South finalists’ art featured at IHSAE art exhibit

SKIN AND SKYLINE: Bearing the New York City skyline, freshman Kirsten Sully models in senior Tayor Raschillo’s IHSAE-featured photograph. The photo mixes her model and a picture from her trip to New York City.

Taylor Rachillo

SKIN AND SKYLINE: Bearing the New York City skyline, freshman Kirsten Sully models in senior Tayor Raschillo’s IHSAE-featured photograph. The photo mixes her model and a picture from her trip to New York City.

Megan Sheqiladze, staff reporter

It features 93 high schools, over 500 art pieces submitted and five GBS finalists. This year is the first year South participated in the Illinois High School Art Exhibition (IHSAE), and five South students displayed their work at the exhibit at the Zhou B Art Center on March 6.

South art teachers submitted 25 pieces, of which, five students’ pieces were chosen. These students and their work include seniors Jini John for painting, Taylor Raschillo for photography, Appy Wielgus for drawing, Grace Yang for painting and junior Jidapa Thia for 3D art.

“Judging by the quality of the work we saw, the potential for scholarships being offered, the prizes awarded and the prestige of being selected from such a large pool of high caliber work all contributed to our decision [to participate in the show],” Photography teacher Amie Elliott said.

Art students and teachers at South have not attended the show in the past. Before submitting to the show, the finalists did not have previous knowledge about the IHSAE exhibit.

“I have a couple friends who are in AP art, and I took a screenshot [of the email letting me know I was a finalist] and sent it to them, and [I] asked what it was,” Raschillo said. “They [said], ‘Oh my god. Are you kidding? You got that?’ They said how big of a deal it was and how much of an honor it was.”

The IHSAE show has a bigger range of categories it showcases than most art shows. Categories that can be submitted to are three-dimensional, drawing, painting, photography, graphic design and time arts. Having a variety of categories allows students from different art classes to participate in the exhibition.

“Most shows and competitions only involve the 2D [arts]: painting, drawing,” Thia said. “I like it because I’m a 3D artist. My 2D art is awful; therefore, I can participate in this show.”

Choosing which pieces to submit was difficult, according to Art teacher Stephanie Fuja. The art teachers decided to evenly submit to each category. Each teacher chose pieces for the subject they teach.

“It’s always hard [to choose pieces] for any show, especially one as big as this,” Fuja said. “We look at which of our students are creating the best level work both technically and conceptually. Every work varies; what might be the best work in a painting isn’t the best work in a metal piece.”

Every piece submitted is a previous assignment that the art students have submitted for class. Submitted pieces ranged in different level classes and guidelines followed.

Senior Jini John said, “The way the [AP art class] works is that you have to pick an idea or a theme that you’re going to be focusing your artwork on. My theme was the mix of Indian and American culture. I’ll combine my own experiences with my heritage and the culture I experience here in America. The piece I did was a dancer, and she was putting on the bells that go on her ankles and had on traditional [Indian] clothes.”

Personal experiences are reflected among many of the art pieces. John and Raschillo both used their identity as inspiration for their work.

“I used a picture I took of New York, which is where I want to go to college,” Raschillo said. “That was definitely a huge inspiration to me. It was a younger girl, for me, that represents me. She’s looking down, looking at her future. That was a huge representation of me and what I desire for the future. I thought it was really cool that was the piece that got chosen.”

Yang also shared her personal life in her artwork, but instead of having her culteral identity be her inspiration, she uses events that her family is going through.

“This piece itself is a painting of my dad resting in bed at the emergency room,” Yang said. “ It’s a scene I am so familiar with because my dad is constantly in and out of the hospital or emergency room. My dad is also aware of my concentration and the fact that I am a finalist in the IHSAE. He will be attending the awards reception with me, and I am so grateful for that.”

The IHSAE aims to provide students with the opportunity to present their work in a professional environment and recognize student for their artistic accomplishments, according to their website.

“Not going to lie, knowing that my art piece is going to be showcased in a professional art center in Chicago is a really exciting feeling,” Thia said.

Participants are looking forward to seeing the exhibition for the first time, according to Fuja. South plans to participate in the IHSAE again next year.

Elliott said, “We are thrilled to be involved and are very proud of all of our students for the great habits they have developed and the fantastic work they create.”