Student’s Art Portfolio Draws Attention to Real Life Issues

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  • Wood said that in his first project he did the image of a hot air balloon made out of currency to portray the search for satisfaction or happiness through money. The landscape is filled with buildings that bring in a lot of money such as the buildings on Wall Street. Wood said he thinks it’s an issue in society that we think money equals success. “Most importantly I just wanted people to see that the person in the picture that has all of this wealth is still searching even just for a little more wealth. They are not satisfied with what they have,” Wood said.

  • Wood said that this piece is personal to him because someone in his family struggled with alcoholism. “In this piece there is a little bit of a hot air balloon there, but it shows the bottom falling off because he is losing himself in his addiction to alcohol,” Wood said. Wood described that as he falls down each layer, there is more alcohol to symbolize being trapped in the addiction.

  • In this piece Wood said the image of a bird and a beehive is a metaphor for chasing sex and pornography. “I wanted to show someone who desired sex so much that he doesn’t realize that it’s an empty pleasure where it won’t satisfy you fully and that it can also be damaging,” Wood said. He also said that the bird taking the two wedding rings hint at a man who has destroyed his marriage because he sought out sex or pornography.

  • “I started out with three different people and I wanted to show each one struggling with juuling, something that’s very common in today’s society. The problem is that while juuling was initially meant to stop smoking it’s becoming a new recreational activity for young adults and teenagers,” Wood said. He said he used spray paint in this piece to further the metaphor and also used a person’s lungs to portray a hot air balloon.

  • “In this piece I’m kind of criticizing that culture where young ladies have to look a certain way based on what a fashion magazine says or just what the internet says,” Wood said. He said he shows a wall, which is a symbol for a scale, made out of painted magazine covers and rulers for measurements all as a way to show how the lady believes she must fit into an hourglass shape if she wants to find happiness with her body image.

  • Wood said that this piece is probably one of the darkest, but he felt it was something that needed to be said because not a lot of people do art about this subject material. “There’s some people in different situations. There might be people who find satisfaction or happiness with money or what they wear or just other things, but some people who are in a very bad situation can find their temporary happiness through cutting. I wanted to portray someone who might be ashamed of what they do, but they still chase that because it’s one of the only things that they turn to,” Wood said.

  • “In this one I portray myself with some torn and broken wings. This is someone who has come back from having perhaps a successful life, but it ultimately didn’t satisfy and they eventually fell out of that success. They’re realizing that success isn’t everything, that’s why he is throwing away this mask which is a bird mask because I wanted to show at least some sort of image of flight along with the wings. He’s turning back towards his family who he will finally have a good relationship with,” Wood said.

  • In Wood’s eighth and final piece of first semester, he focused on body image and plastic surgery. With the images of makeup, a hairbrush and a handbag, Wood said he shows that the person is already consumed by the idea of what people think about her. “I wanted to show, because it’s in an operating room, that ultimately she wasn’t satisfied and she went to plastic surgery to try and fix this problem. It still won’t satisfy body image, that’s the idea I wanted to portray. That’s why the doctor is holding a scalpel attached to a balloon because this is their way of trying to find satisfaction, but ultimately the way you look won’t bring full satisfaction,” Wood said.

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Even when he was three years old perfecting his stick figures, senior Daniel Wood has always had a passion and a love for art. Wood said that he didn’t get serious about art until high school when he was able to start exploring with everything from pastels to sculptures.

“Art has just always been a way to express emotion or express something I’m thinking about, or just to relax in general,” Wood said.

Wood’s AP portfolio consists of pieces focused around a theme: the search for satisfaction or happiness. Wood said he came up with the idea because he saw certain things controlling his life that were taking away from his time with family and other things that are important to him. He said he also knew this was something others struggled with and wanted to create a portfolio that would not only challenge himself, but other people as well.

“To show a search for happiness I did an idea where I showed people trying to take flight in certain things,” Wood said. “And the ways that they were taking flight, whether it’s a hot air balloon which was one of my initial pieces, or wings or airplanes, was the things that they sought for happiness or just dedicated their lives to. And I wanted to show in many cases how that can be bad or damaging to other people, yourself, and who you turn out to be.”

Wood said he loves metaphors in pictures and chose to cover topics in his pieces ranging from alcoholism, to body image, to even addiction to inhalants. With AP deadlines about every two weeks, Wood has eight pieces so far in his collection. He said if he had to pick a favorite, he would pick the seventh which focuses on the damage of success.

“This one was personal to me because I wanted to do a project where I kind of explored how seeking attention or fame or just any sort of success can be damaging to possibly having a good relationship with my family,” Wood said.

Elizabeth Hough, Wood’s art teacher, said Daniel has come up with the idea for every one of his paintings, but she has been able to help him think about how to execute those ideas. Hough teaches Drawing and Painting One and Two and AP Portfolio. She said that both as a student and as an artist, Daniel excels. She said that not only are his techniques strong, but his conceptual thinking pushes his artwork to the next level.

“I think a lot of times people look at Daniel’s work and are both inspired and intimidated by it,” Hough said. “I think that one thing is that he does have a lot of natural skill, but also he puts a lot of work into it. He takes stuff home, he works on it a lot at home. He has the kind of dedication and passion for it and that really shows in his work.”

Wood, being recently acquainted with Instagram, created an Instagram account to put his work on a platform. He said he has enjoyed seeing that others like the work he creates.

“It’s encouraging because I was hoping to challenge people with this portfolio,” Wood said. “That was kind of the whole goal with it, to challenge myself and others. And it’s exciting to see that other people are paying attention to it, and hopefully they’re just taking into mind what the message is.”

With his hopes set on going on a pre-med track in college, Wood said he also hopes he will be able to consider art as a minor. Through the messages he portrays in his work, Wood said he hopes to push others to share what they have to say.

“If you’re an aspiring artist, the biggest thing I would say is to be confident with what you put out,” Wood said. “Every artist or person has something to say and I think that your opinion is valid and it needs to be shared because there’s going to be someone who relates to you or could possibly be changed too by your artwork.”

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