Less than forty miles from Canyon Crest Academy, a high school in San Diego, California, is a large metal fence full of multiple meanings that separates San Diego and its Mexican neighbors. When Angela Jackson, the visual art teacher at CCA, came across EAS's open call for our first online show, she found the theme of “Crossing Borders” particularly relevant for the students in her Advanced Painting class. In addition to a geographic concept of a border, students approached the theme with a variety of interpretations ranging from migration to the subconscious mind. The diversity of their responses to Crossing Borders resulted in an impressive display of artistic technique and approach.
Due to the unique nature of their submissions, EAS is featuring all of these high school students' work as a Class Project. We've included a few highlights below, but be sure to check out the Gallery to view the entire class's submissions.
"The brilliance of the human mind can journey to any realm. The greatest benefit of being human is not only the ability to dream, but also to recognize occurrences of dreams. In dreams we are able to venture wherever we choose, crossing whatever borders we see fit. I wanted to portray the idea that the mind can take a person to multiple realms, but it is circumstantial, relying on emotions and experiences."
Megan Goyette, Woman at Work (2012) Acrylic, 14" x 11"
My piece depicts a woman in the 1940's who has begun working in a factory to take the place of the men whom went to fight overseas. I chose this because I find this to be an intriguing period in history. Women crossed many borders and joined the workforce, proving to society that women are a valuable source of labor. They opened doors to generations of women to come.
Laury Monk, neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman created for the man. corinthians 11:7-9 (2012) Mixed Media
This piece not only stands for the struggles women have with-gone throughout history to break away from their lack of rights and cross the borders of a male dominant society but also the constant battle against the all too prevalent depiction of women as sexual objects in the media today. The floating circles in this piece exemplify this sexual objectification of women as they mirror the contours of the depicted woman in this artwork.
Audrey Gascho, Connection (2012) Mixed Media, 24" x 18"
"Crossing borders is an extremely complex, yet notably simple concept. However, it can be fairly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it firsthand. Before I travelled to the Dominican Republic this summer, I was one of those people. My perception of “crossing a border” consisted of immersion into a new experience and entering into a different realm of culture. I was not entirely incorrect, but my concept lacked the genuine depth that crossing a border holds. Upon interacting with the Dominican people, this profoundness became clear as day to me; crossing borders is not just experiencing something physically in a new environment, but evolving into a neoteric mindset. This distinct transformation of perspective is where the concept grows inherently more complex, and only by connecting with other members of humanity can one can fully understand it. While I was on the trip, I was privileged to experience this emotional aspect by relating to the Dominican people despite barriers of language, culture, and lifestyle."
Jennifer Fisher, Home (2012) Mixed Media, 24" x 11"
Ellis Island is an obvious landmark expressing freedom, or a change in an individual’s life. For instance, my great- great grandfather arrived in Ellis Island after a long journey he had in Poland. It was the gate to a new beginning and Ellis Island changed the lives of many. In my painting I decided to portray a couple and their child on a boat leading into New York. These people are not only crossing the border literally into a new country but also psychologically starting new beginnings with new futures.
Laura Wahr, Hope Rising (2012) Mixed Media
I chose to paint the Berlin Wall for the Crossing Borders project because it represents my family heritage. I became intrigued with the connections between past and present, as well as the role that history plays in shaping humanity. Hearing of the personal struggles that many people experienced in East Germany during the Cold War, I became inspired to create a piece of art expressing the hopes and dreams of those who lived on the East side of the border during an age of uncertainty and oppression. The Berlin Wall separated East and West Berlin for almost 30 years. East Berlin was under the Communist regime at the time, and many people in the East lost their lives attempting to escape to the free West. My image shows the graffiti that covered the West side of the Berlin Wall, where many people painted images of peace and liberty. Thus, hoping to bring an end to the dictatorship in East Germany. This piece represents what those hoping for freedom dreamed of. It depicts the slow demise of the Wall as the sun rises, bringing hope to all of those longing for freedom.
Keelan Smith, Closed Light (2012) Acrylic
"When a person crosses a border, he or she steps into a completely different world that's unusual to them. But some people
really like who they are as a person. They don't need to change because it is untrue to the person they have become. To show how some people refuse change, I created this painting to exagerate the emotion. The island is the boy's home. Being there defines him for who he really is and is more comfortable for him. But when given the option to see what else is out there, he refuses with great anger. By separating him from the rest of the world with a big wall of flames, he won't cross the border and will stay true to whom he really is."
Steven Bell, DragonEye (2012) Acrylic, 14" x 11"
The eye is the key to a deeper, and truer bit of ourselves. This eye is partly gray scaled representing the deceptive shell that we as humans put forth to hide our true feelings and personalities away. The colored part is the emerging truth revealed by seeing, and understanding the deeper feelings of this being. This being is a dragon because I have a personal amazement with these mythical creatures. They are intelligent and capable of human emotions. I have loved them since I was little and they inspire me in most of my art whether or not they are the actual subject matter. This relates to crossing borders because the color represents the "crossing over" into the soul beyond the outward shell, or border.
Michelle Pelowski, Changing Accessories (2012) Watercolor
"This painting shows the idea of making life changes and doing unexpected things through an illustrative way and concept. Everyone knows the Little Old Lady as living in a shoe. Her move into a hat symbolizes her huge life change as she "crosses borders" into an unexpected realm. The idea that she is moving from a shoe to a hat also symbolizes moving up in life."
To view more work of Canyon Crest Academy students, please visit our Gallery
Angela Jackson is a mixed media contemporary artist who has taught visual art at Canyon Crest Academy for over six years. She has participated in many group shows in the United States. She lives and works in North County, San Diego. She believes that in many ways, her students are in the midst of their own border crossing, with many having one foot slipping out into the real world and one foot still entrenched in childhood.
Canyon Crest Academy is a comprehensive public high school in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego. Founded with a strong belief in the arts, CCA is now in its ninth year and commits to providing positive, meaningful and rigorous learning experiences that promote the intellectual, social, physical and creative development of students.
ENVISION, The Arts at Canyon Crest Academy, encompasses all of the Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) courses offered at Canyon Crest Academy. ENVISION is a unique arts program that utilizes working artists as instructors.
Class Projects are offered to interested teachers or students who have a cohesive set of work they want to feature. If you are interested in submitting a class project, please contact our Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
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