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Winners of the Fifth East Bay Monthly Annual Cover Contest (2005)



Lillian Nelson
Piedmont High School
Distorted Tiger



Olivia Fu
Piedmont High School



Haley Ward
Acalanes High School
(acrylic, India ink)

East Bay Monthly’s Fifth Annual Cover Contest is proud to showcase Distorted Tiger, by Lillian Nelson. In addition to displaying Nelson’s pastel we have also included submissions of two very talented second- and third-place winners: Untitled by Olivia Fu and Carbone by Haley Ward, as well the honorable mention winners and a few other interesting pieces. This year we received more than 60 submissions from students ranging from sixth through eleventh grade.

Local artist Bert Monroy will present awards to the three top and seven honorable mention winners on Thursday, September 22 at Amsterdam Art, 1013 University Avenue, Berkeley. Reception begins at 6 p.m. with light refreshments provided by Bubi’s Catering and Cafe. Awards will be presented at 6:30. For information contact Jennifer Rogers at (510) 658-9811.

The Monthly and Amsterdam Art, co-sponsor for the past two years, are proud to use the magazine’s celebrated cover space to feature the work of talented local youth. We want to also express our appreciation for the dedicated parents and talented art teachers in our local schools and art programs. Without their creativity and hard work, many of these budding artists might not have tried their hands at painting, collage, or sketching. We thank them for supporting their students and our contest every year.

One of our past winners, Naomi Drexler, whose pastel and watercolor piece Eyes of Sorrow was featured on our September 2004 cover, went on to win the prestigious Congressional Art Competition representing U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee’s Ninth District. Drexler’s painting hangs with more than 400 other pieces by high school artists in the tunnel that connects the Senate to the House of Representatives. Entering her senior year at Berkeley High, Drexler, 17, will work as a teacher’s assistant in the Advanced Placement art class next year.

The past four years’ contest winners will be added to our website in the future. Please make sure to check back and see the wealth of creativity we have in the East Bay.

For more information contact the Contest Founder/Director: Jennifer Rogers at (510) 658-9811


The Winners

First-place winner Lillian Nelson, 16, comes from a family that appreciates art. The youngest of four children, Nelson has studied visual art in school since middle school. Her brother and older sisters did too, she says. "I’ve jumped on the bandwagon."

But Nelson, who will begin her junior year at Piedmont High School this month, is hardly a young woman to dedicate herself to something if she doesn’t really want to. While art is one of her biggest interests, Nelson spends four hours a day, five days a week practicing gymnastics.

"It’s a really big part of my life," she says. "I feel more focused and organized because I don’t have a lot of time for everything else."

At this point Nelson isn’t sure whether she’ll pursue gymnastics in college (her coach’s goal for her is that she get a gymnastics scholarship). But she’s committed to continuing both loves–gymnastics and art–through high school.

The winning piece, Distorted Tiger, is Nelson’s favorite of her own work. It’s made with pastel, which Nelson likes because she can control it better than paint.

"I can’t do people really well but I can do animals," she says. "I like the challenge."

Second-place winner Olivia Fu likes to give her realistic paintings a little twist–make the colors a bit brighter than they appeared to her eye–but her skill for capturing the perspective and scale of a landscape caught our judge’s eye.

This acrylic landscape, which is untitled, is one of many Fu has made recently. Among her favorites of her own works are the landscapes and still lifes. Some of those still lifes are the traditional fruit in a basket, but her number one favorite is of a hamburger. Another she is fond of is of an electric chair onstage in front of a movie theater, for the statement it makes about public executions.

"I really like expressing the way I feel through my art," says the Piedmont High junior. "I’m not abstract. I like realistic things and making things look the way I see them."

When third-place winner Haley Ward’s mom suggested she enter a piece of artwork into The Monthly’s cover contest, Ward made a casual mental note of it. But when her art teacher at school made the same suggestion, she sat up and took notice.

In the end she submitted her favorite work so far: a portrait of that very same art teacher, Karen Carbone, painted with acrylics from a freehand drawing, and then dipping the piece in India ink. The ink goes only where there is no paint and creates a smoky texture.

"I like this one a lot," Ward says. "It’s really abstract and looks kind of antique." This piece was also Ward’s first try at abstraction, having made several more realistic portraits already, including one of herself and a friend as children dressed in cowgirl outfits.

At home Ward likes to sketch in pencil. She also pitches for a local softball team and traveled through the state this summer playing other intramural teams.

Honorable Mentions:

Allie Yu, Untitled Landscape, Watercolor - Piedmont High School

Alexandria Foot, The Vixen, Tempera Paint / India Ink - Acalones High School, Lafayette

Nina Viakhireva, Please be Seated, Acrylic - Piedmont High School

Sophie Theis, Untitled, Colored Pencil - Piedmont High School

Samantha Curl, Flakeyman, Tempera - Acalones High School, Lafayette

Lexi Visco, 1059 Euclid Ave, Acrylic - Holy Names High School, Oakland

Kimberly Huppert, Blue Tuxedo, Collage - Piedmont High School



Alexandria Foot
Acalones High School, Lafayette
The Vixen
Tempera Paint / India Ink

Click here for all Honorable mention pictures




Amalia Nelson-Croner, Garage Sale, Acrylic - Albany High School

Lauren Phipps, Majestic Egyptian, Acrylic on papyrus - Prospect Sierra, El Cerrito

Jose Perez, Safari, Water Color - San Leandro High School

Rafael Opeda, Tesselation, Tempera paint - Emery Secondary School, Emeryville

Briony Gylgayton, Window of Opportunity, ink print - Acalones High School, Lafayette

Justina Davidson, Roadtrip, monotype - Youth Arts Studio, Berkeley

Keith A. Ching, Fire and Ice, colord pencil and collage - Alameda High

Lexi Visco, Spain, Acrylic - Holy Names High School, Oakland

Sophie Benioff-White, untitled, chalk pastel - Black Pine Circle, Berkeley