Carmel Arts Festival Recap

Carmel Arts Festival Recap

by Katherine Zhong


The 21st anniversary of Carmel Arts Festival presented by the City of Carmel has welcomed worldwide artists to share their unique creations in art, music, film, and literature. Among those pieces of art, seventeen students from University High School featured their work in this grand celebration. The art of these students are of distinct expressions, showing a wide range of approaches using different mediums. We interviewed four students who had their work featured about the diverse perspectives and visual ideas contained in their art.  


Linda Nguyen

This artwork is the one I did in art history last year. We were working on the style of pop art and I wanted to do something incorporate and express my style. I used a reference to do this, but instead of blue I changed the color into brown to match my eye color. It gives a very fashionable kind of feel. It is not super colorful, but the color does pop and expresses my emotions.

When I draw or paint, I like to make my artwork flow. I use a lot of movement in my work, like this one I did for portfolio last year, how water flows and brings out organic shapes. After we went to the Indiana Museum of Art, there was a Chinese painting that I used as a reference, but I put my own twist on it and made it look like a painting inside a painting. The water is flowy, so are the boats on the water, the picture is full of movement that makes my style of artwork loose and without restraints.  I used the element of contrasting colors, orange and blue, to make them vibrant and create an unexpected contrast to make my painting interesting. I really like abstract work because it is unrealistic, and unrealistic things are unique. It is something different that you don’t see every day.


Sam Woods

I think mostly it is the narrative of [abstract work] that is drawn from real life. I take inspiration from what I’m going through, like if I have an idea when I was driving or just talking to somebody, I will be like, ok, this is something that can work as a narrative, like an art piece. For instance, this one demonstrates my growth and the direction I am going as an artist. The footprints are supposed to represent how small steps I took are becoming big steps as I begin my senior year, and the compass represents the direction of my artwork. They also represent the growth I’ve had in my drawing skills and my increasing acknowledge of art elements and principles as I create artwork.

I created this piece during my first semester of junior year. The narrative is about trust and belief; it’s like when reaching out to somebody while you never know if they have a snake in their hand, if the trust is toxic and this is someone you don’t want to reach out to. I usually set the colors based on the emotion I want to portray, I’m also really aware of the shadows and the narrative through that because how much shadow and lighting can affect what emotions you can have on your artwork. Telling stories through my art is something important to me, and so is the direction that I move forward with when creating ideas for art pieces. So I keep that in mind when I create art and drawings. Creating artwork takes practice and patience, but you also have to learn the rule of thirds and where you want your viewer’s eyes to go to in the picture.

Gabby Hakes

I really like oil paint with palette knife techniques. Tasha showed me the technique when I first took her portfolio class, and then I started exploring and did a lot of them because they are really interesting. They are not quick or easy things, but they are very accessible to do when you want to pour out your thoughts at that exact moment. I am usually inspired by abstract artists and painters I see on Instagram, but I kind of make that something of my own. I like when I can use different colors to express what I feel at that exact moment, so there’s not a lot of conceptual depth but more so like me pouring out my emotion, and viewers can interpret that in whatever way they are inspired. I really like doing portraits and observing the way people look in different emotions. The human face is just so interesting to me: how emotion can be so clearly seen on someone’s face, and how easily our emotion can be evoked just by looking at another person. Prussian blue is my favorite oil paint. I also like dark red and yellow oker. They create interesting combinations. Ideally, I would build a portfolio of abstract palette knife oil painting, but instead, I am trying to experiment around with different brush stroke techniques, which are still works in progress.


Katherine Zhong

I first saw traditional Chinese landscape painting when I was little, and I was deeply attracted by the flow of water in the picture. I wanted to create movement in this painting through those waves, an aggressive feeling that is moving forward. I also did a black and white portrait within those waves. I really love doing portraits; it is the most direct way to transfer emotions. It is supposed to create a contrast between the flow of waves and the stillness of portrait, a feeling of resistance and going against the waves. I also played with the spaces and dimensions: the portrait, although in black and white, is drawn in three dimension and the waves, consisting of geometrical elements such as lines and circles, are in two dimensions. I like the twist of space because it is unnatural; it is something based on reality but doesn’t exist in reality. I like how something becomes unique when you give them your own thoughts. For instance, water is just water in real life, but when you put it on canvas, it becomes an expression of your emotion or your understanding of your surrounding. It becomes something of your own.


Images courtesy of the artists


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