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Youth Insights

Fall 2009
With Christine Kim

YI Artists worked with artist Christine Kim to explore themes around abstraction and communication.  In conjunction with the exhibition Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction, Kim encouraged teens in the YI Artists group to think about how abstract art can capture the essence and identity of specific places. The teens explored Chinatown and documented the neighborhood by taking photographs, recording ambient sounds, and collecting objects. Kim then instructed the teens in creating their own seismic calligraphy prints using the sounds and objects they had collected. In videography and editing workshops, Kim helped the teens to make short films documenting their experimental processes.


My name is Arletny and I am sixteen years old. I’m a junior attending the High School for Law and Public Service. I was born, raised, and still live in Washington Heights. My family came from the Dominican Republic. My culture deals with a lot of art, music, and overall expression, and has become a great influence in my life. When I was really young, my aunt got me interested in art and I’ve been doing it ever since. I’ve been involved with different kinds of things having to do with the arts, such as poetry, painting, designing, and dancing. Art isn’t just a form of expression on a canvas or something molded or built. Art can be expressed through movement or through deep feelings expressed through words.

The world is an inspiration itself. My community inspires me. My future inspires me with thoughts of what I can become. I may go to New York University and become a journalist, maybe a lawyer, a physiologist, or even a publicist. Or how about going to Fashion Institute of Technology and becoming a famous fashion designer? Hey, you never know.


My name is Chanterelle and I’m a sixteen-year-old from the depths of what once was the central breeding ground for artists, but now has been infested with yuppies: Tribeca. I attend Bard High School Early College II. I enjoy eating fruit and reading Nietzsche on the subway. I also enjoy drinking tea and discussing poetry with my associates. I am an art fanatic because I believe it is a way to escape reality and a way to create one's own reality. My favorite type of art is film. I like film because it is such a versatile medium, and one can do anything one wants with it. I am very inspired by the city, nature, my friends’ art, my parents’ art, garbage, and interesting/maniacal/weird people. In the future, I hope to become a filmmaker or an astronaut.


I’m an artist. I see life through an artist's eyes.

And to draw is just one of the ways,

When it comes down to how I spend my days

Through music. A beat.

True relief.

Through my instruments is how I make my feelings known,

And through my art my mind is shown.

And man, how my mind has grown.

For bad or better.

I got so much thought it’s enough to make your head hurt.

And when it comes to art, I took a shot in the dark . . .


Hi! My name is Jiamei (pronounced like Jamaica without the 'ca,' though that is not the exact pronunciation, it’s the way most people can say it). I was born in China and moved to the United States when I was four years old.

Art, to me, is like another language through which I can express myself and my inner feelings. Sometimes words just aren’t sufficient and precise enough to convey an emotion or idea within me. I love looking at the works of other artists because then I am able to discover how differently everyone views the world and themselves. I believe part of what makes art so interesting is that it can have multiple interpretations.

Speaking of interpretations, my desired future career would be joining the United Nations as an interpreter. Besides art, I’m also interested in language. I’m not as good at it as I would like to be. It is ironic how I love languages and yet do not excel at them. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic about my chances of becoming an interpreter. 


My name is Jorrell, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and my family is from Dominica, Trinidad, and England. I'm a very funny and outgoing person who also loves trying new things. I love art because it really speaks to me and other people as well. By looking at artists' work, you can know what they’re saying and how they were feeling at that moment in time.

The people that inspire me are my sister and my art teacher. My sister inspires me because she taught me a lot of her art techniques, which I use along with my own. My art teacher has always liked the artwork that I do for her assignments. She gives me the courage to work harder and do even better work, and to add detailed objects to my artwork.

What I hope to achieve in the future is to become a very famous artist and to do a lot of creative abstract paintings that will go down in history. I want to be one of the most creative artists alive so that even when I'm gone, I can still speak through my artwork to people and also show them how I felt.


My name is Judy and I'm currently a junior. I joined this program in hopes of developing my artistic interests, because I plan to major in art in the future. When I look at a work of art, it makes me think. It makes me more observant, more insightful. To me, art is thought. One of my favorite artists is René Magritte, a Surrealist painter, whose technique and eccentric paintings made him a popular artist, and I hold his works in high regard.


I'm Miranda and I'm a sixteen-year-old from the Bronx. I am currently a junior at the Bronx High School of Science. I enjoy being a member of the Whitney's Youth Insights Artists program, and love learning about all aspects of art. I think that YI has been a really great opportunity to share different ideas about art with new people. I love living in the twenty-first century because of all the new attempts to push the boundaries of what is considered art, as well as the rapid creation of new technology, another interest of mine. It makes me really happy when the two are combined. I enjoy drinking iced coffee at any hour of the day and I love to travel. I can almost speak French and I am kind of a Francophile.


My name is Nathaniel. I am seventeen years old and I’ve been making art since I was a baby. Before I could speak, I was making art. I consider myself art. I also consider myself a comic book artist. I write the stories and do the illustration. With my work, I like to display as much emotion as possible and tell a great story. Since I’ve been with the Whitney Youth Insights Artists program, my idea of art and what kind of art I want to make has expanded to include working with sound and learning the art history of different cultures. In the future I want to go to art school, hopefully Cooper Union.

