THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY
CUE TEEN COLLECTIVE 2018-19
THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY an exhibition by the CUE Teen Collective May 18 â€” 23, 2019
Joanalis Calderon Samantha Carlberg David Chacon Onyx Disla Aayusha Duwadi Gia Gambrell Al Gatta Jose Gonzales Paloma Larson Bridget Li Ynes Lopez Anastasia Mantel
Ashley Mezi Emily Mogami Mumtahina Nabila Christine Puello Aneesa Razak Audrey Rohlf Lily Samuels Jaelize Smith David Sterling Jennifer Sze Ellen Toeroek
Curated by Amanda Adams-Louis, CTC Lead Educator and Program Coordinator
The Persistence of Memory is the second annual exhibition of the CUE Teen Collective. This thematic group exhibition features work by 23 teen artists from the 2018-19 CTC cohort. Asked to explore the concepts of memory and nostalgia, the teens responded in myriad forms including painting, mixed-media pieces, installations, and video work. The work presented in The Persistence of Memory explores many facets of remembrance, including commemorative pieces that celebrate past guardians and caregivers, painting series that highlight the significance of food to cultural memory, profound childhood recollections reproduced on canvas, images of places or journeys that provoke nostalgia, explorations of the purpose of collective memory, and work that recalls experiences of personal growth and loss. This exhibition showcases the efforts of the CUE Teen Collective, and marks the conclusion of their time in the collective over the 2018-2019 term. The teachers for the 2018-2019 season of the CUE Teen Collective were Amanda Adams-Louis and Dionis Ortiz.
ABOUT CUE CUE Art Foundation is a dynamic visual arts center dedicated to creating essential career and educational opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists of all ages. Through exhibitions, arts education, and public programs, CUE provides artists and audiences with sustaining and meaningful experiences and resources. CUE carries out its mission through its core programs, which include solo exhibitions for emerging and under-recognized artists; an annual fellowship for an emerging curator; mentorship and publication opportunities for emerging writers; professional development workshops for practicing artists; and arts education intensives for high school students. These programs make a profound difference in the lives of the students and artists who participate. Alumni have gone on to achieve such successes as museum shows, reviews in prominent publications, residencies, awards and scholarships, and commercial gallery representation. CUE is one of the few New York City arts organizations offering such transformative services to visual artists, providing them with the tools and resources needed to start and sustain a successful career as an artist.
CUE was founded in 2002 by a group of visionary and entrepreneurial art enthusiasts who wanted to showcase a wide range of incredible artwork from across the country. Ever since, CUEâ€™s founders have remained dedicated to supporting artists at all stages of their careers.
CTC students with teachers Amanda Adams-Louis and Dionis Ortiz and Brian Fee of VOLTA at the opening of The Persistence of Memory.
