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Student Cover Art Contest Winners 2006 contest

Full Coverage
The East Bay Monthly’s Sixth Annual Cover Contest is proud to showcase Jamie Solomon’s Untitled. In addition to devoting our cover to Solomon’s fine chalk pastel, we’ve published the submissions of two very talented second- and third-place winners: Untitled, by Mara Gerson, and Heat, by Lani Fung. This year we received more than 70 submissions, from student artists ranging from sixth through eleventh grade.

The Monthly and co-sponsor Blick Art Materials 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 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.

Local artist Carol Aust will present awards to the three top and seven honorable-mention winners on Sunday, October 8 at Blick’s Art Materials, 811 University Avenue, Berkeley. Reception begins at 6PM, Awards will be presented at 6:30PM. Refreshments will be served. All Honorable Mention winners will be presented with an art “goody” bag. All contest participants who attend the ceremony will receive a free sketchbook, and may pick up their artwork at this time. All winning and honorable mention entires will be on display for the ceremony.

1st Place: Jamie Solomon, Untitled (chalk pastel). Click image for larger view. 2nd Place: Mara Gerson, Untitled (colored pencil and oil pastel) 3rd Place: Lani Fung, Heat (chalk pastel). Click image for larger view.

Jamie Solomon, Piedmont High School, Untitled (chalk pastel)

Jamie Solomon has enjoyed drawing and sketching for years, but the portrait on our cover this month was one of Solomon’s first pieces made using chalk pastels.

“The stuff I do is most often pencil sketches in a sketchbook,” she says. “This was one of the first times I’ve worked with chalk pastels and I fell in love with it. I sat there for six hours putting on tons of pastel and I really like the way it turned out.”

Solomon, 17, enters her senior year at Piedmont High this month. This first place–winning piece was made for an assignment in Solomon’s advanced-placement art class last year. Students were asked to pick a theme and then to make three pieces of art with that theme in mind.

Solomon chose to focus on the idea of isolation and used her sister, Terry, as a model for each piece.
“I decided to explore the different ways people isolate themselves,” she says. “One of the pieces I made is of my sister sitting in the corner of the bathroom at school because when my friends and I were frustrated with a teacher we’d go to the bathroom and sit there talking.”

Another piece in the series shows a group of passengers on a BART train, none of them relating directly to one another.

“They’re each listening to music or reading the newspaper, in that way people can be alone even in a group,” Solomon says.

Always “the artist in the family,” Solomon enjoys acting and singing in her school’s drama department productions and she’s keeping an open mind about what life after high school will bring.

“I’m an artistically inclined person but in terms of doing that for a career or studying it in college, I’m not sure how far I’d take it,” she says. “I’m trying to figure that out.”

Mara Gerson
, Prospect Sierra, Untitled (colored pencil and oil pastel)

In this second place–winning image Mara Gerson was inspired by color. As a student artist at Oakland’s Junior Center of Art and Science last year Gerson chose a photograph of a young African girl in bright traditional costume, and sat down to copy it with colored pencils and oil pastels.

“The jewelry and costume were interesting to me,” Gerson says.
Gerson, who began tenth grade at Berkeley High this month, has been interested in making art since she was a little kid, when she went to summer art camps and learned how to draw and paint. But it was in middle school that she really started focusing on art.

“I started taking classes in figure drawing and learning to make shadows,” she says. “I keep a sketchbook with me now and draw people I see around me.

“I enjoy drawing people the most,” she continues. “I try to capture the personality and what they’re thinking. I think you can get that feeling with a person and not necessarily with an object or even an animal.”

What the girl in this picture might be thinking about, Gerson cannot guess. But her look invites Gerson to think about life in another part of the world. “She lives in a totally different culture.”

In addition to art, Gerson enjoys dancing, both jazz and modern. In school she’s on the diving team. But her artist’s eye is always in focus.

“I enjoy incorporating color into different parts of my life, like the things I wear,” she says.

