In efforts to get my blog back functioning how it was in the past, I had an idea to feature some students at Princeton High School, where I work. I think it's important to support students at a young age and give them the proper encouragement and critism. We have some talented students at the high school and I am not afraid to tell them I appreciate their work and that I could learn some things from them. With adults, I think they feel superior and don't want to admit when they don't know something. not I, there is a lot I don't know. Academically, I've only had one art class, which was Drawing 1. I'm self-taught, I am continually teaching myself new techniques and learning what styles I want to convey. I did not grow up around art nor other artist. We drew Poke'mon when I was a kid but that was at age 8 or 9 - I just picked up art again at age 24. We only drew the characters that we didn't have, nobody considered themselves artist -however, I was quite good. It is a lot I missed out on and I am on the journey of relocating those moments of inspiration. I wish somebody would have brought this stuff out of me as a kid, but my parents just didn't know how. I would love to be that support for people and I love hearing from people about their respective support systems.
There is a very talented young lady roaming the halls at Princeton High School by the name of Sophia Spiegel, who is only a junior. This 16 year old art enthusiast has a passion for specifically painting. To my surprise, multiple people in her family were artist. This is something she was born in - how could she escape it?
I transformed a room in my apartment into a studio and Sophia has done the same thing. Small gestures as such, shows how dedicated the artist is to their craft. You cannot come into my living room, there is paint everywhere. I sacrifice chilling and watching TV, maybe with friends, so I could have a quiet space to follow my craft. Being an artist, some people wouldn't understand. Your thought process heightens at random times, you have sleepless nights, your focus grows narrow and you may become less social and engaged with everything around you. Some people cannot handle that and blame it on you "acting brand new" - whatever that means. However, Sophia's friends embrace her, stick by her side and support her interest.
It is very important for an artist to feel comfortable to really "get into their zone" and create a masterpiece. Sophia prefers to paint at home, myself on the other hand, I can paint anywhere as long as I have my supplies. We have in common that we need music playing while we work, it just sets the mood so lovely. I love hip hop and RnB while she loves classical, We both hate "screamo" - I had no idea that was a genre (laughs).
To her convenience, her late grandfather would take her to art classes in the Evendale, Ohio with an artist named, Bob. These classes along with the classes at Princeton High School (studio art, painting 1, and multiple ceramics classes) has help mold her into a magnificant artist who ironically is choosing to study Engineering in college. She wants to eventually open up a studio later in life where she can give art lessons and showcase different pieces. I feel the same way, I've been waiting to see which city I will settle in and then I will make my leap of faith. We are both excited about this endeavor!
One of the first pieces I seen from Sophia was this pond. At first glance I thought it was a sample of claude Monet's work. I haven't gotten into impressionism just yet but she has simply formed her style around it. After our conversation I learned that Monet and Van Gogh are her favorite artist and they have really left an IMPRESSION on her. Impressionism allows her to put forth a lot of effort opposed to other styles of painting.
" I told my mom for Christmas I would like some big canvas the size of my wall. "
I find it completely normal to start off with an idea and in the middle of the painting session it will turn into something else. I go with it, I let my creativity lead me on this journey and I try not to get in the way of it. I use to get really upset and that would cause me to block my thinking capabilities, that ends with me having little to no progress. Sophia uses her anger to her benefit and has made a technique out of it. She literally grabs the paint and throws it onto the canvas.
I would like to use this portion of the article to share some of our conversation.
Christian Drye: What makes your work unique? How do you set yourself aside from other artist?
Sophia Spiegel: Other artist adopt the technique (impressionism) and I was born into it. They're my own techniques, they just happen to be the same as impressionism.
Christian Drye: How does your emotions effect your work? Would you paint about whats wrong?
Sophia Spiegel: Typically, if I am painting it will be with more detail because I focus on it.
CD: I know some parents will try to find what their child is interested in, at an early age. Were your parents the type to let you draw on the walls as a younger child?
SS: No, but they did let me do a lot of watercolor paintings. Now, when I dont have any canvas to use, my mom allows me to paint on my walls. I'm in the midst of painting a sky mural on my ceiling right now.
CD: What is your favorite substrate to paint on?
SS: Canvas. I don't really like the thin canvas, as the ones we use at school (canvas panels) I like the thick edged canvas that I can paint all over the sides.
CD: Other than paint, do you have another media you enjoy?
SS: I like charcoal and I like clay.
CD: A part of your style is grabbing your media. How does paint and charcoal differ for you?
SS: With paint, I can go over it if I mess up. I also like creating new colors by blending. I cannot do those with charcoal.
CD: What is the most challenging thing to you as an artist?
SS: Knowing when to stop. I can be painting for hours at a time. It's hard to see the work for it's true value until you step back and look at it.
CD: Do you have a favorite thing you like to paint?
SS: I love painting ponds - any water.
CD: Are you around that? Is water a calming place for you?
SS: Yes. My mom's side of the family is from Louisiana, so I grew up around the swamp.
CD: How do you keep inspiration? Is there ever a point where you get a mental block?
SS: Yes, I wont paint for months at a time and randomly I will get inspiration to paint. Thats when I have to find canvas.
CD: Does the break help or hurt your creativity?
SS: I think it helps because if I paint too much I lose inspiration. I get burned out.
CD: Is it ever possible to fall out of love (with painting)?
CD: Because it's in you?
CD: I haven't met too many people where, art is just them. A lot of people do it because it's popular or they may want a quick buck. Do you find art to be lucrative or is it more of an outlet?
SS: I don't want to focus my life around it, that's why I want to go to school for engineering so I could just about go anywhere. I think painting is something I want to do as a hobby - but I will always do it.
CD: Art is very subjective, some may like your work while others hate it. How do you deal with the criticism
SS: I haven't had that much criticism from anyone other than my dad, in the beginning of me painting. One day he said, "If you ever paint a horizon line in the middle of the canvas again - I'm never buying you paint."
CD: (laughs) At least you know he's honest with you. Do you like that?
SS: Yes, I appreciate it a lot.
CD: Any closing words? Any shout outs?
SS: Shout out to my dad and my grandpa!
-------- END OF CONVERSATION SECTION-------
AS YOU CAN SEE, SHE IS ONE COOL YOUNG LADY. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HER COOPERATION FOR THIS INTERVIEW. TYPICALLY, I WOULD WRITE THE SCRIPT UP AND SEND IT TO THE PERSON, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I ACTUALLY SAT DOWN TO HAVE A CONVERSATION. THIS INTERVIEW WAS CONDUCTED AT PRINCETON HIGH SCHOOL DURING HER PAINTING CLASS (Relax, her work was completed prior to, and her teacher gave us permission.) I WISH HER THE BEST IN HER MATRICULATION AS A STUDENT AND AN ARTIST. KEEP UP THE BEAUTIFUL WORK, SOPHIA!
To contact Sophia about information please see her at: