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Well to start, I’m Claire and I’m currently in the Whitney’s Youth Insights Writers Program. I was born on Staten Island (home of the Wu-Tang Clan and formerly the world’s largest landfill) seventeen years ago, and have remained here ever since. My family is quite atypical in comparison to the Staten Island stereotype and I was raised in a rather artistic setting. Thus I’ve always had a great interest in the humanities in general.

What can be considered art is one of the most debated topics, and it is one we explore in this program. What is easier to define is how art affects people. Art evokes emotion, appeals to our aesthetic sensibilities, tells a story, and proclaims an opinion. It can be functional, utilitarian, and nonsensical. Art can be in a museum, a gallery, on the street, and in a journal. Personally, I believe art is a creation conceptualized in an artist’s mind and then formed by a type of medium, whether it be paint on canvas, charcoal drawings, photographs, or films, even just sounds. The medium can be anything one allows it to be. Every day, artists constantly evolve what it means for something to be considered art.

The type of art I favor is hard to define; I fancy all sorts of art. From Impressionism to Graffiti and Expressionism to Pop Art, I’m open to all styles. Lately, an artist I have really taken a liking to is Jean-Michel Basquiat. I find that his frenzied graffiti-esque work is extremely captivating. Several other artists I admire the works of are Willem de Kooning, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Mary Ellen Mark, and Banksy. 

Art isn’t the only thing that inspires me. I’m inspired by many things such as music, film, philosophy, literature, politics, social studies, and more. My taste in music, and all the aforementioned subjects, ranges as much as my taste in art. I like everything from The Velvet Underground to classical composers and The Ramones to Tom Waits. That barely covers my tendency to jump from genre to genre. As far as literature goes, some of my favorite authors at the moment are Chuck Palahniuk, Albert Camus, and George Orwell. A few of my favorite films include Coffee and Cigarettes, Annie Hall, The Royal Tenenbaums, and I’m Not There. Aside from participating in Youth Insights, I partake in political, environmental, community, and artistic groups at my school. All of these factors help to shape me into who I am.

The future is a reasonably long time. I would say I plan on working in a gallery and creating art and writing on the side, but times change. Whatever I wind up doing, I just want to be glad I‘m doing it. 

Claire’s Artwork