May 12 - Aug 6, 2023
Visions is a year-long invitational visual arts program that has been provided to Valley teens for 24 years. In collaboration with six high schools, students attended monthly workshops conducted by professional artists, toured universities, and connected with exhibitions offered by SMoCA.
Visions is a year-long invitational visual arts program that has been provided to Valley teens for 24 years. In collaboration with six high schools, students attended monthly workshops conducted by professional artists, toured universities, and connected with exhibitions offered by SMoCA. Visions ’23 highlights the skills, inspirations, and ideas exchanged between students and artists over the course of the 2022–23 program.
Organized by Brittany Arnold, community engagement manager for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation.
The Visions program is supported by the City of Scottsdale, Nationwide, the Greenhut Family—In Memory of Sandy Greenhut, Scottsdale Unified School District, Paradise Valley Unified School District, Tempe Unified High School District, and New School for the Arts & Academics. Additional support for this program is provided in part by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, which receives support from the state of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Visions ’23 Opening Reception
Friday, May. 12, 2023, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Premiering in the galleries of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), join these talented young adults as they share their stories and passions at the Visions ‘23 opening reception. Awards will be announced, light refreshments provided, and SMoCA will be open for free from 6 to 8 p.m. You won’t want to miss it!
Geochrome, 2023Acrylic on folded paper New School for the Arts & Academics
My art piece is based on the concept that all images we see on digital devices are only composed of three colors: red, green, and blue. These three colors are the basis of everything that's seen on a screen and made me think of the concept of a universal identity. I wanted to break the idea that these three colors are limited to the digital realm by making them physical, tangible, and three dimensional. I took the regular rectangles of colors present in LCD screens and morphed and extruded them into pyramids. Seeing the sharp lines and punchy colors of Matthias Düwel’s paintings during his workshop was a seed of inspiration for this project.
Heart Word, 2023Mixed media Desert Mountain High School
This piece encompasses who I am as a person with words that have motivated me the most in my life. I was inspired by Jim Dine's colorful hearts, which I wanted to turn into a 3D work, as well as Rebecca Pipkin's use of dyed fabrics. I analyzed all the words in my life that hold significance to me to inspire others. For example, the word “discipline” is the "why" behind everything I do—the refusal to give up and the idea that if you show up you will get better. The message of my work is to find inspiration in the words surrounding you—to always keep going despite the obstacles and remember why you started.
Have Some Love, 2023Oil, acrylic, and photo transfer on wood Shadow Mountain High School
Filled with love, the Black community continues to hold itself up above the waves of oppression that try to drag it down. With this support, we’re able to overcome the challenges we encounter. Inspired by the movement and abstract nature of Angela Masker's artwork, I incorporated these elements to help express rhythm and vibrancy. These surreal aspects connect my sense of self into my illustration of the Black community to depict my inclusion within it. Despite our ongoing persecution, we maintain our strength and help each other succeed in times of defeat. Through this, we keep our spirits high and persevere.
Relacion Ciego; De Nuevo, 2023Mixed media Tempe High School
These pieces are meant to demonstrate the beginnings of a relationship with another human being: the complex exploration of human emotion. It is to show that everyone has some kind of background that has shaped them to be the person they are now, even when it's not apparent at first. Rebecca Pipkin is resourceful in her use of materials, and drawing inspiration from her, I plan to do the same, using repurposed and found objects in my work to demonstrate the complexity and variety of human relationships.
Monumentally Us, 2023Gelatin-silver prints, acrylic on canvas and wood Central High School
I was very inspired by Shorty Greene because she used mixed media with photos and drew out her emotions on a topic. Therefore, I painted Monument Valley, which is in Navajo Nation, and I have my photos showing Native American culture. Since I am Diné (Navajo), I have also cut out circular pieces of wood and painted them the same design as a traditional Navajo basket and placed them around my painting. I have also taken photos of Native American people in regalia, which are items to show and represent our culture.
