Winter Visual Arts Competition

All Middle and Upper School students were invited to lean into their creativity and participate in Poly’s second annual Visual Arts Competition in 2022, an event created for students by students. Artists could submit their work individually or as a collaborative group. Their artistry spanned a variety of mediums and concepts including painting, prints, drawing, illustration, applying pigment or graphite onto a two-dimensional surface; fashion/jewelry designs, ceramics, sculpture, 3D artworks, photography, videography, and graphic design using computer programs like Photoshop.

In addition, students were asked to submit an artist’s statement that explained their artwork and helped the five student and two faculty judges understand the creative process. This included the meaning of the work, how the materials and imagery reflect meaning, and what the artwork means to the artist. Winners earned Spirit Cup points for their respective Blue or Gray teams. The winners were announced on January 4.

Congratulations to all our students!

Upper School Artworks

First Place – Jordan Millar ’24

This is the second piece from my portfolio for my Advanced Drawing and Painting class. The overall theme is the struggles, celebrations, and experiences of black hair. Recently, my mom and I went to the beauty supply store in Downtown Brooklyn to purchase hair extensions for my braiding appointment. I thought it would make an interesting piece so I took a photograph and drew it using colored pencils and some white gel pen for highlights. There was a lot of meticulous detail that went into creating the work, but I love how it turned out!

Second Place – Brianna Kwan ’23

I’ve always been very meticulous and organized. I try my hardest and strive for perfection in everything I do. One of my most heavily weighted personal values is committing to and putting 100% of my effort into something. Before I take on a task or opportunity, I make sure I am able to fully commit to it so I don’t burden others who are involved. Ceramics require commitment throughout the creative process, with throwing, trimming, glazing, and firing each being a vital step. Each alteration to the piece cannot be reversed, so precision is key. Incompletion of a part affects the processes that come after, and once the piece hits the kiln or the walls become too thin, it’s back to square one. This accountability is what gravitates me towards this art form. 

Ceramics gives me satisfaction because of the certain steps needed to ensure a final piece. However, it has also taught me to think more creatively. I used to only make uniform pots, bowls, and vases—practical, usable items—because I couldn’t see ceramics being used any other way. However, through inspiration from other artists, I learned that wheel throwing doesn’t come with a limited instruction manual. 

I’ve started to throw less conforming bodies, forming irregular shapes (dented cylinders, sharp-edged vases, rounded-in vases, etc.), and I’m challenging myself to throw harder-to-control bodies like ones with thinner necks or a large top to bottom ratio. Although many tries have resulted in collapsed lumps of clay, the most important part is learning how to control the clay to perfect a certain technique. I also try to do different glazing designs with each piece, experimenting with different glaze combinations and techniques like bubbles, taping, and dripping. What once started as a form of art that fit in my comfort zone has now brought me down roads of bolder, experimental work.

Third Place – Selena Wu ’25

Year 2 of artblock woo-hooooo! This piece was actually the last of three ideas I had drafted up. Unfortunately, because of my perfectionism and a pressure to do better than last year, I ended up starting over. Then one day, I had a question: “How do I draw imperfection?” Taking inspiration from an [anime] artist called LAM and a goal not to be obsessing over every line or stroke, the sketch of this drawing was drafted up. It was from then that I titled this drawing “Picture Perfect. ”

Arrow pattern purple
Middle School Artworks

First Place – Zoe Kim ’27

The theme I was going for was “New York”. The people featured in this drawing were people I saw on the subway and in the background there are things I feel represent NY.

Second Place – Fiona Inamoto ’29

I chose to create a realistic drawing of a cheetah. I enjoy drawing animals, and I think cheetahs have very piercing eyes. I tried to capture that in my drawing. I used pastel pencils, because I thought the colors would make the drawing more lively than graphite would.

Third Place – Anisah Rahman ’28 and Lila Suter-Chung ’28

Our piece represents our care for pollution and the togetherness we require to repair it. Our piece consists of two separate pieces, one side is done with color pencil and oil pastels (Lila,) the other with watercolor (Anisah.) The red on the outside of the two circling fish shows the pollution that litters our waters. The water on the inside of the circle is blue to represent clean water. The circling fish represents everyone uniting to fix the threat of pollution. The flowers show how we could be one step closer to a perfect world if pollution isn’t an issue.