Art classes exhibit excellence

Students display unique self-portraits


Junior Alyssa Anderson describes the process of watching her self-portrait turn from blur to beauty.

Melody Tian, News Editor

Sitting at an easel and working assiduously on a massive piece of paper, junior Alyssa Anderson creates a self-portrait. The same self-portrait would be displayed in the art gallery during the Upper School Art Exhibition.

From Jan. 18 to Feb. 6, art students had the opportunity to demonstrate what they had learned throughout the course of the year by displaying pieces of art. Not only was it an opportunity for students to take their work outside of the studio and look at it in a new light, but it was also a chance for their pieces to be celebrated.

Though the artworks may have looked like polished creations inside the gallery, Anderson said her creation process was a challenging undertaking that took almost two months. Creating the self-portrait required multiple steps.


First, students had to make their own hats and take a picture with them. Then, they used the black-and-white photos as references for their portraits.

“The hats are cool because sometimes you’re so focused on your face that you lose the ability to see forms,” Studio Art teacher Bobby Weiss said. “The hat takes the stress off of that since it is usually more complicated to do than the face.”

Weiss said students could also take different approaches while making the hat. Some chose to make their hats goofy and fun while others opted to make theirs beautiful and whimsical.

To create her hat, junior Olivia Zambrano first made a chandelier with a kit she bought, then wired crystals and chains onto the chandelier and finally glued candles onto it.

After taking their photos, students were able to get started on their portraits. Instead of starting on a blank canvas, students put a layer of charcoal powder onto their papers and used kneadable erasers to form their shapes with highlighting.

“We really just started out with a blur,” Anderson said. “You look at your paper and all you can see are grays and whites.”

Anderson said the first couple of weeks were really difficult, and sometimes she would have to wipe down everything and restart her whole piece.

“What’s great about the piece is that the surface can handle a lot of abuse,” Weiss said. “Whenever something’s not working, you can just put more charcoal and wipe it down again. Through drawing, redrawing and erasing, you can always get back to those lights.”

Zambrano said she was most proud of the eyes and the small details.

“I redid the eyes like 20 times because they just didn’t look right, but it was definitely a beautiful and nice turnout,” she said.

Weiss said he was excited for everyone to demonstrate their pieces of work even if they were not finished. He said the purpose of the exhibition was to look at where the piece was at the stage of completion it was in.

“The show really is a kind of work-in-progress show, ”Weiss said. “The idea is that anybody can show something
and everything is allowed to be shown.”

He said it also would be a great opportunity to see what everybody else is doing in their classes since it is his first year at Hockaday.

Overall, Anderson said it was a fun and rewarding experience. “My favorite part was just looking at the picture and looking at my piece and seeing them slowly starting to resemble each other a bit more,” Anderson said.