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Painting Personal Growth

GNSGNS photo

By Sonya Chwyl

“I think all of us have stayed up into the wee hours of the morn, doing what had to be done,” says Izzy Moyer as she hangs up another painting. It’s not quite level – she frowns and readjusts it. Beside her in the lower lobby of the Denford Hall, fellow Grade 12 artists Rachel Diment and Nolan Smith are busy arranging their own pieces in preparation for their final IB art exhibit. This show is the culmination of their high school art careers (and a great deal of “blood, sweat and tears,” according to Izzy). Now on the homestretch, all three artists are looking forward to being finished.

“This is like art boot camp,” says Rachel of the sheer volume of pieces they’ve produced during their time in the IB Art course. “You can’t really not get better.”

Of course, a big part of the work isn’t just the painting or sculpting, but all the planning that comes before it. The process is intensive, but the effort they’ve put in shows: their final exhibit showcases pieces big and small in a wide variety of mediums.

“There are some pieces this year that I really don’t like,” admits Rachel, “but overall I feel like I’ve gotten better. Or like, more settled – my stuff became a lot more consistent.” For her section of the exhibit, Rachel chose pieces featuring soft pastels, florals, and a precise use of whitespace that highlights the human form. Offering an interesting contrast, Nolan’s work uses bold lines to create surreal cartoon landscapes. For his larger mixed media pieces, he draws inspiration from street artists like Banksy. “Spray paint seems like the most basic, but the stencil was pretty annoying to work with,” Nolan says. “It was a learning experience, because if you do it too close, it bleeds.” Because their IB art class is so small, the three artists have formed a unique bond. “It’s nice that we have each other to commiserate with,” says Izzy with a wry smile. Her artwork is intensely personal, exploring themes of growth and mental health through bold colours and metaphorical imagery.

When viewed together, this collection offers a unique view into the growth of these three artists over their final two years at GNS. And while they’re not sure how big a part art will play in their future careers, they all plan to continue pursuing it as a hobby in their free time.

Don’t miss the 2019 art exhibit in the lower lobby of the Denford Hall!