AP Concentration Artist Statements!

Emma Mikolitis

This work stems from my interest in depth and planar shifts and my fascination with cubes. The series involves a formal experimentation of how line, color and negative space can create variation in depth and spacial illusions. The entire concentration stems from class doodles: one of my very first doodles was cut out from the side of a flyer that I received at school. From there I continued to experiment with cubes and connecting them in various ways. Each piece starts with at least one cube, which is then either connected to others or expanded upon. I began adding color and making them on a larger scale in class. Some incorporate cut colored paper and book paged to add to the blocking of colors. From there I experimented with line direction and the way in which the lines create different movements. Some designs convey a sense of depth created through line, while others are more airy in their disposition: reminding me of playgrounds. In the small long skinny images, I decided to add more organic shapes and see what way the tubes around the structure would manipulate the interpretation of the depth of the image. All in all this series fascinated me as an exploration of line, shape, and movement: looking at the pieces and deciding what areas protrude and what parts invert...only for this to shift with a blink of the eye.

Beth VanHaitsma

For this work, I decided to focus on two aspects of art I've always loved; drawing and fashion. I wanted to explore the aspects of individuality in the fashion industry, but also how people, in their efforts to be individual, often end up being the same as everyone else.

I tried out different techniques and textures of shading with my pieces and settled on a strong sense of line quality to create tone. I made sure to include the imperfections in the fabrics, the crookedness of seams, and other unique little things that make all pieces of clothing and fashion individual. I drew individual items to show their singularity, but to also represent how much potential lies within each item. Big-name fashion designers and companies spend millions on making sure we purchase their clothing and use them to set trends worldwide. But personally, I think that clothing should have a lot more to do with style than fashion; fashion is what designers give us to wear and tell us how to wear it, and style is what we do with those instructions.

Style, or the desire of fashion, is often used to try to fill voids within oneself, but true style is when you know who you are and your clothing reflects that to others. My drawings represent the tension between consumerism and individualism.

Aliyah Garcia

Expect the Unexpected

I think colors and color schemes are one of the main reasons I started doing these pieces. At first it started out with, “I wonder how this is going to turn out”. The element of surprise is an interesting factor with my concentration. I never know exactly what I’m going to put down in each layer, I don’t know what colors I’m going to use. When I paint I start with a color and go from there. Some layers can be solid colors, other layers can have multiple colors and textures to go along with it. When I start taping down the design most of it is at random and others are strategically placed. I started playing with brush strokes and mixing colors in to add variety. Art doesn’t have to be an explosion of realism or sentimental feelings. Just the thought of something new and exciting can make things enjoyable. There is no set image at the end of the road, when the tape is being peeled away the simplicity of simple layers can turn into the most beautiful piece that came from the unexpected.

Hannah Mulder


I was inspired by my love and interest in the intricacies of the human body. For me, it’s crazy to think about how all of these parts, in their complexity and individuality, form one thinking, moving, living body. Through my work, I have been exploring how specific and detailed “parts” can be isolated and have impact. My work is based off of mystery, wonder, and awe as we can’t see inside of ourselves, but we know what is there working in the background. I hope a viewer experiences this mystery, wonder, and awe as they look at my pieces and realize how complexly and wonderfully we’ve been made.

Madisyn Kuipers

“Exploration, Solitude”

Nature accepts you in any state. Having a rough day? Let the sun warm your face. Is the anxiety of life weighing you down? Sit in the sand and feel for a while. I wanted to explore my own exploring and radiate the gratitude I have in my heart for all of the adventures that life has brought my way. I hope you, as a viewer, feel inspired and maybe even realize that you need to lace up your hiking boots and just go outside for the afternoon...and reconnect.

Gabriel Yang

The inspiration is pretty much from the feeling I have when I looking at different buildings. There is so much imagination that I can put into a simple building. When I was making this fantasy architecture I followed my gut instinct...I felt like “that is exactly what I’m supposed to do.”  I explored that there it is lots of fun making art from my imagination. If I chose a theme for this work it would be “My World”, because any one of these drawings could be my Utopia.

Kara Wassink

A huge inspiration for my pieces would be patterns; we don’t always notice them but they’re everywhere in life. With this concentration I am exploring texture along with lines and color. There are endless possibilities of how shapes and colors and textures can be put together to create something distinct, and that’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with these pieces. A few concepts that my art might address could involve mystery, creativity, movement, and pattern.

