A sunset caught in a car's side-view mirror, a trip to China, and a prop skull: They may not have anything in common, but they provided Landon artists with inspiration for their award-winning works in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
Seventeen Bears from the Middle and Upper Schools, a record for Landon, earned a total of 29 regional awards in the competition, which each year draws more than 300,000 submissions nationwide in 29 art and writing categories.
"One of the most impressive things about teaching art at Landon is that the kids are pushing themselves, and being pushed, to create professional-level art," Middle School art teacher Brad Rose said. "It is amazing to see the balance in these boys. I taught most of them in Middle School and know them all as people — they are strong students and athletes as well, so it is gratifying to see them improve as artists and get this kind of recognition."
Landon students won seven Gold Keys, the highest regional award, eight Silver Keys, and 14 honorable mentions. The Gold Key-winning works move on to the national portion of the competition, where a panel of judges will select winners based on originality, technique, and "emergence of a personal vision."
Sky Cui '18 earned two Gold Keys and two Silver Keys for his paintings, and Rose said that Cui's Sunset in the Mirror is a prime example of art he'd expect to see in a professional gallery.
Jack Bradley '20's colorful painting of a rhino, Lord of the Plains, received a Gold Key, as did classmate Will Nussbaum '20's haunting Night Owl. Nussbaum also took home a Silver Key for the painting Twilight at Le Mont-St-Michel, based on a photograph Rose took while on vacation in France, and an honorable mention for the cleverly titled drawing 2001: A Face Odyssey, a self-portrait made using alphabet stamps.
Andrew Engel '18 nabbed a Gold Key for his dog portrait Buster. Harrison Muth '18 took gold for his striking black-and-white drawing, Momento Mori, and honorable mention for the serene Sky Lake. And Kevin Tsai '18 earned a Gold Key and a Silver Key, respectively, for his paintings Times Square, NYC and Egg.
Bruce Han '18's talent behind the lens of a camera shone through in his five award-winning photographs, all of which depicted gorgeous scenes from his native China. His Life in the South (pictured above top left) earned a Silver Key, and he picked up four honorable mentions as well.
West Shaw '18 scored a Silver Key in the digital art category for his eye-catching Shattered Puppy Love, while middle schooler Jack Bynum '21 took home a Silver Key for Pandora's Fly Trap, a drawing inspired by the production design for the film Avatar, which created fantasy plants using real plants as the basis. In addition, Michael Yan '19 received a Silver Key for his enticing painting of Pizza & Lemonade and honorable mention for Adventurous.
Several other Bears also earned honorable mention: Mike Mehlman '18 for Waiting for a Treat; Will McClure '18 for his drawing Soccer Player; Will Jarrett '19 for Paramount, a rendering of the mountain that provides the basis for the Paramount Pictures logo; Alex Kapelina '20 for Landon Man, a composite portrait of several of his Landon classmates painstakingly created by painting circles of color into a grid of squares on canvas; Ryan Giles '20 for the appropriately titled The World's Cutest Raccoon; and middle schoolers Coby Shrensky '21 and Andre Schnider '22 for the painting Turtle and the sculpture Lantern, respectively.
"I hope that these boys keep these works of art as evidence of what they can achieve," Rose said. "Art is one of the few subjects where you get this thing to hold on to and to look back at. These pieces of art are great examples of what they can do when they put their mind to it."
Past winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — which, since 1923, have sought to cast a national spotlight on teenagers, grades 7–12, who possess extraordinary artistic and literary talent — include painter Andy Warhol, photographer Richard Avedon, authors Truman Capote and Stephen King, and writers/filmmakers Robert Redford and Lena Dunham.The 2017 national award winners will be announced in March.