Leaders

2011-2012

Teen artists leaders posing together in front of the Whitney Museum.

Youth Insights Leaders with LaToya Ruby Frazier, 2012


Leaders organized a series of teen events around the 2012 Biennial exhibition, including a screening of Matt Porterfield’s film Putty Hill, a collaborative performance by LaToya Ruby Frazier, and talks and workshops by Nicole Eisenman and Elaine Reichek. In fall 2011, Leaders participated in mural projects with Dan Colen and Kenny Scharf, and an artist talk by graphic novelists, Dash Shaw and Jessica Abel.


Elleni

My name is Elleni. I’m from Washington Heights and my nationality is exclusively Dominican. I am interested in the broad field of art, but specifically I have a passion for sketching and creative writing. Art is a synonym for life. When I say life I mean it in a subjective and insightful way, not in a cheesy artificial way. I believe that art is the field where the existentialists gather. My inspiration comes from the stories, tall tales, and pieces of artwork that my predecessors have left behind for me. As I place my own perspective on their work, I am prompted to think about how amazing art is. It handles the different perspectives of each viewer with such grace. I hope to create work that will evoke a personal feeling for everyone who sees it. One day, I hope to create something that cannot be labeled with a word.


Eloise

I am Eloise and I attend the School of the Future. I am French-American and live in Harlem. I was born in France and have lived in New York City since I was three. I am trilingual: hablo Español, Français, and English. I love art because it is a language understood by all in different ways. Things that need to change in our world inspire me to spread the word and make the change, one nerve impulse at a time. I hope to continue my education after high school and make a change in our society. I want to ignite a passion in our fellow citizens to get up and make the changes they desire! I believe in karma and the equality for all thoughts and beings.


Evelin

My name is Evelin. I am from Brooklyn and my background is Mexican. My interests are art and work in museums, and to learn the background history of museums. To me, art means a unique point of view and a sense of style. What inspires me most is the city because the movement is really exciting to watch, and it motivates me to go further. In the future, I hope to learn more about art history.


Hannah

My name is Hannah and I am a student at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School. This is my second year participating in Youth Insights. The YI Writers program changed my perception of art. Although art had always been a part of my childhood ever since I can remember—both my mother and grandmother are artists—I originally valued it more for its aesthetic appeal. Youth Insights allowed me to study art both conceptually and intellectually which has completely changed the artists I admire and how I connect to certain pieces of artwork. I am inspired by people and nature, and how they affect one another. I believe that the reason art is so powerful is because it has the capability to free us all from reality and see the beauty in the simplest or most complex things. Someday I hope to be an artist, curator, civil rights lawyer, or all three.


Isaiah

I am Isaiah: the apple that fell far from the tree. Apple enthusiast. Socially awkward. Questioner of gender convention. Fighter against dated stereotypes. Owner of fleeting memories. Liberal. Athlete. Ridiculously sarcastic. Stuck in niche limbo. Believer of high school anarchy. Amateur philosopher. Highly conflicted. Love Ringo Starr because you don’t. Passionately curious. Nerd.

I was born and raised in Canarsie, Brooklyn by an incredible mother/father duo. Besides trips to Europe to visit family, I’ve never left Canarsie, so that is where I was initially forced to draw my inspiration from. I was transfixed by the architecture, the lights, the people, and of course, the food. I revere New York for the energy that pulsed through it and its uncured insomnia. Every day I learn something new about this city. And as I grow artistically, I’ve learned to appreciate this city more and more with each visit.

I came to realize that even in times of overwhelming sadness, happiness, or discomfort, I’ll hold art above all else. I don’t know how my relationship with art got to this point or how it will evolve in the future, but I do know it will remain one of my most cherished passions.


Izzy

Hi! I’m Isabelle, or Izzy. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and I have had the privilege of accessing some of the world’s greatest museums. I love spring, being barefoot, and all forms of art. I’ve always been interested in fashion and have found it to be an excellent way to express myself. I love to draw and paint as well. Museums are very comfortable places for me. I can sit in front of a painting and appreciate it for hours without realizing that time has passed. I feel that it is hard to understand everything about a work of art, as the artist’s ideas are sacred and special. I hope to work in the art field as an adult (or hopefully sooner). If it’s not creating the actual artwork, I feel as though I’m also capable of curating, which is an art in itself. Wherever I am in the world, all I need to be happy is to be surrounded by art and creativity.