Lani Fung
, Piedmont High School, Heat (chalk pastel)

For Lani Fung, making art has been an inspiration. In her art class at school, she’s discovered the pleasure of creating beautiful things.

“I’ve started to see color and brightness in the world,” she says. “That’s why I chose to make this piece using every color of the rainbow.”

The girl in this third place–winning portrait is Fung herself. For a class assignment, Fung chose to explore the idea of “hot” for a series of pieces. This piece shows the sun giving off a rainbow of heat onto Fung.
“ This was definitely my favorite piece of the whole year. It was a turning point,” she says. “I loved it because I got to choose what I did.”

Fung took advantage of that freedom with the materials as well as the concept for the piece. Having used chalk pastels before, she’d looked at books to see how other artists worked with them. Then she broke off and found her own style.

“I didn’t want to blend them with my finger. I liked letting them blend themselves. They come out brighter that way.”

Entering her senior year at Piedmont High this month, Fung also enjoys sports. She studied gymnastics for ten years and now is taking tennis lessons. She hopes to continue making art well beyond high school.

“ It eases my mind and makes the academic stuff a lot easier.”


Alejo Kraus-Polk, Head Royce School, Ray Charles (silk screen)
Yan Ling, Piedmont High School, Red Shoes (oil pastel)
Anna London, Miramonte High School, Lifeline (acrylic on canvas)
Lucy Sherman, Berkeley High School, Majority (colored pencil)
Merissa Spoer, Maybeck High School, Shaky Bones (acrylic)
Blake Tamaki, Piedmont High School, Shadows #1 (acrylic)
Haley Ward, Acalanes High School, Jenny and the Orchids (tempera and ink)

anna lucy blake haley
Anna London, Miramonte High, Lifeline Lucy Sherman, Berkeley High, Majority Blake Tamaki, Piedmont High Shadows Haley Ward, Acalanes High, Jenny and the Orchids

alejo yan merissa
Alejo Kraus-Polk, Head Royce, Ray Charles Yan Ling, Piedmont High, Red Shoes Merissa Spoer, Maybeck, Shaky Bones

Art Director's picks.
Here are some other entries that caught the eye of Monthly Art Director Andreas Jones

Tara Apriletti, Berkeley High School, Untitled (acrylic)
Jaclyn Berry, No school listed, Empty Blue (colored pencil)
Mollie Budiansky, Albany High, Fairy in the Zebra Plant (mixed media)
Carlos Chavez. Berkeley High School, The Artist's Universe (paper)
Ariane Chee, Head Royce School, " " (monoprint)
Nora Curley, Head Royce, Untitled (monoprint)
Matt Dee, Maybeck High School, I am King (acrylic)
Lila Elias, No school listed, Mystery (chalk pastel)
Maria Epstein, Bentley School, Waterfalling (mixed media)
Laura Glass, Piedmont High School, Old House (acrylic)
Hugh Green, Head Royce, Contra mark (collage)
Zoe Janson, The College Preparatory School, Lollipops and an exam (mixed media)
Alexander Kung, Berkeley High School, Supplies Surprise (pencil, pen, color pencil)
Roxanne Leong, Head Royce, Untitled (watercolor)
Laniey Racah, Head Royce, Untitled (paint)
Eric Rubin, Head Royce, Self Portrait (oil pastel)
Matt Seneca, Berkeley High School, ©MS2006-This Month's Pinup (colored pencil)
Ruby Shapiro, Berkeley High School, Ossel (oil pastel)
Merissa Spoer, Maybeck High School, Sleepwalker (acrylic)
Merissa Spoer, Maybeck High School, Raw Head and Bloody Bones Bones (acrylic)
Alex Stevenson, No school listed, Nameless (oil pastel)
Doug Yi Wa, Piedmont High School, Monks (chalk pastel)

For more information call Blick Art Materials in Berkeley at 510.486.2600