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The City Journals

Student-artists ‘brush up’ at annual high school art show

May 07, 2018 03:11PM ● By Julie Slama

“Black Diamond” by senior Beck Seamons was one of six pieces on display at the 46th annual Utah High School Art Show by Corner Canyon High students. (Beck Seamons/Corner Canyon High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Corner Canyon senior Beck Seamons is putting together his AP 2D design art portfolio, but he had to wait until after the Springville Museum of Art was done displaying one of his pieces, “Black Diamond.”

His artwork, along with pieces by four other Corner Canyon students, recently was showcased in the 46th annual Utah High School Art Show.

“There were about 35 AP students who submitted their work, which was just amazing, and then our teachers narrowed it to a smaller group that was submitted to Springville,” Seamons said. The school’s 16 entries were added to the more than 1,000 submissions statewide. “It’s just amazing that we’ve done so well. I was way excited. It’s really cool.”

In addition to Seamons, who was named jurors’ honorable mention, were five other Corner Canyon students whose artwork was displayed: senior McClain King, whose piece was selected as a congressional winner and will hang in the U.S. Capitol; junior Morgan Hart, who received the third congressional district honorable mention for her piece, “Ski Head;” junior Elenor Larson; and junior Lauren Wilson. The six had pieces amongst the 300 on display, with Larson displaying two.

The Springville show is a juried art show that reviews original artwork developed from personal experience, imagination or direct observation. They can also use adapted concepts developed from other sources using multiple elements or photos with personal interpretation to create a new perception.

King, who created a two-foot by three-foot acrylic called “Pulling Teeth,” said this was not only her first large scale painting she has taken seriously, but also her first submission into an art show. The piece, which took her about 40 hours to complete, shows three teeth in between bees with gold halos. 

“It’s a symbolic piece that shows the ideals of beauty and how youth try to be a certain way to become more accepted,” she said. “It’s like a queen bee over a hive and all the other bees will follow her. I used to pull my teeth out when I was little because I wanted them for the tooth fairy and I wanted a way to change myself to become someone I wasn’t. I liked the creative process with it. I thought I had a plan that I felt secure and confident in, but it kept changing as I went along and I love it even more.”

King’s painting, along with 25 others that may have had other symbolic messages, were selected to travel throughout Utah museums and art shows as well as be displayed in the nation’s capitol until 2019.

“It was pretty exciting to learn my piece was selected. I’m still waiting to learn more about the schedule, but I’m sure if there is an unveiling, my family will buy plane tickets to go there before I even know about it. They’re very supportive,” she said.

King, who may pursue graphic art or psychology at Utah State University next year, said art has given her a place to be comfortable at in high school.

“I learned art has given me a sense of purpose and a community of people I’m comfortable with. With art, there’s no rules and when I’m done, I have a piece that I can show and it’s very awesome,” she said.

Seamons also was pleased with the outcome of his digital artwork, which he described as a “cartoon picture of a guy skiing.” The piece shows trees in the background and the downhill skier moving so fast his red scarf is blowing in the wind.

“I had to experiment with a lot of curvy lines and textures,” Seamons said. “The guy’s coat and beanie are like watercolor so I had to use high-quality watercolor scans that I put over shapes.”

He said that by using a clipping mask, a group of layers to which a mask is applied, it allowed the base layer to define the boundaries for his artwork.

“It took a bit to experiment, but it turned out awesome,” he said. “I like to use different tools. I’ve watched some YouTube tutorials and have downloaded different textures. I like to doodle and so I based my work off of that.”

Although the former junior class president and current PTSA activities vice president and mountain bike captain doesn’t anticipate a career in graphic art, he has used his talent to help create tickets and posters for a school fundraising campaign, prom, homecoming and other school dances

“There’s a lot of application were I can use my artwork, so it’s been great to learn so many tools and techniques,” he said.

Seamons also was honored at the state capitol, where he “met a ton of officials including the lieutenant governor (Spencer Cox) and Senator Orrin Hatch,” who acknowledged the student-artists and had legislators clap for them. 

“I thought it was cool that my piece was selected and I’d get a handshake. To receive an award and shake hands and meet all these people, it has been an awesome experience,” he said.