ABOUT THE CUE TEEN COLLECTIVE The CUE Teen Collective is a free, year-long after school program designed for NYC high school students who are passionate about visual culture and interested in exploring careers in the fine arts. Participants meet on Wednesday afternoons from October through May to investigate the contemporary art world, develop professional skills, and produce artwork for a group exhibition in CUE’s gallery space. With behind-the-scenes access to the New York art world, the CTC demystifies career paths available to students, while inspiring them to develop their own personal artistic voices. During talks with artists and curators, trips to gallery and museum shows, visits to art fairs, and hands-on studio sessions, students will have the opportunity to ask questions of working arts professionals about their careers and practices, learning about various approaches to a sustainable and rewarding career in the arts. Additionally, students are able to form an artistic community with their peers over the course of the academic year, sharing their work with one another and giving and receiving meaningful feedback on technique, process, and content as they work together to develop and refine their artistic practices. In May, students present original artwork produced over the course of the program responding to a unique theme of their choice in an exhibition at CUE’s gallery space in East Chelsea, accompanied by a full-color catalogue that documents the exhibition and the students’ individual works, and includes students’ artist statements and biographies. Through this process, students learn how to install and produce a show in the same manner as working artists and gallerists all over the world. 3
INTRODUCTION A common piece of advice given to young artists is to begin making work about what they know, what is familiar, or matters that are intimate to them. All 23 members of the 2018-19 CUE Teen Collective (CTC) cohort followed that wisdom. Over the course of the fall of 2018, the CUE Ambassadors1 brainstormed potential themes for the final exhibit and developed six concrete ideas that they proposed to the full cohort in December. The entire collective voted on the CUE Ambassadors’ proposals and chose to create bodies of work around the themes of memory, nostalgia, and remembrance for The Persistence of Memory exhibition in May 2019. During the 2018-19 CTC program break CUE Teens researched, contemplated, and tested concepts that would animate their series and pieces. In January 2019 they submitted project proposals, and from February to May the cohort transformed the concepts, ideas and subjects they proposed into the installations, paintings, mixedmedia works, collages, watercolor illustrations, and film featured in The Persistence of Memory. “Caregiver/Community Commemoration,” “Food as Cultural Memory,” “Childhood Recollections,” “Geographic Nostalgia,” “Collective Memory” and “Personal Recall” are six sub-themes that frame the memories, life experiences, and personal narratives that the CUE Teens chose to explore in their projects. Ynes Lopez, David Chacon, Joanalis Calderon and Aayusha Duwadi use paint, collage and mixed media to commemorate their parents, grandparents and caregivers. Each artist’s work is focused on a specific person in their family or community who played an influential role in their upbringing. Ynes’ painting, My First Fans, and David’s mixed media series, Cow Skin, are tributes to their parents’ sacrifices and unconditional emotional support. Joanalis honors her late grandmother’s memory and celebrates the strong bond that they shared in her mixed media piece, 11/54. Aayusha’s series, Shut Eyelids, is a homage to her childhood caretaker, Shanti. In the series Probando y Recordando and Brazil: Taste of Nostalgia, Christine Puello and Emily Mogami depict their cultural memories of food and family. Both artists portray the presentation and packaging of beverages and foods that they remember the women in their families cooking and consuming during their childhoods. Ellen Toeroek, Aneesa Razak, Jennifer Sze and Mumtahina Nabila contend with the weight of childhood recollections in their projects. Ellen’s series, Snippets, illustrates moments from her elementary and middle school years. Jennifer’s painting, Nightmare Fuel, depicts a coiled snake that appeared in a frequent childhood nightmare. Aneesa’s series, Growing Pains, narrates stories from her childhood from a teen perspective and features teeth as symbolic of loss and growth. Mumtahina’s film, This Story Only Exists in Abstraction, explores remembrance and the loss of childhood memory. Anastasia Mantel, Jose Gonzales, and Jaelize Smith examine their nostalgia for places 4
and venues they frequented as pre-teens and children. Anastasia’s watercolor series, The Lost Parks, features scenes from three different parks that she grew up around. Jose’s mixed media piece, Journey of Life, traces his journey to the United States. Jaelize’s triptych, 32603, highlights her favorite interests as a child, pre-teen and teenager. Ashley Mezi, Samantha Carlberg, David Sterling, Bridget Li and Al Gatta’s series explore the notion of collective memory. Ashley Mezi’s painting, Trigger, is inspired by the scientific process or biological explanation of our brain’s ability to capture, retain, and store memories. Samantha’s series, Transience, explores the silent generation’s collective memory of World War II. David depicts his interpretation of collective memory and the human experience in his piece, Memories in Shadow. In her painting Eden (Noon), Bridget uses biblical imagery to investigate the connection between childhood and purity. Al’s painting, Memory Morphology, is a study