الأقصى 2023Ceramics Desert Mountain High School
This piece represents the relationship I hold with my personal identity as a Palestinian American. The mosque painted on these tiles is the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which I have visited for many years. As a Palestinian living during the Palestine/Israeli conflict, it is challenging to return to Jerusalem and see this mosque again. On top of these struggles, my family and I are forced to go through harsh processes to visit our family, which is extremely disappointing to me. This was influenced by the artist Bre Kohlmeyer as she creates pieces that represent the most vulnerable components of her identity. I was moved by the way she goes out of her comfort zone to create beautiful artwork. الأقصى = the name of the mosque in Arabic (pronounced Al-Aqsa)
Time Passing By, 2023Oil and thread on canvas Shadow Mountain High School
This piece is about how my identity, and the way I present myself, has changed over the last 18 years. To depict this change, I decided to create an oil-painted self-portrait for every year that I have been alive. The workshop we did with Gloria Martinez-Granados inspired me to weave meaningful color into my art in an unusual way by connecting my self-portraits with thread. I would like the viewers of my work to see the connection between identity and outward presentation.
Real People, 2023Mixed media Chaparral High School
My intention is to capture raw and real emotions through portraiture. Throughout my process, I have tried taking photos of people I know, but I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I eventually got out of my comfort zone and found strangers to capture. Without the constraints of knowing the people I was photographing, I was able to capture the emotions I wanted. Kari Wehrs is a photographer who inspired me. Her project on her grandparents was inspiring and full of passion and feelings. I took how the black and white aspects of her work made me feel and turned those emotions into photos for myself.
A.O.1.L., 2023Mixed media Chaparral High School
In my piece, I want to show how the human body's complexity can be morphed and changed into something both beautiful and creepy. The human physical body is already beautiful on its own, but I wanted to add another layer of introspection through the distortions. During Visions, I was influenced by Anitah Diggs and the way she stretched the human form through photo editing. I wanted to accomplish a similar technique but through various mediums, such as painting and three-dimensional elements.
Grasping at Time, 2023Acrylic on canvas New School for the Arts & Academics
I have a lot of emotions going on as my senior year comes to a close, and I’ve started to ask myself where all the time went. These past few years of my life have felt like something I’ve lost, and I’ve started grasping at both past events and the time I have left before I graduate. In what I’ve experienced in this program, I’ve found that mapping my identity out has helped me a lot in coming up with concepts in my art. I’ve always struggled a lot with my sense of self, and I find that this knowledge has helped me communicate it as well as conveying the absence of familiarity with my own being.
Infantry, 2023Gouache on paper Shadow Mountain High School
Today there are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in at least 20 countries, according to Theirworld, an organization dedicated to the future and potential of the next generation. “Think of the children,” our forefathers and figureheads remind us, while instigating international conflict at the detriment of the younger populous. Conscription and forced deployment bring youth to the frontlines; those back home are not safe either. Inspired by the works of Matthias Düwel and Papay Solomon, these snapshots of the struggles combating child soldiers implore the audience to reflect upon the price of war.
Untitled, 2023Mixed media New School for the Arts & Academics
This work was inspired from a drawing I did last year, which was the lowest I felt with my mental health. This work symbolizes how I felt at the time. The skeleton represents how I physically and mentally felt weak and disgusted. The moths and bugs represent my intrusive and degrading thoughts and how they would flow through my head. My inspirational artist is Lizz Denneau whose use of found objects inspired the materials used.
Medusa, 2023Mixed media on plexiglass New School for the Arts & Academics
Medusa is a Greek mythological monster figure who was taken advantage of, killed, and beheaded by various gods. However, even in the face of tragedy, she became an important symbol as a woman who found a way to defend herself. I find the story of Medusa relatable because people close to me have been in similar situations as victims of trusting others who have hurt them in the end. The story of Medusa is an empowerment symbol for me and my loved ones. My artist of inspiration is Erin DiGiovanni. Her work inspires me to draw from life experiences and expresses them in a powerful, uplifting way.
