By Lauren Berger ’18
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards just announced their 2018 recipients. A nonprofit committed to highlighting “students with exceptional artistic and literary talent,” the Scholastic Awards are prestigious and internationally recognized. With past winners such as Andy Warhol and Sylvia Plath, Immaculate Heart High School couldn’t be prouder of its 17 Scholastic Awards recipients. One such recipient is senior Maya Lewis, who received five impressive Scholastic awards. The Bamboo recently caught up with Lewis in an effort to geek out over art and soak up her creative prowess.
The Bamboo: What inspires your art? Does it serve as a cathartic or an emotional outlet?
Maya Lewis (ML): I mostly focus on portraits or drawing multiple people in one space. I find that people are the most interesting subjects in art because they’re the most relatable. Whether it’s their facial expression or their own story, we can see a lot ourselves in them. Drawing is one of my favorite ways to lose track of time. Choosing what colors I want to use or deciding how to bring a character to life allows me to disconnect from whatever is on my mind and focus on my creativity.
B: Do you have a particular style? If so, how did you find it?
ML: I don’t have a specific style but there are elements in almost all of my pieces that are consistent. I prefer realistic renditions of people or if the proportions are a bit exaggerated then I make sure that the shading is realistic. I also tend to use a fair amount of pink and blue around a subject’s eyes since those two colors always bring out that character’s features the most.
B: What are your favorite mediums and why?
ML: My favorite mediums are pencils and colored pencils. I used to prefer watercolors but I’ve found that paintbrushes don’t give me the precision I need when doing detailed work. Pencils give me a lot more control and if I need to make small details then I just need a sharpener. The downside is that pencils don’t cover as much surface area as a paintbrush so it can be time consuming to color in a whole face but I recommend pencils to anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable with wet mediums.
B: Do you have any advice for others aspiring to go into an art career or just generally up their art game?
ML: My advice to anyone who wants to strengthen their art skills is to not compare yourself to other people. Even if you have friends or classmates who you feel are more talented than you are, I encourage you to not think too much about them. Everyone is at different experience levels but your skills as an artist will only improve gradually. When you’re in your art class, don’t look over at the person’s work next to you and compare yourself. Give yourself time to improve your technique and stick to your own style. I noticed that I gained a lot more confidence in my work and got a lot more recognition once I focused on the work that comes most naturally to me.
B: How does it feel to win Scholastic Art and Writing Awards?
ML: I’m honored to be one of our school’s many Scholastic Art and Writing competition winners. I feel more motivated to pursue art and that the time spent at home making art was well worth it. My friends and AP Studio Art classmates Crissy Tinio and Soobin Moon have always encouraged me to enter into the competition despite my second guessing myself. I’m grateful for their support and the support from art instructor Dr. Michelle Lee who has always believed in me. It’s satisfying to know that I will graduate from Immaculate Heart with an artistic distinction and that my work has improved since I was a freshman.