of remembrance and memory’s malleable properties. Paloma Larson, Lily Samuels, Audrey Rohlf, Gia Gambrell and Onyx Disla chose to recall and process their personal feelings and traumatic emotions via their artwork. Paloma juxtaposed her recollections of idyllic summers on Long Island with her present appearance to create a self portrait titled Mama’s Flowers. The process of making her live installation project, Lily’s Diary, forced Lily to engage with her past and enabled her to reconnect with the challenging events that shaped her in a healthy way. Audrey’s assemblage, Me, highlights her emotions through light, shape, pattern, and color. Gia recalled her reactions to events that occurred during her formative years in her painting series, untitled #9. Onyx’s comic panel, House of Nostalgia, recalls her preferred anime characters throughout different eras in her life and contrasts her personal growth with her taste in anime characters over the years. -Amanda Adams-Louis, CUE Teen Collective Lead Educator and Program Coordinator; curator of The Persistence of Memory 1 Developed by Amanda Adams-Louis, the CUE Ambassadors program is a visual art production and leadership apprenticeship opportunity for youth who decided to participate in CUE Teen Collective for a second year. CUE Ambassadors serve as peer leaders in the program; assist CUE educators and staff with recruiting, interviewing and selecting the cohort; develop and propose ideas for the final exhibition theme; share their first-hand experiences with program supporters during CUE’s annual gala; coach their peers as they prepare conceptual bodies of work for the show; and help the cohort with mounting, framing and installing their artwork for the final show. Mumtahina Nabila, Ashley Mezi, Ellen Toeroek, Al Gatta, Gia Gambrell and David Sterling were the 2018-19 CUE Ambassadors.
CTC STUDENT STATEMENT Ever since I was in elementary school, I knew I wanted to pursue art. It was comforting to know at a young age what I wanted to do with my life, yet choosing a career in the creative field has been nerve wracking. Most people in this field have been warned of the “starving artist” stereotype and struggle to avoid becoming it. The haunting thoughts of not being able to find a stable job constantly weighed down on me and being the only person in my family who chose the creative career path only served to emphasize this thought. Although the unknown terrified me, I knew I had to take charge of my future and couldn’t let those doubts drag me down. The CUE Art Foundation helped me get rid of those doubts with the CUE Teen Collective program. Through the program’s various educational field trips, it shined light on the behind the scenes jobs that many don’t realize play vital roles in the art world. Meeting so many professional artists and hearing their stories filled with the same passion to make art that I have, has allowed me to feel more confident in my creative pursuits. Since The Persistence of Memory exhibition was my first time ever publicly displaying my own art, I felt I had to attempt a piece that challenged my artistic skills and at the same time hold sentimental value. I dedicated the piece to my parents because even though they worry about me, they have been my supporters since the beginning and even helped me move to New York City to find amazing opportunities, like the CUE Teen Collective program, to further my art career. So while looking at my painting displayed on the walls of the CUE Art Foundation, I knew they didn’t have to worry about me because I love making art and I know I want to continue pursuing it. - Ynes Lopez, 2018-19 CTC student
CTC ASSISTANT EDUCATOR STATEMENT My experience working with the CUE Teen Collective as the co-teaching artist was nostalgic because it reminded me of when I was a teenager attending the Children’s Art Carnival, a not-for-profit visual arts organization in Harlem. While there, I learned about artists and different art organizations and institutions in New York. I gained a better understanding of the resources New York had to offer me as a young artist of color, which informed my decisions in becoming a working artist. My goal was to provide the CTC with a rich artistic experience to inspire them. To that end, I shared elements of my studio practice and led a non-traditional printmaking workshop using wintergreen oil and xerox copies. We talked about what it was like for me to graduate from college and learn art handling as a trade to make a living and support my art practice. I also organized a tour of the art conservation studio at the Museum of Modern Art led by Diana Hartman, a fellow in the Conservation Department who organized an incredible display of original paintings by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Joan Miró and created a dynamic presentation that described her interest, training, and professional experiences as an art conservator. Since 2001 I have worked with teens as a teaching assistant and an art handler, working to install their group exhibitions. Working with the CUE Teen Collective was a special opportunity to lead workshops and focus on listening to the ideas and thoughts behind the teens’ final projects. I aided them in developing the concept and execution of their artwork. We talked through their ideas and helped them gain a new language and to feel confident about their content and how it relates to their materials and the composition of the artwork. I am grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with the CUE Art Foundation staff and teach the CUE Teen Collective. - Dionis Ortiz, Assistant Educator, CUE Teen Collective 2018-19
CTC Assistant Educator Dionis Ortiz leads a cyanotype workshop at CUE.