Untitled, 2023Emulsion transfer on glass Chaparral High School
These photographs explore the feeling I had following my first major experience of loss. By using desolate environments, I hoped to incorporate how the sense of melancholy and unsettledness that I felt encompassed me. I wanted to integrate lighting within the framing of my piece to help examine the way these emotions can be portrayed “in different lights.” The artist, Kari Wehrs, inspired me to explore the documentation of themes involving family and life in the face of loss. I was further inspired by the technical processes of emulsion transfer with Benjamin Timpson.
Shower Thoughts, 2023Mixed media Tempe High School
This piece was influenced by a drawing I had stored away, and when looking for inspiration in my old drawings, I was looking for something that nobody talks about. My piece is showing a woman in the shower with a presence watching over her. This presence is there to represent the bad thoughts some may have that no one knows about. The glass is there to show the vulnerability that one feels while in the shower. Along with this, the glass will be painted as if the shower is raining to show the thoughts flooding her brain. Bre Kohlmeyer is the artist who stood out when making my piece, Shower Thoughts, with all the bright colors she uses when painting on her ceramics. Esta pieza fue influenciada por un dibujo que tenía guardado, y al buscar inspiración en mis viejos dibujos buscaba algo de lo que nadie habla. Mi pieza actual se muestra como una mujer en la ducha con algún tipo de presencia cuidándola. Esta presencia en mi pieza está ahí para representar los malos pensamientos que algunos pueden tener y que nadie sabe. Las otras capas, como el vidrio, están ahí para mostrar la vulnerabilidad que uno siente mientras se ducha. Junto con esto, el vidrio se pintará como si la ducha estuviera realmente lloviendo para mostrar los pensamientos que inundan su cerebro.
Grey Skies, 2023Gelatin-silver prints, digital photography, cyanotypes Central High School
I wanted to show the different aspects of being queer and the painful, confusing, beautiful, and extraordinary things that come with it. From gun violence to unconditional love and acceptance, there are especially distinctive experiences within the community that I wanted to highlight. I think it's important to show the injustices while also expressing the joyous things as well. I was inspired by Shorty Greene to incorporate different textures into my art. By using an array of mediums, it adds a unique element that complements the themes of queerness in my piece.
Lanterns, 2023Mixed media Desert Mountain High School
These pieces are based off of past childhood memories. I want to display major/meaningful points of my past, showing the lessons I learned are still shining down on me today. Each lantern represents a different/separate memory. The displays inside each lantern show both literal and symbolic depictions of what I associate with memory. The artist that I took inspiration from was Mary Meyer and her leaf-based sculptures. I really enjoy her idea of using botanical elements to convey a message. I tried to utilize botanical details to communicate the emotions and images connected to these memories.
Mirrors, 2023Gelatin-silver prints, digital photography Central High School
This series of photos represents the different aspects of me and my life. The Visions experience has taught me to open up and accept change. It has really helped me to grow and open up as an artist, and these photographs reflect that. The use of traditional photography was used to give the viewer the symbolism of my piece, and mixing with digital brings color and life to my series. The mirrors make the piece more interactive, and the way the viewer conveys these photographs is all up to them. When you look in the mirror and look back at the images, I hope that there is a feeling of being freed. The use of mirrors brings the piece together, and when you look at yourself, you see you for who you are.
Blink of an Eye, 2023Digital photography Central High School
My piece is based on the effects of domestic violence in relationships. It looks into a family perspective, specifically the women’s point of view. It shows when a man raises his hands or voice, it can completely tear apart a family. The outfits were chosen to show a so-called “picture perfect,” traditional family in the 1960s. The “love letters” are there to show how the beginning or “honeymoon phase” may seem perfect. One would never expect it to turn out the way it does. The relationship doesn’t start out with violence, otherwise the relationship would have never begun in the first place. This piece shows how the relationship has evolved.
