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Youth Insights

Spring 2011
With Angel Otero

Often interweaving traditional Spanish Baroque imagery with personal subject matter, Angel Otero employs unconventional techniques to create large-scale abstractions. Otero challenges painterly conventions by using "oil skins" to build up his surfaces. Beginning with a studio visit, he invited YI writers to use the oil skins to make their own art for a project called The Skinny. For another project, And I Quote, he asked YI Writers to alter quotes and phrases that held special meanings for them using a variety of different materials such as stickers, ink, and paint.


My name is Adena. I am fifteen and in the 10th grade. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, but my nationality is Bajan and Jamaican. I became interested in the YI Writers Program because my teachers introduced me to it. My interests are writing, especially poetry, painting, singing, dancing, and just expressing myself in every way I know how. Art plays a big role in my life. I love to look at art, listen to art, and make art. Even though I'm not the best artist, it’s something I do to express my emotions. I really don't have a favorite artist but there are certain types of art that I like, including very bright, colorful sculptures. People with positive attitudes and things that look and sound positive are really what inspire me! I look forward to hearing other people’s opinions on contemporary art and the difference between art from the past and today's art! Finally, here is a random quote "I'm a big girl with big dreams, and a normal girl with big opportunities and I plan on using them."


My name is Barry and I’m a sixteen-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. Fulani are 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 don’t have many favorite artists yet, but that’s why I’m interested in the Youth Insights Artists program: so that I can get a chance to see other artists’ work and make connections between them. 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 create.


My name is Christopher. I was born in Kingston, Jamaica. When I was younger my skin color was bright pink, so my brother gave me the nickname Pinkie. He was always there for me and he was always my inspiration because he was an artist. He was the reason I fell in love with art. I used to see him draw these perfect images, and I wanted to be just like him. But unfortunately before he would be able to teach me anything we were separated. I moved to Birmingham, England, where I learned many things such as sports and writing. My brother was always in my memory so as soon as I learned how to use pen and paper I started to draw what I saw. I didn’t copy animated images like other kids did. I drew my surroundings. My inspiration kept me motivated. The reason I decided to join Youth Insights is because my English teacher recommended it and I realized it would be a great way to meet new artists. Art is the one way I can express myself. That is what art means to me. My major goal for attending Youth Insights is to become a better artist.


I enjoy the rigid fluidity of architecture, for my outlook takes much inspiration from the ultimate cultural symbol. I enjoy the encompassing freedom of water and the weightless propulsion of swimming. Food is what I enjoy the most, for we live, die, and differ, as our food does. Food engages all sense and is the epitome of artistic expression. My love for the natural world is the root from which I continue to stem. In the future, I’d like to see myself a part of this untainted natural world that we unknowingly shield our faces from. Mental clarity is what I hope to achieve through my immersion in the arts.


My name is Henry. I am seventeen years old. I am from the neighborhood of Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn. I am currently in my junior year at the Child School/Legacy High School on Roosevelt Island. My favorite artist is Leonardo Da Vinci. I’ve been interested in art since a young age and have been developing myself as an artist ever since. As an artist, I am most interested in architecture and drafting, as well as graphic art and game design.


My name is Lucas. I am sixteen years old and very unique. I am from Brooklyn, New York. I was born in Grenada and my background is Grenadian and Panamanian. My teacher recommended the Youth Insights Program and I am so excited to learn all the things I'll be exposed to! My interests are to increase my knowledge in writing and art. I'll be able to broaden my knowledge and have fun while doing it. Art brings life and comfort to me. I have no favorite artist because I feel that all artists have impacted me. Music often inspires me. I could fall in love with any kind of music. Just sitting, meditating, and soaking in music will allow my hands to flow. I hope to have a lot of opportunities and success in the near future.


Hi! My name is Margot and I am a junior 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. I was prompted to join Youth Insights Writers because I think the opportunity to combine art with text will be both exciting and challenging.


Art has always played an important role in my life. My father is an artist and his work and creative process have always been visible around my house. Even though I never considered myself an artist in any way, I grew up with a deep appreciation for art and for those with the ability to create. Some of my favorite artists are Yoshitmo Nara, Marina Abramovic, and Johannes Vermeer.

In high school I’ve been able to explore more artistic options. I realized I did not have to draw or paint a certain way to be considered “good.” Throughout my high school career I have been able to take several darkroom photography classes, a painting class, and a jewelry-making class. I live in Brooklyn, I think that writing is one of the best forms of self expression, and I love every opportunity to learn something new. I’m just Meredith. I’m still figuring out exactly what that means, but I know that as I do, I will have art by my side.

Rebecca G.

My name is Rebecca and I'm a junior. 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.

Youth Insights was recommended to me by a friend who attended the program. I decided to take a chance and apply. My main interests are gender studies, science fiction, and the social dynamics of New York City. One of my favorite artists is Tetsuya Ishida, a Japanese painter. His images are simultaneously disturbing and appealing to look at. I have yet to establish quantifiable goals for the future. For now, I plan on graduating high school and remaining true to myself.

Rebecca J.

My name is Rebecca. I am seventeen years old and interested in graphic design. I am eccentric, intelligent, and eager to learn. I am usually really busy, and art calms and centers me in a way that nothing else can. I found this program while searching for art programs at museums. I am excited to work with a real artist and my peers to strengthen my artistic ability.


I am a music addict, a flower child, and I should have been born in the 1970s or 1980s. My name is Samantha but I don't respond to that unless I am at home. I come from a very close-knit family, but I barely see both sides. This is because most of my family lives in Mexico. I haven't visited Mexico since I moved back to the United States when I was five. It has been too long! Most of my childhood was spent in Little Italy, the Bronx, and Mexico. Besides writing, I have many other interests. I like to cut and style hair and do makeup. However my favorite thing is to make people laugh. I can't go one day without laughing. I will find it very odd if that ever changes. What really motivated me to join the YI Writers program was the opportunity to see art in a different form, whether in words or on a canvas.


Hi! My name is Suriat. I am sixteen years old and I attend the High School for Health Professions. I was born in Nigeria but now live in Brooklyn, New York. In my everyday life, I enjoy many activities. I love to dance, play instruments, read books, go out with my friends, and most importantly WRITE! Writing and observing things are also why I was interested in joining Youth Insights. I wanted to experience various types of art and listen to the many different viewpoints of my peers. I would love to communicate my thoughts about art through my writing. To me, art has many definitions and can be expressed in many ways, through music, painting, photography, pottery, poetry and other things. One word to describe art is ORIGINAL. There is no wrong or right way to look at it. Art conveys thought, expression, and creativity. Through art, you can view feelings and inspirations and think critically. Artists I admire are Leonardo Da Vinci, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Edward Hopper, Andrey Avinoff, Sybil Andrews, and many more!


A name is just a name. It doesn't define who I am or anything about me. In fact I could be name A, B, C or X, Y, Z. I am a human who has emotions and intelligence, and I want to make this world a better place for everyone.

My study of art in high school changed my views of America, as well as China. I learned to break away from my comfort zone. I began to open myself up to America, and then began trying to think as an American. Youth Insights has a wide platform that allows me to observe Western culture. I realize a need to examine cultural issues from more than one perspective, an approach that is not currently supported in China. My decision to create art reflects my desire to examine the cultures and history of China from a more holistic and objective point of view.


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.



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

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