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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

FHC artists are breaking reality and painting their own paradise

Art done by (from left to right) Yasmin Tomaz, Alex Fletcher, Jake Barnes

Throughout the halls of FHC, there are many talents and passions among the students. One interest that is constant in the lives of many students is something they have been doing since they were little: art.

Drawing, painting, and designing are ways many students can express themselves. 

For sophomore Yasmin Tomaz, art is a huge backbone of her personality and has shaped her into the person she is today. She has been doing art since she could first hold a crayon; she started to develop her skills around four to five years old.  

Yasmin Tomaz
Yasmin Tomaz

Yasmin has painted and drawn a plethora of pieces in her lifetime. Seeing older kids’ art inspired her to start creating her own.  For her, art has helped her find an escape from her everyday life.

“It’s always been an escape or safe place for me to be able to express myself without feeling like I’m being judged,” Yasmin said. “And the best part about it is that a blank canvas or a piece of paper is like a whole new world that I can turn into whatever I want it to be.”

One piece that has shaped her into the artist she is today is her first ever monochromatic semi-realistic self-portrait that she created two years ago. 

“It’s not my best piece, but what I like about it is it was a huge step from what my art used to be to what it is now,” Yasmin said. “It was like taking a huge step out of my comfort zone; that piece really helped me evolve my art into what it is now.”

I like to see it as a sort of a problem-solving thing, where I see an opportunity for something to be made or made better

— Jake Barnes

In addition to Yazmin, for two AP art students, art has been a vital part of their lives for as long as they can remember. Juniors Alex Fletcher and Jake Barnes have been creating works of art all their lives. They both draw digitally but also enjoy more traditional art like painting and drawing.

Alex Fletcher

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex made a habit of drawing every day to better her art. By doing this, her art skills vastly improved. She started drawing when she was little, and when she was older, comparing her drawings to others encouraged her to keep pursuing art.

“By the time I got to an age where I could work, I would compare myself to other people,” Alex said. “I realized that it was something I was good at because I had been doing it for so long. Then, that fueled me to keep going because it’s something I like and I’m good at.”

Alex enjoys working in a space where she can have noise in the background. She always listens to something while she creates, and depending on what type of piece she is creating, her music will change to match the piece.

Alex Fletcher

“A lot of the times I listen to an audiobook; I like to have some noise,” Alex said. “So I’ll either listen to an audiobook, talk with my friends, or listen to music. The music depends on what type of piece I’m creating. If it’s a sad piece, I’ll listen to sad music. Or, if I’m just creating, I’ll listen to my favorite tunes.”

Creating digitally is another way for students to express themselves. Alex has also drawn using that tool; for Jake Barnes, that’s his medium of choice most days. 

Jake uses digital software for a variety of different tasks including creating logos, making game day posters for sports teams, drawing, and editing photos.

Jake Barnes

He also created the cover of the playbill—The Curious Savage— for the school play. For Jake, art is a way to create something that he feels needs to be made and is a way to improve something already made.

“I like to see it as a sort of a problem-solving thing where I see an opportunity for something to be made or made better,” Jake said. “I like to tackle that and use a skill that I’ve been developing to make something that I feel like should be made.”

Jake Barnes

Jake’s ideal atmosphere involves always having natural light. He needs the windows open, regardless of what the weather is like outside. He loves to be either in the art studio or in his room and enjoys listening to jazz music while he creates.

With years of creating, these artists have obtained plenty of advice for others who want to try and get better at art. Each of them has shared advice that they would give to people wanting to get better at art and ways they have improved themselves.

“Take more classes; those have always helped me,” Alex said. “Also, just get a piece of paper and a pencil and go at it. Listen to music; that always helps me feel inspired, but draw what you see, what you want, [and] draw your favorite things.”

Jake agrees with Alex—as long as you can get something down on anything, that’s a great start.

“Explore your opportunities,” Jake said. “It’s okay to focus on one area of work that you want to do, or experiment with a lot of different things. The more you can get out there and put stuff down on paper, an iPad, or a screen.”

Yasmin encourages all to not be disappointed if the piece doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to, but to keep trying.

“Don’t be hard on yourself,” Yasmin said. “You’re not going to immediately make a masterpiece, but instead, you will grow and develop as an artist over time. And remember, you won’t always be proud of every piece you make; don’t beat yourself up for that. Instead, embrace the fact that you tried and move on.”

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About the Contributor
Autumn VanSolkema, Staff Writer
Autumn is a junior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She loves a good romance novel, but loves her corgi more. If she is not belting out Taylor Swift songs, she is teaching herself new songs on the guitar or ukulele. You can find her cheering on the sidelines of football games or coaching her little fourth-grade cheer team. Autumn has grown up loving the theatre, being both on the stage and in the audience. She has performed in many shows and regularly begs her parents to take her to New York again to see more Broadway productions. Autumn is an avid photographer, with her camera roll being filled with 19k+ photos over the last two years. Her least favorite things in the world: Balloons and Styrofoam. Her favorite musicalsWaitress and Mamma Mia Number of surgeries she's had: 7 Her favorite condiments: Mayo and Ranch Favorite season: Just like her name, it's autumn

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