More than a Doodle: Artists Explore their Creations

For several local artists, students and teachers, art can provide many things, each piece having a special meaning and bringing something unique to their lives.

Digital artist, sophomore Eve Wongk, uses art for self-expression, making characters and occasional comics, channeling emotions and for relaxing. Wongk started drawing after television shows (for example “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show”) inspired them to create their own stories. In the future, animation is something they have considered for a career.

“If I’m to express myself, I like to draw myself but as a person I would like to see myself as in like, a few years from now. I normally do this when I’m feeling down and I want to bring myself up.  I like to take randomness into the factor feeling. I could be a person; I could be a cat,” Wongk said.

Senior Tatiana Santiago says she also uses art to express emotions and finds that drawing affects how she feels.

“Sometimes I’ll draw what I want to feel in some way. It’s an interesting thing that I realized I’ve been doing. If I draw this person being happy, it makes me happy because in a way I made someone happy,” Santiago said.

Santiago enjoys drawing characters, both her own and some from television and video games and she describes her art style as a mixture of anime and Western cartoons.

“It’s something I can’t do, but I love drawing [action]. It’s very interesting to me.  I’m starting to get into [drawing] with markers, learning to mix them and it’s so fun but it’s so hard to do,” Santiago said.

Santiago currently has a YouTube channel called “Steph&Nana Case,” where she posts videos with her cousin and draws her characters or fan characters while music plays in the background. The videos track how Santiago’s art style has progressed over time.

For junior Uche Obi-Iwuagwu, art is not her primary hobby, but drawing is still something she enjoys.

“Art is not the main thing for me; it’s just something I like to do because I’m creative. I honestly cannot remember what made me start drawing. It’s just something I do when I’m bored. I probably started when I was like 11,” Obi-Iwuagwu said.

Obi-Iwuagwu enjoys capturing emotions through drawing human eyes and has also tried painting.

“I like drawing like the image of an eye. For me it just means that you can read a person’s emotions if you pay attention to their eyes. I’ve tried painting before. It wasn’t perfect but it was cute,” Obi-Iwuagwu said.

Though art is not a main pursuit for Obi-Iwuagwu, she says she will definitely continue drawing in her free time.

Grace Nirschl, one of the building’s designated substitutes, has been “arting”, as she calls it, her entire life. During college, she did not pursue art, but continued painting on the side.

“I just took art for granted because it was just a part of me which is normal. So, when I turned 30, I took a watercolor class and fell in love. I kind of felt like a fish who just found water,” Nirschl said.

Nirschl’s paintings are abstract; pets, flowers and music her subjects. Her splashy paintings include bright contrasting colors, distinct shapes crossing the canvas and often, dogs with sunglasses.

“I want to do it creatively and abstractly, without losing control of it. Oh, without going too much. So, it’s a real balancing act. It’s very exciting. I’ve got adrenaline going [on inside]. There’s that extreme art [element],” Nirschl said.

In contrast, Wongk feels quite relaxed. When they draw, the “creative juices are flowing,” Wongk said.

“When I’m putting pencil to paper, or in my case pen to screen, and see the individual strokes that go into a piece, it’s very calming knowing that I am making something that eventually people will appreciate,” Wongk said.

Santiago’s emotions during the middle of drawing can be related to a feeling of purpose and fulfillment.

“When I’m making [art], I just feel like that’s where I’m meant to be, I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do; that’s all I want to do,” Santiago said.

Obi-Iwuagwu enjoys art for its stress-relieving qualities.

“I like doing it because it makes me relaxed. It’s like a time where I just forget all that I’m stressed about. When I look at a finished work, in my head I’m just like, ‘Woah, did I make that?’” Obi-Iwuagwu said.

At the end of a drawing, artists may struggle to be satisfied with their work. Wongk says that when they look back on their art, it can be hard to see what they like about it.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t realize how good they are at drawing when they really are because they focus too much on the bad things. Like if you just finished a big piece that has a lot of different components, you should feel good about that,” Wongk said.

Nirschl says that when people compliment your artwork, you should just let them love it.

“Let others love your art if they choose to. Don’t interrupt the message that you’re painting, that your art or that your work has given its viewer by criticizing [it]. Just let people love it,” Nirschl said.