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Recycled art by Addison Schultz

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

In a year-long sketchbook assignment, Addison Schultz uses plastic wrappers, utensils and bags to illustrate the importance of ocean wildlife conservation.

The Feather Featured Art series is chosen by art teacher Vickey Belmont from her classes and/or independent art students. Belmont picks the best work during current units and encourages  students to participate in these occasional posts. Other students are encouraged to submit art pieces as well. Please contact the editors directly or via adviser Greg Stobbe for submissions.

Description: Throughout the year, art teacher Vickey Belmont asks her students to curate a visual art sketchbook containing pieces that get the students’ creative juices flowing. After last year’s list of weekly sketchbook prompts, the switch to a monthly check of the journals takes the pressure off the creativity. Belmont feels that the update allows students to express themselves in a more personal way.

The only requirements concerning the sketchbooks are that they be organized and thought out. Other than that, students are free to create! Students use various mediums found in their homes and classrooms to enhance their pieces.

According to Belmont, the sketchbook prompts in the past limited students’ creativity and their desire for perfection overtook the projects. By instituting a new notebook idea, Belmont strives toward individualism in art. Check out this resource that explains visual journals.

“I feel that art should come from the individual and be an expression of what they see and who they are,” Belmont said. “So this year students are using their sketchbooks as visual journals. A visual journal is a personal creative book that enables you to personalize and document your discovery, development, and educational journey. They are required to submit four entries every month.”

The students can use any medium or technique such as news print, magazines, colored paper, tissue paper, water color, colored pencils and they can collage, paint, draw, doing whatever they want to express themselves.

Belmont’s students express themselves in various ways, from landscapes made of cotton balls and watercolors to animals adorned in tissue paper and glue. Belmont shares the accomplishments of Art III student Addison Schultz, ’21, this year.

“Addison Schultz is a very accomplished artist and I have had her in my class for three years,” Belmont said. “She expressed her desires to save the turtles by not using plastic and recycling. She used discarded materials which is called ‘recycled art’ to expression this in her journal.”

Activism through art by Addison Schultz

At the end of each month in our art class, we are required to turn in four visual journal entries to demonstrate our artistic practice throughout the month. As an Art III student, I have the choice whether or not to partake in the assignments of the class, so this journal really helps me to express myself without a short deadline.

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

In a correlating piece, Schultz used paper straws to show a practical way to engage in ocean conservation.

In beginning this page of the journal, thoughts began to surface about the topics I was writing about in my publications class, The Feather. I am currently tackling a project on student voice in world issues and the importance of that voice in public discussion.

One of these issues is ocean pollution. Whether or not we advocate for this issue, ignore it, or don’t have an opinion, we should all be aware of what is happening in our oceans. Wildlife is dying from trash in the sea; this is destroying our ecosystem.

The main purpose for this art piece was to show that with every piece of plastic we purchase and throw away, sea creatures are consuming it. It is killing them and this piece shows that trash is replacing life. This shouldn’t be happening and we have the power to stop it.

The image itself is a green turtle drawn with colored pencil. I ventured around my house and found plastic cups, ketchup packets, cellophane wrap, and other plastic items to cut up and paste onto the turtle. This shows that rather than throwing away plastic, it can be recycled into art.

The second piece correlates with the turtle: a group of paper straws. Next to the straws is an artistic display of the saying, “paper over plastic”. This encourages people to see that there are practical ways to save our oceans, you don’t have to be an environmentalist or scientist to participate.

I have always loved creating art, especially with a message behind it. I currently manage my own art business, Art by Addi, and sell watercolor cards, paintings, and portraits. Sharing this passion through art class continually acts as an outlet for creative expression.

I am not an active advocate for solving ocean pollution, but if we can use art to benefit something greater than ourselves, we should.

For previous art posts, read Feature art No. 1, 2019-20 as Brittany McCann talks art elements and Featured art, No. 7, 2018-19. For some recent articles, read EDITORIAL: Students impact public discussion, face attacks or FC homecoming theme highlights board games, poses new challenge.

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