charcoal, while her older self was painted using acrylic paint.

Her piece is painted on yellowed paper, which depicts the flow of time on her journey of growing up. She used more monotone colors to enhance the nostalgic emotions in the painting. 

“My AP Art teacher [Joel] Tarbox introduced me to the competition, and I immediately found it to be a great fit since I’ve done art on similar themes before,” Wang said. “I worked on the piece for around 10 hours, and I really liked drawing for a concept that I can personally connect to.”

While preparing to draw the piece, she found it very touching and emotional to look at old photos of herself and visibly see the progress of growing up “In Transition.”

“I was very proud when I received the email that I was selected,” Wang said. “The experience of reflecting on my identity and appreciating the journey I grew up in is very meaningful to me.” 

Junior Amy Pan: “Transcend”

Courtesy of Amy Pan

Pan’s artwork, titled “Transcend,” portrays the moment when she realized she had lost the memories of her cherished childhood during her immigration experience. She used acrylic paint for her project.

Positioned in front of windows with curtains blowing in the wind and lively purple butterflies in between, Pan’s self-portrait is half in a dreamy purple and gold color scheme and half in darkness. The painting symbolizes the transformation into the new immigrant life and the loss of connection with her native roots respectively. 

Pan initially discovered the competition through Tarbox. The piece took her around three weeks to complete and was a unique experience for her.

“I focused on a lot of 3D art and haven’t painted for a while before entering the ArtNow competition, and ‘Transcend’ is my first big painting of the year,” Pan said.

The art piece helped Pan reflect on her experience as an immigrant and how the transition affected her as a person.

“The main takeaway from my painting is about transforming adversity into meaning,” Pan said. “I wanted to spread this message to the community.”

Sophomore Nicole Hao: “Mindspace”

Courtesy of Nicole Hao

Hao drew a self-portrait of herself with colored pencils, depicting various elements from her thoughts in the background, such as clocks, a scenic view and distorted shapes.

“I tried to convey my identity and something unique about myself, so along with it being a self portrait, I added several abstract aspects,” Hao said.

Originally, she had spent a month making the piece for a separate art competition but later realized the work’s main theme of identity and growth fit well with the ArtNow competition. 

While creating the artwork, Hao was able to explore unique art decisions that she hadn’t tried before. In the center of the artwork is Hao’s realistic portrait, complete with detailed eyes and wrinkles on her hands. The left side of the page depicts an uncolored, white pile of objects that symbolize little details in her life, including a lamp, clock, robotic arm, desk, volleyball, cat, rolled out alphabet, and other indistinguishable shapes and shadows. 

On the right side of the image, Hao incorporates a more expressive and dreamy color scheme to depict abstract scenes: Simple-geometry-shaped cartoon characters jump around on top of a pink castle; a beautiful lake under sunset surrounded by mountains and forests; and a dimension full of purple flowers and floating chairs and desks. 

She feels proud that this piece reflects both the reality and imagination aspects of her journey growing up, which works really well in capturing and conveying her understanding of self-identity.

“The piece shows my vision of myself as a teenage artist through just one simple self portrait in front of a split background between reality and imagination,” Hao said. “It’s something that’s very personal and unique and is a representation of my worldview.”

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