Teens learn to make their own 3-hole saddle stitch sketchbooks at the Center for Book Arts . 11
Brian Fee leads the CUE Teen Collective on a tour of The Armory Show, where the teens got the chance to speak to artists and gallerists and explore the art fair.
Diana Hartman, a fellow in the Conservation Department at the Museum of Modern Art, leads the CTC on a tour of the MoMA conservation studio. 12
The CTC visits Sothebyâ€™s with Leah Adamucci, Samantha Anderson, and Rebecca Lockwood and tours the Asia Week Spring 2019 exhibition.
Lead Educator Amanda Adams-Louis works with the CUE teens to install their final exhibition, The Persistence of Memory. 13
JOANALIS CALDERON 11/54, 2019 Acrylic and watercolor on canvas 8 x 10 inches ARTIST STATEMENT As an artist, my goal is to tell a story and evoke emotions through my pieces. With this piece, I intended to do just that, as I honor my late grandmotherâ€™s memory and the strong connection that we shared. In creating this, I wanted the audience to view this piece in two different ways, from afar and up close. Because of this, I made the pieces fit together like a puzzle with three separate pieces. Therefore, when a person is afar, they are able to see the bigger picture before walking closer to the piece, rather than seeing it up close where only the details meet the eye. For this piece, I used acrylic, watercolor, photographs, and graphite. I incorporated symbols that represent my grandmother on the outer two pieces and made a collage of important photos. I chose to put a collage of photos in the middle, to draw attention to the eye and put the most sentimental element of the piece in the center. The watercolor on the black and white photos was used to evoke a sense of happiness over the feeling of sadness in the reality that a loved one is no longer here. Overall, I hope that the audience is able to empathize with the range of emotions expressed through this piece and understand the significance behind it.
ARTIST BIO Joanalis Calderon was born in the Bronx, New York. She is a sophomore at Saint Jean Baptiste High School. She is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent and enjoys creating art. She sold five pieces of her work while exhibiting in her middle schoolâ€™s art show. She works with acrylic paint, watercolors, charcoal, and oil pastels, which she often combines with photography. Calderon was the salutatorian at her middle school, where she was awarded the Triple C Award by the Attorney General of New York State, honoring students showing commitment, character, and courage. She is enrolled in all honors classes, an AP class, and is a member of the CUE Teen Collective. She plans to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and aspires work as a graphic designer in the future. 14
SAMANTHA CARLBERG Transience, 2019 Watercolor and graphite on paper 11 x 15 inches ARTIST BIO Samantha is a 16-year-old artist from Brooklyn, New York. She has been drawing for as long as she can remember, but only began formal art training in 6th grade. She now attends Fiorello LaGuardia High School. Samantha currently uses graphite and watercolor and is influenced by the people she sees everyday around her. Samantha would like to accomplish creating the feeling of time and decay through her artwork. 18
DAVID CHACON Papillon from the series Cow Skin, 2019 Oil pastel, tempera and Sharpie marker on cardboard 36 x 27 inches Ibizan from the series Cow Skin, 2019 Oil pastel, tempera and magazines on cardboard 36 x 23 inches ARTIST STATEMENT I chose this topic for my media work because I’m able to express my sentiments towards ideas and memories that I don’t usually talk about. I chose these topics because as I was creating these pieces, I felt the need to express how I feel about my relationship with my mother and as well as my connection to New York City. What’s unique about my perspective is that I can show you the last 16 years growing up in New York City. When I look at back at these pieces, I’m able to depict the message I was trying to express. I’m talking about my mother. My relationship with her is good, but I don’t do very well at expressing my emotions. I love my mother and with these pieces I can do what I love while showing her how grateful I am towards her. I felt a lot of anger and sorrow which also affected the pace of how I worked. These emotions came from whatever I was trying to say. I feel a lot of anger towards the gentrification happening in New York City. I feel helpless because the rent will never go down and people were already living check to check before the raise in rent. The sadness I felt most likely came from the disconnect I feel with my mother and with my culture.