I’m Not Your Puppet, 2023Mixed media Tempe High School
This piece expresses how I feel about today’s eccentric beauty standards. The artist I took inspiration from was Rebecca Pipkin. I liked her technique of paper mâché and decided to use that in my own piece. Encompassing my past experiences and present experience, the statues symbolize different roles when it comes to beauty standards acting upon one—particularly the influences and community that we grow up in, while also having to conform to society’s constant expectations. I felt the pressure of having to conform to both groups, ultimately causing me to have trouble understanding the basic question: Who am I?
A Moment That Can Last Forever, 2023Digital photography Central High School
My real emotions are caught on camera to make a moment last forever. I took pictures of real and intimate moments between friends and family, and this is what I would like to express through my work. Shorty Greene was the main inspiration for my project. Greene is an amazing artist that I got the privilege to work with. She works on collages by making a simple subject convey so much more through her art. Therefore, I based my images on collages that symbolize everyday emotions. My images were shot in a moment of feeling.
Forgotten Nizhoni, 2023Clay and acrylic paint Tempe High School
This piece is inspired by the political movement Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Awareness of this issue began on the Indian reservations when Native women were going missing faster and more often than other women. I made the face with no detail beside a red handprint on her mouth to show Native American girls who go missing are being erased from history. I included the newspaper background to show the amount of media attention compared to missing persons cases on the news. I hope to bring awareness to MMIW and for Native women to know: You are not forgotten.
The Glass Ceiling, 2023Mixed media Chaparral High School
Throughout the year, I have tried to understand the privilege I hold as a white gay man photographing women and women of color. Experimenting with concepts such as the glass ceiling and the male gaze, I hope to represent the preservation of the power and strength of my models, while still encapsulating my artistic vision. By putting myself in the same position that my models have been in, I am in the spotlight of the male gaze to fully understand what it is like to be vulnerable, dehumanized, and often misportrayed. Artists that inspired me are Anitah Diggs and Shoreigh Williams, who incorporate artistic elements of distortion, oversaturation, and bold lines.
I Love Dragons, 2023Painted clay tiles New School for the Arts & Academics
I Love Dragons is a mixed media painting series made in reflection of my childhood. Since I learned to draw, my favorite thing to depict has always been dragons and beasts. They have stuck by my side through thick and thin, outlasting any other interests. Fantasy creatures do something no other living beast can in that they are anything you could ever want them to be. I used techniques learned from Angela Masker by layering paint with colored pencil and other tools. I was also inspired by Lizz Denneau to make art that truly means something to me.
No Safe Spaces, 2023Acrylic and photo transfer on canvas Shadow Mountain High School
While on Instagram, I noticed an overwhelming amount of hate comments under a post about the recent Colorado Springs nightclub shooting. In my piece, I wanted to express how scary it can be to identify as LGBTQIA+ today, specifically online, because people can abuse their anonymity to attack others. I was inspired by Gloria Martinez-Granados to paint about an issue personal to my community. I was also inspired by Owen Rival to push my use of multiple strong and colorful light sources. I thought this technique would work well with my composition to make the image of me pop out of the darkness. All of the hate comments in the background are real and were collected over multiple days on Instagram. My goal is to show the reality of what LGBTQIA+ people have to face every day.
Shrooms, 2022–2023Acrylic on canvas (painting), acrylic on wood (mural) New School for the Arts & Academics
I grew up as the “shy kid” and eventually wanted to be more sociable. I'm trying to do new things and step out of my comfort zone. This mural represents my growth. It uses a lot of colors, shapes, and patterns, which are part of my visual vocabulary. Creating this piece as a community mural was a way for people to have fun and talk. Doing something community-based demonstrates my ability to socially branch out. While creating this work, I realized just how many people I have supporting me. Angela Masker’s workshop taught me stream-of-consciousness drawing, which helped my creative process.
