The arts give people the opportunity and outlook to express their imaginative skills through sculpture, painting, and dance. For art teacher Mr. Fewell, he conveys his emotions primarily through the realm of painting, drawing, and illustration.
He has spent his years creating and designing pieces of art that project his true self to the world. Although he has a soft spot for drawing and painting, Mr. Fewell keeps an open mind about different types of arts and is willing to learn about how his students and peers express themselves.
“The painting, drawing, and illustration classes lineup the best with my expertise and knowledge,” said Mr. Fewell, who is in his second year teaching at FHC. “However, I love to learn and do more things like sculpture and photography: things that maybe five or six years ago were maybe not in my wheelhouse, and I’ve loved the experience of growing into a teacher that has to teach those things.”
Since Mr. Fewell is somewhat of a new face at FHC, he is continuously studying new techniques to better his students’ knowledge and passion on the art world as a whole. Although as he is finding new ways for his students to express themselves through the arts, he has also found different ways to reveal his true abilities.
Mr.Fewell finds himself learning from his own teaching. Teaching has shifted his perception on different art topics, and it subconsciously works its way into his art processes and techniques.
“Getting to teach students is always nice and helpful,” Mr. Fewell said, “because, honestly, teaching can help you learn new ways to approach things that you wouldn’t have from just receiving information, so being a teacher has also helped expand my art knowledge.”
Even though teaching his students has taught him many techniques, he has also learned a lot from his peers and colleagues. Art has been an eminent part of his life, and his high school and college friends undoubtedly had an impact on him pursuing his true passion.
“[Art] started to become something I seriously considered pursuing my freshman year of high school,” Mr. Fewell said. “I went into college intending to be an artist, and I work as a contracting artist outside of school. I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside other working artists for most of my adult life which is obviously a huge benefit for me being able to work and see each other’s work and benefit from it.”
Mr. Fewell’s students have noticed that his constant teaching and constructive criticism has overall helped them improve their department of expertise. Senior Isabella Notarnicola has been given new opportunities to further and improve her artistic abilities. She focuses her creative energy in the same area as Mr. Fewell: drawing, painting, and illustration.
“Mr. Fewell’s presence at FHC has definitely helped the art program overall,” Isabella said. “The way he runs the program here has, I think, made all of his students, including me, better artists.”
Though Mr. Fewell has played a role in the improvement of Isabella’s art pieces, the impact that art has had on her life has given her the determination and drive to better her abilities through self-improvement. Isabella focuses a lot of time on her passion, which in turn, has made her a better artist overall.
“Art has always played a huge role in my life, and I honestly don’t know what I would do with my time without it,” Isabella said. “It’s not just another elective class I take at school; it’s something that I’m serious about and may pursue.”
Over the years, Isabella has created many different art pieces all of which resonate with a different part of her life. Each piece she creates, she creates with purpose and meaning. There is not one piece of art that means more to her than another because she consistently puts forth her best efforts into every drawing and painting.
“Picking a favorite is so difficult,” Isabella said. “The way an art piece looks doesn’t make it my favorite or least favorite; it’s more about the process. I find that the artwork I enjoy making the most is the artwork I end up like the most no matter how it turns out.”
Unlike Isabella, Mr.Fewell has had an art piece that has been a consistent favorite of his for a number of years.
“It is very hard for me to just pick one favorite, but the artwork I made when I graduated that was exhibited in our student gallery was definitely one of my top picks,” Mr. Fewell said. “I made a wall sign drawing that was a conglomeration of lots of portraits and faces of people in my life: different relationships, acquaintances, colleagues, friends, family. I titled the piece Corpus which is Latin for body, and the piece as a whole represented the body and the people that lead you to where you are in life.”
Both Fewell and Isabella express themselves through drawing and painting; however, there are other ways that people can express their creativity. For junior Molly Vonk, she conveys her love and passion for art through dance.
Molly has spent most of her life pursuing her dream of dance, and it is one of the only arts that includes a complete concentration of the mind, body, and soul. Though dance is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the arts, Molly believes otherwise.
“I feel like everyone needs a space where they can just let out all of their emotions and forget about their problems,” Molly said. “The dance studio is that place for me. I leave dance class feeling better about everything I go through because I dance through those emotions: I leave it all on the floor.”
Regardless of the different form of art that dance is, Molly still has taken part in pieces that convey a deeper meaning than most. She isn’t the one creating her dances like artists create their own artwork, so it is sometimes harder for her to relate to the piece she is dancing in. However, there is one piece in particular that she holds close to her heart.
“The dance that means the most to me is probably the solo I did right before I moved to Michigan,” Molly said. “I feel like that was a really big turning point in my life because of the move and I just related to the dance a lot.”
Molly’s love for dance is prominent in her life every day just like drawing and painting is for Mr. Fewell and Isabella. No matter the type of art, everyone deserves a safe place to express their emotions.
“Even though the art that I pursue is dance, I fully support the arts that other people partake in,” Molly said. “It isn’t a matter of what is actually an art and what isn’t; rather, it’s more about how your creative outlook affects your daily life and makes you feel. If it’s your passion, don’t let other people’s opinions affect how you feel about it. Learn to love your strengths.”