ARTIST BIO David Chacon is a 16-year-old American Colombian artist who is currently a junior at Queens Metropolitan High school and is set to graduate in 2020. He is a neoexpressionist artist that creates abstract art using various materials, like oil pastels, tempera paint, collage, and markers. He grew up in Queens, New York. He has no prior experience in painting and art. David hopes to go to NYU for cinematography and create films he wants to be remembered. At home he speaks Spanish and hopes to teach himself more languages. David is currently planning on visiting Colombia to document and create a project out of his home and family there. He wants to use his skills to bring attention to his country and show people there is more to Colombia than coffee and cocaine. 22
ONYX DISLA Now from the series House of Nostalgia, 2019 Watercolor on paper 11 x 14 inches Middle School from the series House of Nostalgia, 2019 Watercolor on paper 11 x 14 inches Childhood from the series House of Nostalgia, 2019 Watercolor on paper 11 x 14 inches ARTIST STATEMENT My name is Onyx Disla and I’m currently a high school student trying to become an artist. While I do enjoy working in a digital medium, specifically for animations, I do like working with watercolors because of the translucent and soft effects it can create. While there is no one specific theme in all my work, I do like to focus my art around entertainment, specifically things that entertain me, whether it is a book or show or comic. I guess I’ve always been drawn to entertainment, especially in cartoons as a child, and the fantasy worlds it brought with it. These fantasy worlds and characters, brought by their creators, authors or directors, have inspired me to emulate that same feeling, even if the characters aren’t all my own. My watercolor series, House of Nostalgia, is about how I’ve grown in contrast to the characters I like now, the ones I had liked in middle school, and the ones I had liked in my childhood, all of which I show through a comic-like panel. The setting, as well as the name, is inspired by the book House of Leaves, which chronicles the protagonists’ stories as they venture into a mysterious dark hallway that appears in their home and what is inside that labyrinth. However, in my panels, the hallway represents the labyrinth of life and the memories I travel with. To make the panels, I used vintage Artista Watercolors and Watercolor Confections Complexion Palette on Fabriano Cold Press Watercolor Paper. Being that I’ve always been connected to cartoons as a kid, I always find it nostalgic when I see those same characters again, and as I’ve grown and moved on from them, found them as a way to remember the bliss of it. Further, as I continue to walk down the dark hallway of life, I don’t know what new characters I may favor next, and I don’t know what characters that I like now will fade into another blissful memory. 26
ARTIST BIO Onyx Disla was born in Manhattan, New York, NY. Currently she is a sophomore at Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology. Inspired by books, cartoons, music, comics and manga, she has employed animation and watercolor to entertain and captivate viewers in a fictional reality. She makes characters based on pieces of herself and the people around her, inserting them into realistic situations, into fictional worlds, and using watercolor to bring more life to what could otherwise be base-colored cartoons. While only developing this passion for about two years, she has been humbled by the ability to meet other artists with much greater experience while still maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Her interests span from listening to music to reading horror novels, all of which feeds into her dream of developing a career as an animator for a large studio. 27
AAYUSHA DUWADI Quadrant I — Farsightedness from the series Shut Eyelids, 2019
Mixed media 8 x 10 inches
Quadrant II — Cornea from the series Shut Eyelids, 2019
Acrylic, pencil, watercolor, contact lenses 8 x 10 inches
Quadrant III — Optic Nerve from the series Shut Eyelids, 2019
Mixed media 8 x 10 inches
ARTIST STATEMENT My current piece, Shut Eyelids, is an homage to both the figurative and literal clearer vision I remember myself having when I was younger. I was brought up by a woman named Shanti who was my caretaker when I was younger. Her influence in raising me was substantial as she remains to be a large influence in the tranquility, I try to capture in the faces I portray in my work. The project emphasizes the incongruous nature in circumstances that seem contradictory in my life. Describing it as the duality of privilege and disenfranchisement would be an oversimplification of what I see. To illustrate what seems to be an ill-defined juxtaposition of life in different parts of the world, vivid colors are placed beside murkier undertones. Definite and realistic figures are sharply defined alongside obscure shapes. I worked with watercolor, acrylic paint and various other materials including contact lens cases in order to fully capture the distinctive traits of duality that resonates with me when I remember.