These works could be visually representing the patterns and routines of our daily lives - however, just like each canvas, there is something that makes each day unique and special.

I might like for a viewer to think that while often times our lives may seem routinely the same every day, there can still be something about each part of our lives that make it unique, memorable and interesting.

Laura VanderStarre

This work was inspired by the constant but ever-changing nature of clouds. Through my concentration, I explored the effects of mark-making and color on the tone of a piece, as well as using unexpected perspectives to reimagine common objects and the perception of movement through space. The theme of change was also something I explored through my work. Clouds are always moving and shifting and never look the same in one instant as they do in the next: so while my work shows one moment of the clouds they still have a sense of movement.

Hillary Kauffman

My concentration explores taking trees and turning them into a more simplistic, graphic version of themselves. Making this work involves the process of deciding what to include and what not to include; what to change and what not to change as I edit the pieces down from their original form. Many of my pieces use colors, shapes, or forms that might not normally be found in nature, giving my work a more stylized effect. I've accomplished this by taking away the details of trees and replacing them with the simplest shapes possible, while still being recognizable as trees. From composition to color, my process included a lot of intentional decisions in order to get the serene, graphic appeal I was going for.

Lydia Wiersma

With this work I wanted to explore the textures and forms that paper is able to take. The idea of transformation is apparent in these pieces, as the paper started as 18x20 news print and now has taken many different forms. I also constrained myself in the materials that I used, focussing on paper, wire and pins. Doing this forced me to create in new ways, using a sense of design to be sure that the pieces, as simple as they seem, are far more intricate.

Olivia Memberto

I want to be rich. Not rich with money, but rich with experience. Rich with understanding. My pieces reflect my desire to grow in knowledge and understanding of people and places. I never want to live my life with a focus on wealth in money, but rather wealth in amazing experiences in this world. Every country, city, home, person has its own story and complexity, its own beauty and evil. As you explore more and more in this world, your understanding of humanity and life grows as well. Through graphic design, spray paint and stenciling, I created an exhibition focusing on the idea of discovering yourself through exploring the unknown.

Phil Altvater

My concentration pieces as a whole depict many different structures flying into pieces. Most of these are different buildings. The office/apartment, house, suggested wall of a cathedral, and a factory. Even if the building is not seen in the picture there are definable parts to the structure. Like furniture, walls/rubble, bricks, pipes, or iron I beams. I also incorporated the structure of the human body into the concentration (number 10 and 12) They are also flying apart, skin and bone fragments breaking away from the mass of the body.

In my concentration I wanted my work to look more orderly than an actual explosion. I wanted it to be apparent that these buildings and people were being sucked up by something intentionally. I displayed that by making a stream of rubble with somewhat defined boundaries. This suggests order in an extremely chaotic situation.

I enjoyed taking a serious and somewhat dark, chaotic situation and putting life into it. Like piece 2 with the birds, piece 8 with the balloons and piece 5 with the birthday cake. One of my goals was to make a dark situation into a playfully beautiful one that is ultimately not just about destruction but also about transformation.

Melissa Demaagd

The central idea of my concentration is the balance between delicate, flowing trees and rough, angular structures.  I am also exploring space: negative space, contained space, and open space. These spaces become little worlds bordered with shapes that are angular and stiff contrasting the paper itself, which is organic and flowing.

For my concentration I have limited myself to two materials (paper/wood) and have kept the forms monochromatic in order to focus formally on unity, texture, and structure. As I create these 3-D compositions I hope to capture a visual tension or contrast between the delicate white paper and rough white wood. My concentration began with a contained box (image 1) and expanded to include more free forms that are unconstrained (like images 3 and 8). As my concentration progressed I also began to focus even more on the trees themselves and whether you see a whole tree or just part of it (see image 3 compared to 7). I explored different ways to stylize the trees from small to big, delicate to rough, intricate to simple. I focused on the wood forms, silhouettes of trees, and the shadows of the trees (which gives the work a rather haunted, elegant look) rather than on surface design. The trees placed amid man made structures explore life and growth in unexpected places: like an old abandoned apartment reclaimed by nature, these sculptures contain an echo of what once was and what can be.

Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 10:49 AM