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Youth Insights

Fall 2011
With Dawn Clements

Dawn Clements creates large-scale drawings that depict interior domestic spaces, either her own surroundings or those in classic 1940s and 1950s Hollywood melodramas. She is especially interested in the idea of the home as a place of both comfort and confinement. Working with Clements, YI Writers explored and analyzed the way that art can depict both literal and psychological space and suggest narratives without the presence of text. The teens moved between writing, critical discussion, and a studio art project in which they drew the details of an interior space from their own shifting perspective. Inspired by a visit to Clements’s studio and a wealth of quotes from Flannery O’Connor, YI Writers explored what it means to successfully convince a reader or a viewer. Over several weeks students worked with Clements to capture the details and fluid magic of everyday objects in an art classroom. Working on large paper, Writers created drawings in Sumi ink that swept with their perspective from the floor, to their own bodies, and sometimes across the ceiling.


My name is Billy. I am from Brooklyn, NY, where the arts have always been an integrated part of my childhood. I am currently a senior in high school. Besides regularly attending museums, my hobbies include music, running, swimming, and photography. Art is an escape from reality for me. I love that it allows me to step into the shoes and take on the viewpoint of the artist, especially for pieces with a political or social context. In the future, I hope to become an art curator and be able to work with many people in the field on a daily basis!


My name is Chloe. I am currently a junior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School majoring in Visual Arts. I enjoy making all types of art. I was raised in Brooklyn. I love photography, painting with watercolors, sewing clothes, writing, and drawing. I love visiting art museums and discovering an exhibition that I have never seen before. Art means everything to me. Art has always been a part of my life, especially because I live down the block from the Brooklyn Museum. When I was younger, you could always find me writing a very long fiction story without an ending, drawing some type of person with those “sunflower” hands, a kitchen, a treasure map, copying a Matisse painting, or making miniature paper purses for my friends; however, as I got older, I began to use a variety of media and subjects.


Hey, I’m Kristen. Born and raised in Arlington, VA, I moved to New York City at the start of ninth grade. My mom, sister, and I had packed our lives up in brown cardboard boxes and, next thing I knew, we had moved to New York. A three-story house became a three-bedroom apartment, our minivan became an underground train, and our backyard is now Central Park. I now go to the Institute for Collaborative Education (ICE). My mom and I love to take weekend visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and get lost in the Impressionist galleries. My family keeps accumulating cats. Our four cats now outnumber the humans in the house, and have total control. I love to read, watch movies, and go to the theater. The more stories I learn the more inspired I become.


My name is Niki and I am a junior at Hunter College High School. I grew up in New York. My mother is the director and curator of a contemporary art gallery in Manhattan and my father represents musicians and visual artists, so from a very young age, I have been constantly exposed to the works of different artists and I have been able to watch their works transform and grow over time. Seeing works develop is very important, as it is a reflection of the artist’s thoughts. I believe that art is a conversation between the artist and the audience. It is the audience who completes the thought process of the artist by bringing their own point of view to the work of art. The arts, whether they are visual, musical, or performance, have always allowed me to experience my own type of escape from any routine day-to-day activities, and I enjoy watching my creativity flourish. I believe art is everywhere, and it can be seen if one has an open mind and an ability to discover beauty.


I can honestly say that the exposure I have to art mostly comes from my parents, who have always encouraged my interest in the arts. My dad has always loved photography, and has never treated it as just a hobby. I remember when he would go outside looking for inspiration, and how personal an experience it seemed, even when I was with him. I always wanted to find my own medium of expression. Both of my parents took me to museums at an early age. My mom did not make art like my dad, but she loved immersing herself in it. She opened up my mind to experience. Now, I can easily go to a museum on my own. My love for writing, however, comes from my passion for reading. I do not know how or when I started reading so much, but I have loved it since I was a little girl. Even now when there is less time for my hobby, hardly anything compares to the happiness of finding a really amazing book.


My name is Raymond. I’m talented and don’t like to be labeled. I am my own person and just like to enjoy life to the fullest. I live in Brooklyn but I am originally from Guyana. I was born and raised there, and moved here in 2005. I am a mix of Indian, Native American, Chinese, and Black. What brought me to Youth Insights is my passion for writing and art. My interests are photography, baking, traveling, writing, and being creative. To me, art is a way for me to escape from the world and issues. It is also my addiction, something that is in my blood 24/7. And it is what makes me happy and defines me as a person. The thing that inspires me is creativity. In the future I hope to achieve a lot, such as becoming a fashion photographer, a pastry chef, a critic, and maybe a world traveler.


