The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



SLOHS artists prepare for the AP Studio Art Exam


photos courtesy junior Josie Berryman, and seniors Penny DellaPelle and Emily Bush

San Luis Obispo High School’s AP Studio Art 2D class is home to some of the best artists in the school.

This year, students’ portfolios will consist of five finished works and ten progress images will be submitted to the College Board for the AP Exam, all centered around a main theme or question.

  Expressions talked to three students from the class about how their preparation for the exam is coming along so far.

  “I’m going to explore body dysmorphia and different ways of expressing it. I chose to go with this topic because I know it’s a big issue for a lot of teen girls,” said junior Josie Berryman.

  Students are allowed to choose any topic as long as they can build on the idea progressively and effectively through their pieces. Many students, like Berryman, chose poignant topics that many can relate to or empathize with, sometimes even drawing on personal experiences or past knowledge for inspiration and guidance.
  “I’m exploring our modern connection to the raw materials that make up everything in our lives. I chose this because of my interest in history, anthropology, environmentalism, and my increasing curiosity in growing food. I think it’s important to realize that while we consider ourselves to be so advanced, we are never actually separate from the natural world,” said senior Penny DellaPelle.

  DellaPelle is one of the few students focusing on a topic centered around humans’ connection to the Earth and how the modern age has affected that relationship, however her’s is unique as it deals with the complex symbiotic relationship between humans and nature and how we have distanced ourselves from it while staying connected.
  “I want to explore how different moods, settings, and characters can be portrayed using color, contrast, time, and motion,” said senior Emily Bush.
  Though investigations can center around a more philosophical question, students have the freedom to show off just as much of their talent by exploring a visual relationship like Bush will.
  Another point of intrigue for taking the Studio class is that students can work in whatever two-dimensional medium they want.
  “I’m exploring these ideas through paintings with elements of illustration and maybe collage. I want to really encourage curiosity in how the world around [one] came to be,” said DellaPelle.
  Though any medium tends to be alright, choosing the materials strategically is a big part of planning for the exam.  Certain mediums can come off stronger than others, like oil paints versus watercolors, so students often choose what to work in or what visuals they include so that they can more effectively evoke a response from the viewer.

  “I am exploring my idea by using color pencils and incorporating certain images throughout my piece (like a tape measure) to represent the sustained investigation,” said Berryman.

  Because the mediums and visuals affect how the pieces are received, students normally work with techniques they are familiar with and confident in.

  “One of my favorite things to draw is cartoon or stylized people, and I think a graphic novel will play to my strengths. I am using watercolor paint for the backgrounds and digital media for the characters, inks, and anything a character directly interacts with. I plan on having two pages per piece and combining all the elements digitally,” said Bush.

  As of now, students in the class have finished their first piece and have started planning for their second. This doesn’t mean the first piece is completely done, though. As ideas evolve and transform through new works, some students may go back and revisit previous pieces to best convey the topics of their investigations.

  “I hope that by expressing this struggle through art people will have a better understanding of how girls in 2020 might feel when diagnosed with body dysmorphia,” said Berryman.

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