Painting a New Picture
Art students collaboratively paint a mural to showcase art history.
By Crystal Yeung
Photo | Crystal Yeung
On Dec. 2, the painted bonsai leaves on the tree can be seen after the base colors were painted.
Art teacher Trenton Smith and his students are creating a third mural featuring the artistry of the students and appreciating the different cultures in AHS.
“It’s about combining all of these creative visions and cultures,” Smith said.
Smith and his students started to paint the new mural featuring art history and representing the cultures around campus. It adapts to famous artworks of history such as Picasso, Paul Cezanne, historical Chinese paintings, modern art, Frank Stella, and surrealist art. The new mural will be painted using a special acrylic mural paint transported from Los Angeles called Nova Color. Seven years ago, the mural featuring the Mona Lisa was painted by previous students; however, it was never finished. After Smith landed a job at AHS, he and his students finished the mural by painting a new background as it only had blocks of colors and lines and was faded. After making the adjustments, they had also wanted to paint the other side of the mural. However, the painting never began as the weather changes were a harming factor; the paint could wear off quickly. Now, because our school has the funding and the weather is bearable, Smith and his students are working to aim for their goal of completing the new mural by the end of this year.
“I’ve got to get up early, I’ve got to mix up paint. Then, students get here, and they set up the scaffolding [and] put down cardboard so [the] paint doesn’t spill. Then, they put on aprons, and they start brushing off where we’re going to paint with a kind of a handbroom to get dirt off [because] you want all the paint to stick. So, they’re brooming and then we get the paint that we mix and we get it out there, and they start painting,” Smith said.
Smith shared his thoughts on the new mural as he appreciates the students choice of artworks. Smith also likes the composition of the mural.
“[The new mural is] fun. I like it. I really like the artwork that the students chose, and I like the composition, the way it was put together. I think where [the artworks] got put, like the dragon above the windows [was a good place],” Smith said.
Smith then shared his opinion on the already-painted mural.
“We did paint that. We just added to it, and I think that one is great too. I think it’s composed really well, [but] it was kind of just lacking background and color,” Smith said. “I think it needed to be finished. It needed colors to be added to it, but that was really amazing too. It was a good framework for us to work on. It was really a good easy thing to embellish and make better.”
Freshman Marcus Bautista is one of Smith’s students who have contributed to the mural by painting the backgrounds; the blues in the sky. As Bautista awaits for the completion of the mural, he is excited.
“Honestly, I don’t know exactly what it is, but it looks really good,” Bautista said.
With the lack of art featured around the campus, Bautista hopes to have art be taught and featured in classes other than art classes.
“[We could show more art] mostly in classrooms because [in] some classrooms, [they’re] just fixed on problems that don’t relate to anything [I’m interested in], and art gives me the inspiration to do other stuff,” Bautista said.
Bautista also believes that art is not featured on campus as art is not as an important subject as others.
“[Administrators] make us think [the subjects taught in school are] what you prepare for, but sometimes you don’t really need all that and all you need is creativity,” Bautista said.
Meanwhile, Smith believes that we can showcase more art on campus by setting aside the money as murals are heavily costly. Further, he believes that students’ motivations can aid with the painting process.
“You got to just set aside the money and try to get students who are interested in helping paint and things like that. But, basically just keep doing what we are doing. But to get more [art on campus], make a mural class, but then there’s always a problem of students getting in that class. A lot of people want to paint murals and they can’t get into that class because they [have to] take another class,” Smith said.
Although there are limited artworks featured throughout campus, art influences students like Bautista to feel unique and different.
“Art makes me a better person because it influences me to become different because even though there are a lot of basic stuff, it’s best to be different than other people,” Bautista said. •