Teen Voices: Featuring Teen Winter Challenge Participants

Each month we spotlight a teen at CPL.

Jessica P.'s entry in the 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge stood out because of her deep reflection about life and self-expression through art. She integrated this personal statement with a stunning collection of works she creating using pastels, oils and pencil. The experimentation and her wide range of skills and techniques as well as your growth as an artist was very clear.

Source: Jessica P., 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission (Cropped)

Jessica has been named the first runner-up for the Senior Achievement Award, which means that she will be awarded a $250 scholarship which will be remitted directly to the two- or four-year college or university of her choice.

Brandon N.'s entry in the 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge stood out because of his incredibly thoughtful reflection and detailed information about photography interests and process as an artist. His compelling and mature voice, and charming personality came through wonderfully. For Brandon, "photography is… interesting, to say the least." He described how, for over a decade, he has gone from working with disposable cameras; flip phones; slide phones and now iPhones to take photos. He loves to capture animals, but also take night photos. All of the jurors were drawn into his narrative and unique storytelling approach. Additionally, everyone loved his art, in which the focal point was intentionally off, and the high resolution portraits indicated great skill.

Brandon N Photo
Source: Brandon N., Second Runner-Up - Senior Achievement Award (Cropped)

Brandon is a second runner-up for the Senior Achievement Award, which means that he will be awarded a $250 scholarship which will be directly to the two- or four-year college or university of his choice.

Isabel Z.'s entry in the 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge stood out because of her earnest effort to learn various art technique and experiment with different mediums, such as charcoal, acrylic and pen. Her portfolio included a magical bird, a graveyard, and an image of Harley Quinn accompanied by a remarkable personal statement, which added context and deeper appreciation for her selected works, made Isabel's entry stand out.

Source: Isabel Z., Cropped 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission

Isabel's majestic bird was made while experimenting with mixing acrylic paint and glitter. She was originally planning on making a cardinal, but ended up developing a phoenix-like bird, instead, which she said is often how art is a result of something unplanned; more ideas come into her head, and she alters plans.

Isabel was named the first runner-up for the Young Artist’s Award, which means she will be awarded a $50 gift card to Blick Art Materials.

Assata created some incredibly dramatic portraits, positioning subjects thoughtfully on each canvas. She made interesting choices with color and absence of color as well as medium (watercolor and oil). Last, but not least, the jury appreciated Assata’s enthusiasm about process. One juror noted she displayed “advanced technique, a wide array of skills across media and a lot of energy!”

Source: Assata M, 2016-7 Teen Winter Challenge Submission (Cropped)
Source: Assata M, 2016-7 Teen Winter Challenge Submission (Cropped)

Assata was named the second runner-up for the Young Artist’s Award, which means she was awarded a $50 gift card to Blick Art Materials. Note that you can check out some of her works on display in person at HWLC YOUmedia!

Tashauniel N.’s submission for the 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge took our jury into a whimsical world of intriguing dimensions and lovely hues. Select jurors saw the political messages with quotes from Evita and were impressed by the layers and levels of these skillfully composed works. Not all of words were visible at first, so they added complexity to Tashauniel’s creations. We can't wait to see more works by this talented artist!

Source: Tashauniel N., 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission (Cropped)

It looked as though Antonio B had recently visited the museums of Illinois’ Cantigny Park, where teens can envision the experiences of U.S. Army figures.

Antonio B., 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Participant
Source: Antonio B., 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Participant

Using unique shading and experimentation with light, Antonio used an Artisto app to create some interesting 3-D like images he used to portray war, as well as inner battles and demons within one’s self.

Kayla G.'s submissions for the 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge stood out because of how charming they were; one juror noted they collectively felt like a "low-fi collage." It was evident that Kayla had spunk and sarcasm, in addition to a lot of inspiration behind her work, which included vivid images exploring digital art skills (see this cropped image "Memento" as an example).

Source: Kayla G., 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Entry
Source: Kayla G., 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Entry

We would love to see Kayla continue to grow and achieve as an artist, and hope she'll consider participating in the Teen Winter Challenge again next year.

Emily G. likes to create art with a message. Her portfolio stood out because she's such a strong writer, and obviously thought a lot about her art. One juror noted it looked like you were experimenting with the cropping process and the colorful pills were fascinating.  Jurors were particularly impressed by Emily's commitment to explore contemporary social issues, including addiction to media; gender labels and expectations for dress style. For instance, "a flower crown" shouldn't be labeled as "feminine" or "masculine."

Bittersweet: Emily, Teen Winter Challenge Submission
Source: Emily, 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission (Cropped)

Emily's piece, "Bittersweet" examines different emotions experienced after seeing two completely different scenarios - one is at the beach, and calming and peaceful, while the other is chaotic and deadly, making the subject shed a tear. Emily hoped viewers would see "there's always a positive and negative to anything that happens."

Nancy C. likes to create art based on inspiration from movies and books, but also real life. For instance, when her principal was diagnosed with cancer, she reflected a lot about the illness, wondering what it would be like for a child or a teen to be sick with cancer. She explored spatial scenes successfully, imagining the relationships and interactions the ill have with objects, others and themselves.

Nancy Teen Winter Challenge Submission
Source: Nancy, 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission (Cropped)

Martiana O. is a photographer whose selection of photographic objects and landscapes submitted to the Teen Winter Challenge were quite unique and cinematic. Through CPS programs, Martiana has been able to explore perspective, lighting, color, exposure and patterns. She stated that while she's a planner for life in general, not all of her photos are planned or intentional, which helps her be open to spontaneity, and imperfections. For this reason, she finds photography freeing.

Source: Martiana, 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission(Cropped)
Source: Martiana, 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Submission(Cropped)

The 2016-17 Teen Winter Challenge Jury:

  • Ade Abioye of Chicago Public Library's Teen Services Department
  • Christine Bespalec-Davis, Education and Programming Manager at the National Veteran's Art Museum
  • Hillary Cook, Assistant Director of Youth Programming at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Joel Javier, Education Manager at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
  • Joshua Slater, Teen Programming Manager at Hyde Park Art Center
  • Matt Egan of Chicago Public Library's Literature and Language Department
  • Robin Willard of Chicago Public Library's Teen Services Department
  • Sasha Neri of Chicago Public Library's Maker Lab and General and Information Services Department