Violet Shadows, 2023Jewelry beading, artificial flowers, and oil on wood panel New School for the Arts & Academics
Violet Shadows is an expression of self-image. It depicts a girl who appears to be distraught and holding a butterfly. The butterfly is meant to symbolize hope for a better future. I wanted to create something that is beautiful and simultaneously chaotic. Placing beads hanging from the wood expresses tears of inner pain that come with having a negative self-image. This work expresses my reality that what seems to be beautiful for others from the outside can, in reality, be painful on the inside. Angela Masker’s work is most inspiring because they draw women and anatomy in an interesting style.
Born and Raised, 2023Mixed Media Chaparral High School
In this artwork, I wanted to explore my sense of home in relation to the emotional connections I have to places and people. Going into this process, I knew I wanted to work with mirrors, paralleling a look into the past. My definition of home revolves more around the people and experiences related to places rather than the places themselves. Benjamin Timpson influenced my creation of this piece because of his advice on how we should present our work confidently, and through his workshop on transferring images onto unorthodox bases.
Hand and Me, 2023Ceramics Desert Mountain High School
This piece represents the impact family has on me as an individual and the protection and safety they provide. Rather than creating a physical family, I wanted to create a visual representation of its significance to me because family is not just blood relation but all those who provide a feeling of comfort. The piece’s large hand is that representation, providing safety for the small person clinging to the finger. An artist that inspired me was Lizz Denneau and her use of sculpture to portray vulnerability—something that I tried to incorporate in order to fully communicate the message of the piece.
My Father, 2023Ceramics Desert Mountain High School
This piece was influenced by two artists: my father Anthony Smith-Chaigneau and Bre Kohlmeyer. Growing up with an artistic parent had a large impact on my life and how I express myself creatively. The idea of my sculpture is to make an abstract lamp that reflects light all around it to depict how my father has been a light in my life in various ways. Additionally, I was inspired by Bre Kohlmeyer and her use of curviness in her ceramic sculptures to create almost human-like forms. Given the opportunity to create a piece in which I had freedom and ways to express myself, I wanted to build something that would honor my father but also incorporate what I’ve learned throughout my Visions experience.
The Grey Area, 2023Gelatin-silver prints, digital photography Central High School
They say your eyes are the windows to your soul. This is why I wanted to express true emotions using digital and traditional photography. Not everyone feels comfortable expressing or showing their true emotions, so I made my subjects as comfortable as I possibly could. My main inspiration for this was Beverly McIver. She is an artist that expresses her depression in paintings. I immediately knew that I wanted to be able to capture that much detail of how one truly feels in my photographs.
The Tormented Man, 2023Acrylic on canvas Shadow Mountain High School
The main theme of this piece is the feeling of turmoil, something that most of us have had to go through at some point in our lives. It is a feeling that, to some, can be extremely suffocating. I convey this with the image of one unfortunate man who is restrained by a marsh of absolute turmoil, choking and submerging him back into the depths. This painting was inspired by Matthias Düwel, who uses lines and strokes in an uncoordinated manner until they eventually bring the artwork together. We will all eventually have to escape from our turmoil at some point in our lives. In the moment it can sometimes feel hopeless. The man is breaking the boundaries of the canvas, representing how some of us are still trying to escape from our own personal turmoil.
Our Grieving Mothers, 2023Scratchboard Shadow Mountain High School
Through everything, I will always be my mother’s daughter. I am an extension of her. It has always been clear that my siblings and I are the world to her. In 2019, we lost my brother. For the last three years, I have witnessed the impact this has had on my mother. She is the strongest woman I know. Losing a child is something no parent should have to experience. Through her grieving journey, I have seen how grief affects motherhood. Our Grieving Mothers was inspired by Gabriela Muñoz’s series Brown on Brown. She explores motherhood and the role of women in society, focusing on the idea that women are a source of power. I want to share the same message of power in motherhood. This piece features the portraits and stories of three women in my life who have experienced this loss firsthand.
