AP 2D artists build their portfolios

AP 2D artists build their portfolios

Dylan Schwartz presses his camera attachment into the microscope lens, trying to get the perfect shot. He, along with 13 other seniors, is enrolled in AP 2D Art, and spends his art classes curating his crystalline photography. “My portfolio focuses on the expansive and invisible crystalline structures of natural compounds,” Schwartz said. “I search for connections to life and the greater universe within these brilliantly colorful patterns.”

Schwartz uses his scientific prowess to develop complex methods for creating his art. Attached to his camera is a tool he 3D printed, which he says, “allows me to perfect my microscopy technique and compositions.” The tool was the subject of his State Science and Engineering Fair project. Schwartz grew several dozen crystals and plans to submit a dozen photos to the College Board, including his current favorite, “Tastes Like Sugar.”

Alyona Chugay explores another type of futuristic coexistence: the ethics of AI technology and nature. With her art, Chugay hopes to inspire discussions around “the severe lack of safeguards and standardized ethical practices” regarding the use of AI, which are “a major problem that could hinder that possible future” of emerging technology. Chugay’s pieces range from digital art to acrylic painting.

“I’ve gained a lot of problem-solving skills and the ability to think outside the box when I’m stuck on something” Chugay said. “It’s also given me the confidence to try things I never would’ve imagined doing.” Her favorite project so far, titled “MastAIrpiece,” is an image of two robot arms painting on a canvas. “I love it because it’s a really good commentary on what’s happening right now with AI generated art.”

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Meia Popp ‘24 takes a more traditional route with her portfolio. Centered around “how colors and patterns affect our memories and relationships,” Popp explores her theme with a pack of 120 colored pencils. To start her drawings, Popp reflects on her relationships and the memories she has created with those close to her. She then likes to “depict the colors and patterns that are not necessarily in the memory, but what I associate those emotions with.”

Though transmitted to a flat paper, Popp reflects on the multidimensional characteristics of memories. She translates those feelings to her drawings, using vibrant pencils and textile images to tell the story of her core memories. One of her favorite pieces is her current project, a drawing of her sister’s high school graduation. “I love it because the memory of my sister’s graduation is very important to me, and the leis are a fun and colorful thing to look at.”

Cauthen Catlin explores colors’ representations of her relationships, but on very different surfaces. Catlin uses acrylic paint to depict various abstract designs on to pieces of technology – she paints on iPads, monitors, TVs, and phones. Colors represent the personalities of those closest to her, as Catlin explains that “their traits have become some of my traits.”

Catlin took on this theme as she believes it’s very human – in her eyes, everyone adopts bits and pieces of those around them – it’s what makes them unique. Her favorite piece so far, “Engulfing Anxiety” was a painting on a monitor, depicting a close friend of hers who shares her struggles with anxiety. “This piece portrays some of my deepest personality traits,” Catlin said. “Art has helped me express some of my emotions that I can’t express through words.” 

Shruthi Pakala crafts pieces of all media types to discover how art can define borderless emotions. Because Pakala describes her art as “abstract” and “interpretive,” her pieces are rarely definitively finished – she always sees more negative space to fill, or intricacies to add her designs. 

Unlike her peers, Pakala doesn’t find inspiration in reflection. “My work is based on experimentation and seeing where it takes me,” she says. Of her 12 pieces, some finished and some in progress, her favorite is titled “Effervescent.” Composed of technical designs and handwritten notes from close friends, Pakala says it is one of the pieces closest to her.


About the Contributor
Isabel Bassin
Isabel Bassin, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Senior Isabel Bassin is a four-year staffer and a Co-Editor-In-Chief, as well as a captain of the varsity girl's lacrosse team. When not writing or playing lacrosse, she spends her free time with her geriatric dog, Charlie. She doesn't know what the future holds for her, but she is excited at the idea of the many places life and journalism may take her.