Picture perfect view into DBHS art

Although many high school students take AP courses to prepare their college years, not many students know about the AP Studio Art course taught at Diamond Bar High School.

AP Studio Art is a college level course for students who are interested in pursuing art and fashion as a career. In the class, students focus on creating personal portfolios, creating art that represents their best talents and skills. The class also includes special projects, such as the students’  “Trashy Chic” fashion show last month.

During the first semester, the course focuses on the concepts that the students previously learned in “Fundamentals of Arts,” such as shading and spherical placement. As they progress, studio art teacher Colleen Gee gradually  allows the students to work on their own with whatever materials they desire, such as pens and paint.

The second semester’s sole purpose is to allow the students to work on their portfolio independently with some assistance from the teacher. Art done by students ranges from individual portraits to paintings about their lives  and what’s important to them.

“My job as a teacher is to encourage them to go out of their comfort zone,” Gee said. “It’s a lot of fun to work with these kids because they are motivated and interested to be the best that they can be.”

To complete the course, students are required to submit their portfolio containing  24 works of original art. In all her class periods, Gee has 25 students. The small class size allows Gee to work with the students one on one. With the artistic freedom, students are able to draw inspiration from multiple sources. Because of the multiple art pieces  needed, most students repeat the course to complete their portfolio.

“I get a lot my inspiration from online and social media. Sometimes, the inspirations may not even be from art. For an example, I can look at movies and get inspired,” sophomore Jennifer Lai said.

One of Lai’s major art pieces was inspired by a video recording of an interview with a Holocaust survivor. Lai entered her piece into a contest hosted by Chapman University and stated that it was her first time painting a piece that represented  so much emotion.

“The Holocaust painting was a very meaningful piece that I painted,” Lai said. “I decided to enter because I wanted to try to paint something very deep with emotions.”

During the trash-themed fashion show last month, Gee advised her students to model clothing after the Alexander McQueen collection. In the end, the students were able to showcase their costumes on a makeshift red carpet runway.

“I told them not to buy anything and to go in their garage in their house to put it together,” Gee said, “I want them to see the beauty and the possibilities in media in the materials not usually used for fashion.”

On top of learning how to paint and draw in different perspectives, the class has worked on other art projects involving block printing and cross-hatching.