Senior places first in ‘To Be Honest’ fall art contest 

April 3, 2023 — by Leyna Chan and Natalie Chua
Courtesy of Apoorva Talwalkar
The piece creatively encapsulates her many passions and priorities.
Apoorva Talwalkar documents and expresses her athletic journey through traditional artworks.

On Nov. 18, senior Apoorva Talwalkar submitted her art piece to the “To Be Honest” Art Competition, a Santa Clara county-wide contest about artists’ experiences in mental health.

In January, she learned she had won first place. 

The graphite and colored pencil piece she submitted to the contest was originally made for her AP portfolio, which was inspired by her athletic journey as a fencer. For the contest, she edited the piece to better align with the theme of “A Walk In My Shoes” by drawing her interests and goals on her shoes, like fencing, traveling and graduating.

“I need to be able to submit pieces about myself and make it personal, even though I know somebody on the other end might not know me,” Talwalkar said.

 Her art style leans toward photorealism, or what she endearingly calls “perfectionist drawings.” Before drawing, she uses reference photos online to help her draw realistically by examining their poses.  

“This helps with mimicking realistic lighting and shadows. Then I sketch out the piece and spend a lot of time with the reference adding detail and blocking out the shadows and nuances of the pieces,” Talwalker said.

Growing up, she honed her skill through observational drawings, where she’d draw what she saw. As a result, she developed an appreciation for the intricacy that art and graphite can achieve.

“My favorite medium is graphite because I can put a lot of detail in every inch of the piece using graphite rather than paint,” Talwalkar said.

Talwalker began drawing recreationally from a young age and said she especially looks up to her grandfather, who is an artist himself. Talwalkar said he would always encourage her to doodle and sketch in her free time. 

“I only took my first real art class in ninth grade with [former art teacher Diana Vanry], and I gained a lot of skills in that short amount of time,” Talwalkar said.

Currently, she is enrolled in Joel Tarbox’s Art 4 Honors class and has taken AP 2-D Art and Design outside of school. 

In approaching the competition’s prompt, “A Walk in My Shoes,” she drew a connection between the theme and the imagery of her original illustration. Talwalkar noted that the depiction of herself stretching with the sole of her shoe facing the viewer aligns with the prompt both literally and metaphorically.

“The shoe represents my interests and the guiding forces of my life. It shows what I’m interested in, what I’m passionate about, and my journey so far,” Talwalkar said. 

She said the ability to submit works to such competitions and confidently express oneself is part of being an artist.  

In the future, Talwalkar hopes to explore art more as a personal interest and to share her creativity through such competitions and showcases.

“Art is therapeutic for me, and I’ve seen its benefits in my life. Further on, I hope to develop the emotions and techniques of my artistic expression,” Talwalkar said.

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