In the Youth Insights program I was able to work with a great deaf artist by the name of Christine Kim. She has taught me that art is more than pencil and paper. I saw how she uses different materials to capture sound on paper to visualize a tone. I have also learned not to expect my art to be perfect. We can’t expect greatness on our first try. We must tweak and work at it because art is what and how we make it.


My name is Queen, I live in Jamaica, Queens and I am one hundred percent American.

I took an interest in art when I was eight. This was because my dad would always play old music on Sundays and he would tell me that it was art with words. I started to take a liking to music and listened to anything that my dad liked. Eventually I learned that pictures are a form of art too.

In eleventh grade I had the opportunity to do an internship at the Whitney. I saw this as a chance to explore the other side of art. My experience here has been great. I have learned about how to create art with paint and sounds. I learned about different artists and the works they created. Youth Insights is a great program to have your questions about art answered and an opportunity to explore art in detail. Also, your peers and the staff are friendly and easy to get along with. This was a great opportunity for me and I plan to create more art in the future.


My name is Sabrina. I’m a free spirit. I don’t believe that I have to be classified as anything but myself. Growing up in New York City made me the person I am today.

Living in New York City is my biggest inspiration. I pay attention to my urban surroundings more than the usual person and get inspired by everything, from the N train passing over the Manhattan Bridge to my friends skateboarding at my neighborhood park with a clear view of the Statue of Liberty.

I didn’t realize that I saw the world a little differently than most people until I started getting into photography. I would take photographs of simple objects, things that I thought were obvious to the eye, and more and more people would be puzzled by what the objects were. I became wrapped up in photography, trying to get other people to see the world as I do, and now it is my main interest.

My dream occupation is to be a professional photographer. That dream is the reason I am at Youth Insights. I joined hoping that this program would expand my knowledge and exposure to art and help me in photography, which it did.


I am a passionate artist who is eager to draw curtains around people with creativity. Of course, my attempt is to shut people inside the curtain and allow them to acquaint themselves with me through my artwork and writing.

I have always had a burning desire for expressing my creative thoughts, images, and philosophy of life. However, it was only two years ago when I decided to fulfill my burning desire and pursue my goal of becoming an inspiring artist/writer. In order to realize my dream of becoming an artist/writer and influence the minds of many people, I have involved myself in the world of art and writing as much as possible. I am gaining lots of rich experiences by interning at the Whitney and taking classes at the Art Students League of New York. Additionally, I always save a little time for writing personal essays and drawing or painting.

I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I flew to the United States with the help of an airplane in the summer of 2007. I am currently attending Bard High School Early College as a sophomore.


Hello, my name is Sitora. I’m from Uzbekistan, a little country that is south of Kazakhstan and almost next to China. I am a blend of nationalities that include Russian, Uzbek, Korean, and bits of Yakut and Polish. Exemplifying my conglomeration of nationalities, my house is filled with mementos of all of my cultures, from the various dishes prepared to the art around my home.

The beauty of art is that every day it surrounds us. You experience art when you see a bird take off among the swirling leaves and want to take a photograph to treasure that vision for weeks and months to come; when you want to immortalize the waves as fishermen cast their reels and the warm sun bakes the fish they have caught; and when you gaze upon an elderly couple, their years of love showing through their wrinkles and glowing eyes—all of that is the art that we try to study and the feelings we try to capture.

In the future, I hope to be able to create works that will inspire people to go out and see the world. Art that will make people want to look at the world around them with eyes different from those that they have when they go to school or work.


Hello, my name is Troy. My family comes from Jamaica, but I was born in the Bronx. I attend the Bronx High School of Visual Arts as an eleventh grader; I learned about the Youth Insights program in school. Shortly after applying, I found out that I was one of the lucky few to be chosen to participate in YI.

To me, art is not about how it looks but about how it makes a person think. Art should be able to have the power to change or support someone’s idea on a subject. My favorite type of art is abstract art, mainly because abstract art can show the world from a different point of view. Things that inspire me greatly are things that are both functional and artistic at the same time. In the future I would like to create things with those characteristics, things that will both inspire other people and help them in their everyday lives. I want to become an industrial designer.


I am Vanesa and I am your typical teenage girl who comes from the Bronx. I’m a Mexican who likes to try new things and explore my surroundings.

When art comes to my mind, I picture it everywhere. I grew up with family members who like to draw. My mom used to draw when she was in high school but eventually stopped. My second oldest sister learned how to draw and became very good at it, but something happened that made her stop drawing when she entered high school. I used to draw sometimes, but I wasn’t very good at it so I wanted to give up. Then one day I found some old drawings that my sister made, and they were so beautiful that I didn't want to give up—instead I decided to try harder to get better. I also have a cousin who is really good at drawing and painting from observation. He creates characters out of plain little toys that he buys. This also made me more interested in art.

 In the future I hope to go to college and improve my skills in drawing, because I still have a lot to learn about art.



A 30-second online art project:
Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Sky/World Death/World

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