JiaMei

Hi, my name is JiaMei (pronounced like Jamaica without the “ca”). Working at the Whitney has increased my love of art to a level outside of the universe, over the rainbow, and beyond the realm of palpability. I have really learned to appreciate other artists’ art. Before I was a YI Artist, I actually thought museums were strange places that only the elderly with spare time went to. However, the Whitney has completely changed my perception of museums from the inside out. Personally, I realized I love looking at other people’s works more than creating my own. I LOVE seeing artists’ works and saying to myself, wow, this artist is weird. . . I never thought that that could be art. Art, to me, is like a miniscule window into one’s cerebral force—kind of like taking a knife, making a slit into someone’s brain and looking into it. Okay, yeah, that is kind of creepy. Now it makes me feel like I’m a psychopath who loves art because it offers me an alternative to running around and cutting up people’s heads. Art is idiosyncratic to every human being in this world because we all think differently. Art is evidence of human existence.


Mamadou

What’s up? My name is Mamadou and I’m a seventeen-year-old who has a passion for art. I am originally from West Africa but moved to Brooklyn when I was five. I was born into a group of people called the Fulani tribe, a tribe very common all over Africa. I am interested in different forms of art and how they reflect life. Art to me is a form of language that has its own unique and different way of sending you a message. Art also makes you question your judgment. I am inspired by the problems we face in everyday life and how we can try to make the best of what we have. I figure we have one life to live and we shouldn’t waste it. I hope to achieve great success and to be able to set an example for others. I hope to change people’s views on the world and life. It’s not about the negative things we are exposed to, but the positive things we can make out of it.


Margot

Hi! My name is Margot and I am a senior at Riverdale Country School. Art has always played a huge role in my life, as I have taken classes since elementary school. I am constantly drawing or painting in my free time. While I am working, my stress subsides and I feel more relaxed. I am also very creative, and use art as a way to fuel my creativity. In addition, I am passionate about writing (English is my favorite subject in school), and find expressing myself through text to be very cathartic. The works of other artists also interest me, and I have been to many great art museums around the world, such as the Louvre, the Prado, and the Uffizi. I think American art is truly dynamic and one-of-a-kind (although installations and video/audio pieces are still very new to me), and I look forward to learning more about it. I am excited to meet new people from all around the city who share my same passion for art. I believe that hearing other peoples’ opinions will both benefit me and challenge me constantly to think outside of the box.


Orly

My name is Orly. I am in twelfth grade and attend the Bronx High School of Science. I am deeply interested in the arts. I have participated in various classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, High 5, the Museum of Art and Design, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. In these programs I have learned to both create my own art and critique the art of others. Currently, I try to work on my own photography and film. In the future, I would love to exhibit my work in a museum or work in a museum, perhaps as a curator.


Rebecca

My name is Rebecca and I’m a senior. I have lived in Manhattan my whole life. My mother was born in Israel and English is her third language (after Hebrew, which she no longer speaks, and Yiddish, which has added a few words to my vocabulary). My father is a second generation American, whose lineage can be traced to Poland. My main interests are gender studies, science fiction, and the social dynamics of New York City. I have yet to establish quantifiable goals for the future. For now, I plan on graduating high school and remaining true to myself.


Sarah

I first became involved with the arts one cloudy Saturday afternoon back in 1999. My cousin, who was only a year older than me, was my role model, and when she started drawing, I imitated her. It started with pencils and crayons and horses. However, as I grew older, I became involved with comics, Manga, and anime. When I got into Hunter High School, I had the opportunity to work with tempera, pastels, acrylic, watercolor, and lots of other media. I continue to draw, doodle, sketch, or paint digitally in my cozy home in Fresh Meadows, Queens. Although comics has become my main medium, sometimes I work with Cray Pas or I take it slow and subtle with colored pencils when I’m relaxing. I want to use the opportunity that Youth Insights offers to meet new people, learn their perspectives on art and the world, and perhaps discover another level of my voice.


Zoe

I am a child whose shoes pinches her toes.
I want to kick them off and feel the earth.
I want to hear the wind.
I want to taste the air.
I want to absorb the colors around me.
I want to uncover the mysteries of the world.
I want to make a difference with my actions, with my voice, with my art.
The people are my cause:
The people who cannot speak,
The people who cannot fight,
The children who are forgotten,
The children who are not fed,
Those who no one will help and cannot help themselves.
I am an artist.
I want my art to speak to people.
I want my art to make people feel something.
My canvas is my world, and I fill it up with my creations.
My brushstrokes are my words.
My paintings are my protests.
At a time when I feel so powerless, I turn to art, and I am freed.