Exploring the arts

When Magnus Allan (’17) was younger, he despised art galleries. Forced to accompany their mother to exhibits, he and his brothers were never engaged by the pieces around them. Consistently searching for the exit, they never stopped to view the art.

However, Allan’s taste towards art has sharply changed. Now an aspiring photographer, Allan said his “appreciation for the arts developed with the exploration of my own style in photography.”

When Marianne De Ridder (’18) walks into a gallery, she is instantly drawn to modern art pieces. At least once a weekend Mariane can be found wandering around the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. She frequents art galleries, often bringing her friends along. “It’s just something that you can [do]. You can walk and talk, and not just sit around,” Marianne said.

However, Marianne does not just visit art galleries as a casual pastime; She has always been interested in art, which is a passion that runs in her family. “My grandparents were collectors, their parents were collectors. All of my dad’s side has been into art since forever,” Marianne said. Each generation cultivates new pieces as well, adding to the collection.

When acquiring new art pieces, Marianne and her sister, Pippi (’16), constantly give feedback on their parents purchases. Helping decide where to put things, they like to give their opinions on the pieces and let them know what type of art they prefer.

Always looking to add to their collection, Marianne and her family visit galleries while on vacation as well. “Everywhere we go, we go to art galleries,” Marianne said.

Similar to Marianne, Livy Scott’s (’17) interest in modern art was sparked by her family’s interest and background. Moving to London last year, Scott has taken advantage of all the opportunities London has presented her within the art world. As her parents became members at different clubs and galleries, Scott’s interest for art grew.  “I haven’t lived anywhere where they had very good art… so I think [London] has given me more opportunities,” Scott said.

Like Scott, transitioning to live in London provided Brooke Smith (’15) with many opportunities to explore her passion for art. Initially visiting galleries on the weekends with friends and family as a pastime, Smith now goes to exhibits once every other week. “[London is] such a cosmopolitan environment and there is so much art going around all [around] you. If you want to access it, it’s so easy,” Smith said.

While it is nice to explore with friends, Smith also finds herself going to exhibits alone in order to see work she is interested in. “If there is something I really want to see it’s nicer to take it in and spend the amount of time I want there [by myself],” she said.

Although Marianne is an artist herself, currently taking 3D Studio Art and Digital Photography, she finds looking at art to be more enjoyable than making it and is inspired by many exhibits she visits. “When I see photos and paintings I want to do similar things, and I get ideas from that kind of work,” she said.

New to the school this year, Marianne used to live in Virginia. One of her favorite museums to visit was the Virginia Museum of Art. She recalls attending a specific exhibit of artist Keith Haring, known for his bold, colorful use of stick figures. “I like [Haring’s work] because I’m not good at drawing people, so when I have to do that I refer to his paintings and drawings,” Marianne said.

Marianne, Scott and Smith alike use exhibits they visit to inspire their artwork. A student in Advanced 3D Studio Art, Scott uses her exposure to art to her advantage. Visiting art exhibits inspires Scott “to break past boundaries” in her own art and to “be more creative”.

Smith also seeks inspiration through professional work. An AP Studio Art student, Smith has looked at many pieces to learn more about the art of collage for one of her pieces for the class. “Collaging is something I incorporated to help me develop the idea behind my concentration,” Smith said.

Likewise, Ruba Nadar (’17) takes cues from professional artists when creating her own work. “Especially with going into Advanced Studio Art and AP art it’s more conceptual,” she said. “It’s definitely helpful to have something that you can translate into that without it being direct.” As she has viewed many art pieces, Nadar can use them for inspiration and influence for her own work.

Art has also influenced Nadar’s plans for the future. Originally, she wanted to be a fashion designer. “At [the] Alexander McQueen and Thea Porter [exhibits]…I see the craftsmanship and the beauty created so artistically, that it made me want to be a fashion designer for the longest time,” she said. However, her widening taste in art has transitioned her focus to other art-based professions, citing an art curator as a potential profession choice for her.

Scott has further developed her passion for art and is one of the younger leaders of the Friends for the Arts Club at ASL, visiting  a range of paid and unpaid exhibits every one to two months. London offers a multitude of exhibits that are free of charge, but Scott prefers paid ones, for she feels they “have more work put into them.” Scott feels that the quality of the artwork justifies paying to view exhibits.

Allan notices a difference between the two in his photography.  In many paid exhibits photographing the art is prohibited, however, he finds those who visit free galleries are “only there to take an Instagram [photo] with the art so they look cultured.”

Smith, who frequents the Saatchi Gallery, the Photographers Gallery and Somerset House exhibits, also supports friends of hers who host their own popup shows in the city.  Smith attended a past exhibit titled “World Service”, displaying the work of many artists in an old train station.

Just as viewing other artists’ work has shaped the art Allan produced himself, it has also had an effect on broadening his perspective. “I feel as though having a passion for art affects your interpretation of your surroundings,” he said. “[It] makes you generally open to new ideas and contemporary thoughts.”