To Grade 12 student Jaden Luu, digital photography is all in the eyes.
“It’s really just about letting go and seeing what your eyes like instead of thinking about where you’re placing things,” he said.
From Nov. 10 to Nov. 28, Luu and other students from East York Collegiate are presenting the “Urban Abstracts” fall art show at the S. Walter Stewart Library. The art show features digital photographs shot by students from Grades 10, 11 and 12 and then crafted into digital paintings.
Luu’s photo was of a sports field near the University of Toronto’s St. George campus. He chose this location because the scenery, lines and colours appealed to him.
Then he manipulated it with Photoshop, he said, “so that it didn’t look like I took the picture, but more like a painting of some sort.”
Each year for the past decade, East York Collegiate has organized public art shows at the S. Walter Stewart Library. They do two shows every year and the students prepare the pieces by curating, trimming and mounting them in the library.
The students enjoy seeing other people appreciate the effort they put in to making their pieces.
“I feel happy that people are able to see something I’ve done,” said Grade 12 student Gabriel Mollova.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Stephanie Lazaris, another Grade 12 student. “And every year, there’s always a teacher that would want to take one of my art pieces, and that would be a ‘whoa’ moment for me.”
Art teacher Zenaida Pereira, an organizer of the show along with fellow teacher Cristina Lazar, said it’s important for the East York community to understand just what their students are capable of.
“The community is not always aware of how talented the kids are,” she said. “They run into one or two kids and say, ‘Yeah that kid is cool and very talented and etc.’ But when they see a body of work, they’re astounded.”
Pereira has taught art classes in the TDSB for about 25 years, including 10 years at East York Collegiate. She teaches classes that include visual art, animation, and digital photography. Prior to teaching, she was a working artist who also worked with other artists in the traditional and digital worlds.
She believes that art is an important subject for students to learn because it has the ability to invoke powerful feelings inside both the painter and the observer.
“When you’re in front of that piece, you’re now transported to another place,” she said. “And everything just fades away because you’re so enwrapped by what’s around you or in front of you.”
Her students agree.
“Art can be unpredictable,” Lazaris said. “You can do so much with it. It’s all up to the imagination.”
Luu said, “I enjoy art because it’s something that I can let loose on. It’s something fun to do and something that I enjoy doing.”