Endangered, 2023Oil on canvas Shadow Mountain High School
My piece Endangered was created with oil paint on canvas and was inspired by Papay Solomon’s portraits. This painting depicts the loss of childhood and the pressure that society places on us as we grow up. The word “endangered” is used to describe the increasing jowls of responsibility that consume most modern children. To symbolize the cookie-cutter educational, religious, and political systems, the subject is given various pins to represent the pressures of growing up under oppressive and involuntary systems.
Memory Lane, 2023Photo projection Chaparral High School
As I get older, it gets harder to recall memories from my youth. I hate feeling like I'm losing touch with my childhood and not retaining the mementos that make life beautiful. Photography is a way to encapsulate souvenirs of my past that would otherwise be lost in my mind. Through this piece, I’ve realized that memories aren’t as important as the feelings they convey. These photos are meant to express the warm and fuzzy feelings that come with nostalgia. I became inspired by the artist Shorty Green because of her ability to portray emotion and energy through her mixed media work.
Nature Threatened, 2023Ceramics and wire Desert Mountain High School
The inspiration for this piece stemmed from the growing disconnect between humanity and nature. The human figure serves as a representation of Mother Nature, encompassing features of both wildlife and humanity. The wire figures project how nature has slowly become industrialized and domesticated, still imitating the natural beauty we once appreciated. I've grown up alongside rapid technological growth, altering the way I perceive the world and interact with it. Through my time in Visions, Veralyn Johnson's workshop gave me a good foundation for beginning my sculpture. Although she often works with cardboard, learning how to visualize sculpting a 3D organism made the beginning stages of my piece much easier.
Eleutheria, 2023Mixed media Chaparral High School
My piece is about the ongoing struggle of the people of Iran with the Islamic regime. Through this piece, I wanted to address the human rights violations, censorship, and political oppression that the Iranian people have faced under this regime. I also hope to highlight the bravery and resilience of those who continue to fight for their rights, despite the risks, to inspire others to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and support their struggle for freedom and justice. I was inspired by Anitah Diggs’s photographs and her surrealist representation of reality that challenges our perception and understanding of the world around us. به نام آزادی و عدالت, نوشته من در مورد مبارزه مستمر مردم ایران با رژیم اسلامی است. هدف من از طریق این قطعه، جلب توجه به نقض مداوم حقوق بشر، سانسور و سرکوب سیاسی است که مردم ایران در این رژیم با آن مواجه شده اند. من همچنین امیدوارم که شجاعت و پایداری کسانی را که با وجود خطرات به مقاومت و مبارزه برای حقوق خود ادامه می دهند برجسته کنم. به دیگران الهام بخشم که در همبستگی با مردم ایران بایستند و از مبارزات آنها برای آزادی و عدالت حمایت کنند.
Impact, 2023Gelatin-silver prints Central High School
This work is titled Impact because the customized flower bouquets being held by the three most influential people in my life express how they make me feel. Each flower represents sadness, happiness, excitement, and many other feelings. Ansel Adams inspired my work by capturing incredible photographs of nature with the purpose of protecting it. I really love that because these people in my life protect me with their all, and I wanted to capture that in my work. I was also inspired by Anitah Diggs, who captures unique portrait shots that describe fun and happiness. My family made me who I am, and I couldn't thank them any more. What better way to portray a thank you than incorporating them into my work?
Untitled, 2023Acrylic and oil on wood New School for the Arts & Academics
The artist that inspired my series was Matthias Düwel and his creative process of laying down paint and seeing where it takes you. The disastrous state of his work and how things looked like they were in another dimension is reflected in my work. I thought about things that are important to me and I gravitated towards music. Music is a part of my everyday life. I close my eyes to get lost in the sound. I picked four different songs I like to listen to, analyzed the lyrics, and turned them into a visual depiction of how I interpreted the meaning.
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