I am Richard. I am also Yung. I am seventeen years of age. I am an artist. I am a leader. I am a friend, a brother, an uncle, and a son.  I am an athlete. I once scored the winning basket for my team. I won several art awards when I was really young. I am a volunteer at MoMA. I prioritize my family over anything. I love futurist/organic architecture. I have traveled around the world, raised money for the American Cancer Society, and defied gravity. I have done almost everything, but I have yet to make my mark as a YI Writer.


Hello! My name is Shirley Mo and I am currently a sophomore attending Hunter College High School. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Since my parents have never expressed an interest in the arts, I grew up in an environment where art was a luxury, not a necessity. Ironically, my parents’ nonchalance has actually triggered me to appreciate art. And now, I want to capture every opportunity that would help me understand this phenomenal concept. To me, art is like oxygen, it is vital to our survival. The power of art is limitless, bringing beauty into our world and allowing us to find our inner self. This burning desire to learn more about art—and in the process about myself—has brought me to the Youth Insights Program. 


I’m Skye, and I’m from New York but my parents are from Ireland. I go to Bard High School Early College, but when I’m not in school, I enjoy reading, hanging out with my friends, and watching reality television. To me, art means expressing yourself. I love to write, and dance, and listen to music. I think that art inspires me to be myself, and to see things in a different way. In the future, I hope to be successful in whatever I do, and continue to have loving friends and family.


Hey! My name is Stephanie. I am a sixteen-year-old girl from the Bronx who, like many other teens, finds comfort in writing and music. I am not the most creative person in the world when it comes to making art, but I sure know how to appreciate others’ work. I can literally spend hours walking through museums, astonished by all the amazing work surrounding me. An odd thing about me is that although I am Mexican and am proud of it, I find it more fascinating to learn about other people’s cultures and customs, and how they incorporate them into their work. I love being surrounded by people with creativity because in my opinion it is contagious, therefore, whenever they have their creative juices flowing, so do I. During my spare time, I volunteer after school and on Saturdays teaching salsa dance classes as well as helping young children with their homework and reading. As I am constantly exposed to children, I want to study to become a teacher.


My grandparents are huge art collectors who have exposed me to all sorts of art throughout my life. My mother also collects art, meaning that I am surrounded by it daily. Writing plays a major role in my life, considering I write every day and have more than four notebooks filled with my poems and stories. Besides writing, reading is my favorite thing to do in the world. I read every day for at least an hour and a half, filling my curious mind with new ideas and lives. I do writing prompts almost every day, which help me exercise my skill and forces me to explore topics I wouldn’t usually think of.


My name is Timothy. I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn and I grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn with my two brothers, mother, and father. My grandparents lived upstairs from me. The first few years were pretty cool because I played up and down mostly. By the time I was four, I began pre-kindergarten at the Annex a few blocks away from where I lived. There I met some more friends and my two teachers Ms. Mosses and Mrs. Vegas. They were cool teachers because we did fun activities such as arts and crafts. After pre-k I started kindergarten and that was a big step for me. There I met my kindergarten teacher Ms. Springer. Kindergarten was pretty cool too. The rest of the years in elementary were alright but the year that I liked the most was the fifth grade. I started the sixth grade at IS 211. Since then, I have been going to my current school, which is the Legacy School for Integrated Studies.


Hi! My name is Tiye. I’m from Brooklyn, I’m seventeen and I’m a senior at Bard High School Early College. I like to read, write, play and listen to music, and take pictures. I wanted to join Youth Insights to get to know other teens while looking at and talking about art. Even though I like to write, I don’t like sharing my work, but I hope that YI will allow me to feel more comfortable with my writing. My life has inspired me in my own art, and I think living in the city has definitely allowed me to experience various things. Art, whether writing or taking photographs, allows me to express myself. In the future I hope I still have time for art because I think it plays an important role in everyone’s life.


My name is Yasmina. I was born in Egypt and moved to the United States when I was four years old. Although I consider myself completely American-ized, my heritage still plays an important role in my life. Thanks to the foundation of culture that exists at home, our daily routines are a product of what my parents carried over with them when they came here. Sometimes I feel torn between both my American culture and my Egyptian one. However, when I take the time to fully reflect on everything, I realize that I’m actually very lucky to have the best of two very distinct worlds. The open-minded person I am today is due to both my cultural background and the place where I’ve grown up most of my life. I used to be a shy person–and although that has changed significantly, writing still continues to be a way for me to express myself. I believe that inspiration is all around me, I just have to keep an eye out and find it. In the near future, I plan to study journalism and psychology.



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

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