NSHSS’s first Visual Arts Competition drew more than 400 entries encompassing painting, ceramics, glass, sculpture, mixed media, printmaking, weaving, digital and 35mm photography. Submissions were judged on originality, understanding and application of visual arts elements, technical mastery, critical thinking and problem-solving, and emotional impact. Each first place winner received a $1,000 cash prize. Second place winners received $500 and third place winners $250.
1st prize: Saya Nassyr, Franklin Square, NY, “Game of Shadows”
Saya Nassyr, a 2015 graduate of Design-Architecture High School in Miami, Florida, won first-place in painting and mixed media for her composition “Game of Shadows.” In her artist statement, Nassyr explained the thought process behind her work. “I am an artist who records people’s feelings and dreams, life of the cities and the beauty of nature. . . I believe that everything is interconnected in this world from what we see every day in our lives to what we accept as a fantasy or dream.” Using many contrasting colors, the piece conveys a mysterious and surrealist quality. Judges praised her unique concept, technical skill and ability to articulate her intentions and the meaning she sought to convey.
2nd prize: Taylor Young, Old Lyme, CT, “Jane”
Taylor Young, a 2015 graduate of Northwestern Regional High School in Old Lyme, Connecticut, won second place with this piece titled, "Jane". Young explains, "My work is inspired by artists such as Sargent and Laszlo. I created this portrait through my own invention, making it up as I go. With this painting and many other portraits that I do, I like to leave mystery and elegance within the faces and clothing of the individuals that I paint."
3rd prize: Christian Zelaya, Piscataway, NJ, “Brought to Life”
Christian Zelaya, a 2015 graduate of Piscataway Township High School in Piscataway, New Jersey, won third place with this piece titled “Brought to Life.” Zelaya explains, "The work combines colored and graphite pencils. I meant to create contrast between the two. The work was inspired by the model. She originally looked serious but began laughing as I took her picture. I wanted to emphasize her happiness and that could not be done if I just used one media. The color stands out greatly against the graphite. The background also wraps around her face further emphasizing her expression."
1st prize: Nicole Campbell, “Mother Nature”
Reflecting on the destructive forces destroying our world, Nicole Campbell captured first place in the photography category for her digital photograph entitled “Mother Nature.” Combining black and white images with strategically placed color elements, the work offers a stark vision of environmental catastrophe. As one judge said, “it contains an element of honest sincerity, an almost pleading message, to today’s humanity to wake up, pay attention, before it’s too late to change.” Ms. Campbell graduated in 2015 from New Hyde Park Memorial Junior Senior High School and is currently a student at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.
2nd prize: Alondar Aguilar, Vernon Hills, IL, “Along the Way”
Alondora Alguilar, a 2015 graduate of Vernon Hills High School won second place with this piece titled "Along the Way." Aguilar explains, "What inspired me to do my piece of work was that I have been going through some obstacles in my life at the moment, and it made me think of expressing my emotions through this. It was created by taking a close up picture of my sister's eye–I couldn't get a good close up of my own–and then I looked through other pictures I have taken previously. I found a picture that I took a picture of a place in Mexico when we went last year to. I cropped it and made it fit into the iris of the eye, after I edited the picture to fit my mood and negativity around me. My intent to this was to iluminate the message of getting to where you want to be, regardless of the downfalls and negativity that one may recieve. I know how it feels like to be living in an atmosphere where all you hear about your dreams is doubt and this weight seems to pile on, so much that it starts to becomes like a dark pit. I want people to look at this and really think about how every mountain they are coming across they should take those things and think of it being an obstacle course; keep going to your goal even after everything comes at you. All of the things that come in your life may be difficult, but it only builds your ambition to really get what you want to be or where you want to go and succeed."
3rd prize: Racel Borisko, Atkinson, NH, “Mine?”
Rachel Borisko, a 2015 graduate of Timberlane High School in Atkinson, New Hampshire, won third place with this piece titled "Mine?" Borisko explains, "I took this photo while I was at the beach one afternoon, exploring the area, and it really captured the relationship that a predator has with its prey. While the title is a little more lighthearted, the picture shows the true circle of life, and the struggle that animals must overcome or succumb to on a daily basis. The image invokes people to take on the view of both the gull and the crab in this snapshot of life."