Friday, May 21, 2010

Illustrations and Zines by Graduating Senior, Emely

Whenever I talked about my years at New Urban Arts, I always seemed to focus on how much I loved the studio, the people, etc. and how big of an impact being there all of these years has had on me. I pretty much gush about how awesome N.U.A is. But have I ever stopped to think about how it's affected me as an artist?

Well, it never really did until now (in case you were wondering). During my freshman year at Feinstein High school and first year in the studio, I was devoted to all things manga and anime-related. I was stubborn; refusing to try new styles that were outside of the box I had become so fond of.

But, when I was here, something changed. Maybe it's something in the air at N.U.A. or some sort of magical magnet built under the studio's floorboards that attracts such awesome people. They [students, mentors, and staff!] were all so nice, welcoming and encouraging (and not to mention talented).

Because of them, I felt inspired to try and experiment more.

I began with comics, then watercolor, and self-publishing. I began to love sequential arts, painting, storytelling, book-making, zines, cartoons, comics, animation, screen-printing, and I yearned to find a way to blend those together.

To this day, I continue to try to find a middle ground between my love of manga style and my infatuation with cartoon style. It's been like that for like... a year?

With me, things were usually 'either...or': either manga or cartoons (and for a while between my sophomore and junior year, I was on an uber cartoon mix and manga began to disappear...or so I thought.). I could never fully shake the manga off. But who says that's a bad thing? I don't.

I enjoy the challenge and the possibilities of experimenting to find a happy medium between the two. I feel like this exploration made me mature. I was willing to accept that, yes, I was changing but I was also willing to roll with those changes and continue to expand my creative horizons. It's weird writing this, looking back on what I used to be and what I am, (reliving that very, VERY awkward phase of my life would be a nightmare!). It's kind of eerie. kind of warms my heart at the same time, thinking about how I’ve grown here, all the awesome people I’ve met here, all of the memories made here; it's amazing.

That feeling of amazement/love/encouragement/etc. is what fuels me and inspires me continually. The thought of making all of those people who had made me feel that and had done so much for me feel that way by looking at something I made really drives me. I know I still have a ways to go as an artist and reach that goal, but looking back, I feel like I’m on the right track to getting to see that.

So thanks dudes, for the awesome four years. You have no idea how much I’ll miss this place. How much I’ll miss each and every single friend I’ve made here. I could write for the rest of my life and it wouldn't begin to describe how grateful I am to you. N.U.A.....thank you.

I know this isn't a 'good bye' (I’ve been reassured time and time again this week that I’ll be back (which is true because I can't imagine myself without this place)) but a 'see you again soon'.

Things won't end here, they'll just be different. I’m stoked to be going to Hampshire this September, I’m excited to be graduating from high school soon (FINALLY!), and I’m glad to be writing this. This here, right now. This is my last artist statement as a high school student/ N.U.A. student.

Emely Barroso


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