VAPA teachers reflect on their students’ growth as artists

By Melanie Ibanez

There are many courses on campus that allow students to showcase their creativity. The visual art classes are taught by very talented and dedicated teachers who are able to show students techniques and new skills to improve their artwork. The visual arts programs allow students to express feelings through art including painting, sculpting, and drawing. 

Year after year, these teachers see students grow as artists and have seen some projects that have blown them away. Here are their favorite pieces this year.  

“My advanced drawing students created deconstructed self portraits, and my Drawing 1 students created personal mandalas,” drawing teacher Emmanuel Crespo said.

In these portraits, students had to take cut up photos of themselves from different angles in order to create a collage. They made it their own by painting over it and presenting the different elements they wanted to show of themselves.

One example of these art pieces is senior Jan Sanpakit’s deconstructed self portrait titled “Contemplation.” Her art piece was accepted into CSUN’s 25th Annual High School Invitational Art Show. It describes her infatuation with metropolitan life.

Most teachers struggled to think of one piece they specifically loved. It is impossible to point out just one when so many students have shown their incredible skills and talent. They see students increase their knowledge and express their emotions through visual means. 

“I don’t have one favorite. That would be impossible. I was so impressed by the quality of work that was presented at the art show, especially,”  VAPA department chair Julie Neumann said.

Drawing teacher Stefani Thomas echoed her colleague’s sentiments.

“My students are just so  talented it’s hard to narrow it down,” Thomas said.

Some teachers mentioned as being particularly impressive included seniors Evelyn Doan, Luna Mendoza, Jan Sanpakit, Diego Perez as well as  juniors Emurille Mangalindan, Candice Lee, and Ava Kim who recently included some of their more creative pieces in this year’s art show. Their teachers were particularly proud of their work.

One of the many projects shown was senior Kali Capper’s skateboard which she made and painted herself.

The community that teachers and students have created in the visual and performing art department has been nothing but enthusiastic and something that everyone appreciates.

“These projects really allowed the students to explore their personal identities and individual stories.  I enjoyed watching them work and become really invested in their pieces,” Crespo said.

The teachers have inspired many students to demonstrate their passions through art of all shapes and forms. They truly care about their profession and enjoy seeing the students’ enthusiasm.

“I really enjoy working with exceptional teachers in the visual and performing arts department.  We have some new faces that have brought enthusiasm and dedication to our students.  I am really excited to see many of the programs within VAPA grow,”  Neumann said.