December 6, 2021

Art smart

Teens loaded with art talent

Art photos by Karin Franklin-King

Ashley Casterline's artwork.

Ashley Casterline’s charcoal drawing of her uncle’s pile of Converse sneakers came together easily.

“It was cool. And it didn’t take me that long. It’s charcoal. It’s easy to maneuver around,” the Homer High School senior said.

Casterline was among a trove of Cortland County award winning artists in the 2019 CNY Scholastic Art competition. She received a gold key for her drawing.

“I was surprised. Honored. This is the first time I have gotten past the judge’s cuts,” she said. She’s been trying for three years.

The show recognizes students in 13 Central New York counties. More than 2,500 teens from 100 schools took part, submitting 5,670 works, for which judges selected 1,589 pieces to receive gold keys, the highest honor, silver keys, or second place, and honorable mentions for thirds.

“We had an amazing group of finalists,” said Brian Wallace, Homer High art teacher. “They are all amazing. We have serious buckle-down kids. You should see the artwork we entered, which is crazy good art.”

Shenequa Perry’s artwork.

The show is on display through March 1 at Onondaga Community College’s Whitney Applied Technology Center. It is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.

The Everson Museum will exhibit select works March 9 through April 7.

“The show is massive, the amount of work that goes in,” Wallace said.

These days, works are submitted digitally. But before that, judges would look at the physical works.

“You would see rooms upon rooms upon rooms of art work. A small percentage of that goes into the show,” he said. “It’s relatively hard to get into the show, period.”

Paul Andre, Homer High art teacher, said art is more important now than ever. “We live in a digital world. Now that we have smartphones, these kids are audio and visual entities,” he said.

Madison Hanford’s artwork.

Visual art is necessary on websites and social media platforms. If people don’t like what they see, they will leave.

Ryan Cough, 17, a Homer High student, received his first gold key for a sculpture — a brass windmill with bells attached.

“It’s pretty good,” he said. He needed to hammer out his shapes for the bells and think creatively to come up with his design.

Becky Jones, 16, a Homer student, got two golds and two silvers for her four drawings. “You had to concentrate and take your time. It was hard to be patient and get in there and get all the detail,” she said.

Becky Jones’ artwork.

“I was so proud of myself when I found out,” she said. “It’s good to see your hard work come through.”

She’d advise other artists to be patient.

“If it doesn’t come out the first time, take a step back and revisit it again,” she said. “Sometimes you need a break.”

Shenequa Perry of Truxton got two gold key honors and silver honors on top of that.

“It was great,” she said. Art is a good escape from her daily. A good piece requires a good picture, a good first sketch and attention to detail.

The Homer student has been doing art for five years and the best lesson thus far has been how to work with colors.

Danny Cavanagh, 14, a ninth grader at Cortland High, got a gold key for her picture of three spoons, a memento from her former home.

Danny Cavanagh’s artwork.

“I like it. I like that I did a reflection with different colors, other than the color of the wood,” she said.

She entered work last year but did not get an award. A gold key was “pretty awesome.”

“I am looking forward to even more of their work getting accepted next year,” said Annettee McMahon, Cavanagh’s art teacher. Judges are tough and are looking for examples of student excellence in art methods in drawing and painting. She wants her students to be art appreciators in general.

“I want them to enjoy it and to know that this can be a lifetime experience for them,” she said.

Emma Rahner, a Homer Junior High student, got a gold key for a self portrait, drawing what she saw without color.

Emma Rahner’s artwork.

“I was a little excited and proud at first,” she said.

Abigail Wagner, a Homer senior, did an ink rendering of a radio with an “old fashioned record player on top.”

“After I finished it, I hated it,” she said. “It was one of the worst pieces I have ever done. We got started on another project and I put it in a bin. When it came to Scholastics, I pulled it out … It wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

Abbey Wagner’s artwork

She was impressed when her art teachers told her it won. “Wow.”

Sophie Burhans, a Homer sophomore, made a set of 10 metal engraved Tarot cards — enough for a Celtic cross reading.

“It came out pretty well,” she said.

She studied the elements on the cards and made her own design of the symbols. It was a 2 1/2-month project.

“I was really surprised to get a gold key,” she said.