Two Blue Mountains students' artworks have been selected from more than 8500 entries to feature in ARTEXPRESS 2020.
Katoomba High School student Sama Cooper, was one of just 48 NSW HSC Visual Arts students selected to exhibit at the Art Gallery of NSW, the principal ARTEXPRESS venue, until April 26.
She was over the moon to make the cut.
"It's incredible. It was my ultimate goal and I achieved it," Sama said.
Her drawing, titled Sonder, was created using ink on Stonehenge paper and explores the idea of the human experience.
"With classical art it's focused on the figure and what they are feeling, their emotions. I'm drawn to movement, emotion, or the action that they are doing. What's their story about," Sama said. "I wanted people to connect to the emotion of the portrait.
"I was interested in the concept of sonder, the realisation that every other person has a life as vivid and complex as your own and I began to experiment with Indian ink and its fluid, spontaneous nature which captures the psychological and emotional state of each individual. Each portrait demands contemplation by the audience, a time to connect and engage with the shared human experience."
She photographed friends and family, and then drew from the photos, adding she hadn't much experience of life drawing.
"It's a goal for me to draw people," the 17 year old said.
"I draw people on the train if I have time." She has to be discreet, often hiding behind sunglasses.
Currently on a gap year, Sama will have plenty of time to draw people in the Mountains and as she travels overseas.
"Half my luggage will be art," the Leura resident said with a laugh. Sama plans to attend the National Art School in Sydney in 2021. "I definitely want to have a career in art," she said.
And from the Lower Mountains, Blaxland High School student Will Todman's artwork Love, It's Absence in Society and Why I Will Never Achieve It, was selected for the ARTEXPRESS regional tour, currently exhibited at the Hazelhurst Gallery in Gymea, until April 13.
"I was going through a teen angsty stage," the 18 year old said.
"It was an emotional journey of mental health."
The self-portraiture photography features 14 versions of Will. It's honest and raw and immediately grabs the viewer's eye.
Will is also taking a gap year, while he works to save up for a fine arts and photography course. He was "absolutely ecstatic" to be selected for ARTEXPRESS.
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