Youth Insights Artists Graduation



 This piece in particular hits me right from home.I was inspired to paint this portrait when I saw an art piece at the "I, You, We" exhibition at the Whitney. This portrait is suppose to be a portrait for my cousin Alex who passed away on August 1, 2012. He passed away around the time that the news were constantly announcing shootings all over urban neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, my cousin(who was 28 around the time he passed) was caught in the gunfire as an innocent by stander. This portrait was not only to commemorate his life but also towards all the people that were affected by gun violence around the time that he passed.

The bullet wound, representing where he was shot. I'm still not 100% certain where he was shot but I'm sure it was around the head area. I put the bullet hole in the front to add some type of drama to the portrait.

The tear is a sign of disbelief. Almost like I'm trying to see how it feels to be in my cousin's shoes at the time of his death, or the "afterlife". Its also a sign of disbelief to family and friends, which was hard and depressing to watch my family mourn so deeply. He left too soon and very unexpectedly.

I added colorful water color in his face representing his never forgotten personality. He was always that person that people loved to be around. With his loud vibrant voice and personality, Alex indeed will never be forgotten unexpectedly.

And all the way at the bottom lies the actual photo of my cousin.I know the portrait looks nothing like him but i hope you guys are able to understand the meaning.











































Photo on the left: The bobble head of Dave Mackenzie that was given towards the end of graduation


So, around I believe October or November, my U.S. history teacher told me about this program called Youth Insights , where they had an artists and writers program for teens.The program took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He thought it was good for me since I was into fashion for me to kind of explore my creative abilities and expand on art, so he recommended me to the art program. I was very hesitant because honestly I really did not want anything do with museums nor was I interested in exploring any type of art other than fashion. However, being the open-minded person that I am, my gut instinct told me to apply anyways. Something inside me told me I was gonna gain so much out of the experience. So I signed up and as my gut instinct told me, I gained so much from that one semester.

At the program we worked with an artist named Dave Mackenzie whom we met up with every Wednesdays. Every week Dave gave us a new task or projects in which we had to complete, show him and discuss what we did when we met up the following week. The tasks/projects that were given to us were at times complex but for the most was fun .It was also fun to talk about the process in achieving  the tasks.

First and for most, ever since I joined the program, I found myself very fond of contemporary and abstract art(I was once given the honor to write a blog post on the YI teens blog Click Here to read the post).Being that I am from a urban part of Brooklyn, I usually see "graffiti" or "tagging", in which is mostly from local gangs. So exploring that side of art was a very new experience to me, an experience that I carry on outside of school and the program. Now a days I always find museums that are showing art and fashion exhibitions and I always encourage my best friend to tag along with me.

I can say that the YI program definitely inspired me to expand on my creative abilities. Although I feel like i haven't fully discovered myself, this program gave me a huge push towards finding out who I am(confessions of a real life teen). It also helped me channel my personal emotions, which is very difficult for me to do. I've gained so much through this experience beyond words and I am sad to say that it is over. Nonetheless I plan on taking my experience and interpreting that into my personal style and as well as designing.



  
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