ARTIST BIO Aayusha Duwadi’s work encapsulates the significance of a hyphenated identity as a firstgeneration immigrant to the United States. Her body of work is an ever-evolving display of themes surrounding duality and the nature of her identity as a Nepali-American teen. Her work is comprised of various mediums including watercolor, acrylic and collage. She received an Ezra Keats Bookmaking Award in 2016. Currently, she is a junior at The Beacon High School in New York City. Aayusha writes short stories in her free time and is on her school’s constitutional law debate team. 30
GIA GAMBRELL “We’re not gonna make it” from the series untitled #9, 2019 Acrylic on wood 9 x 12 inches drowning from the series untitled #9, 2019 Acrylic on wood 8 x 8 inches he makes me uncomfortable from the series untitled #9, 2019 Acrylic on wood 11 x 14 inches good morning from the series untitled #9, 2019 Acrylic on wood 11 x 14 inches falling from the series untitled #9, 2019 Acrylic on wood 9 x 12 inches . . . from the series untitled #9, 2019 Acrylic on wood 8 x 8 inches MOM dont you see it?? from the series untitled #9, 2019 Felt and acrylic 24 x 28 inches ARTIST BIO Gia Gambrell is a native New Yorker, developing artist, and senior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. Through her work, Gambrell aims to take the viewer on a tour of her headspace by exploring color, incorporating text, and combining realism with abstract imagery. The end product becomes a painted collage reflecting the way thoughts overlap and shift in the mind. She has exhibited work in a few shows such as the end of the year celebration at Liberty Leads, the end of semester exhibition at the Summer Arts Institute, and the 2018 CUE Teen Collective exhibition Home. 34
AL GATTA Memory Morphology, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 60 x 36 inches ARTIST STATEMENT No one has a single completely true memory. The mind picks up and drops bits and pieces of sensory input unpredictably, eventually causing entire places or people to be pulled to the surface or forgotten entirely. As a result, whole experiences can be changed dramatically. I find this constant change fascinating. The idea that I don’t truly remember my own experiences is unnerving at first, however it opens up a whole world of possibilities when it comes to art-making. Memory Morphology is a study of remembering and memory’s malleable properties. This work explores the ever-changing expanse of the mind through a depiction of somewhere I can only vaguely remember. I used large swaths of color to call attention to the vastness of the mind, and smaller blobs of green to highlight individual aspects of the location. I have found that condensing this study of memory into a simple composition allows for a more thought-provoking experience and a truer reflection on the viewer’s own memory. This piece brings to the surface what we so often try to hold in: an acknowledgement that we will not remember the past perfectly and an acceptance that an imperfect recollection of our past is okay.
ARTIST BIO Al Gatta was born in 2001 and has lived in New York City their entire life. They currently attend Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Art and study Visual Art there. They are a developing abstract landscape painter who through their practice seeks to explore a perpetual longing for wide open natural spaces and a fundamental breakdown of the complexities of the outdoors. This is their second year participating in the CUE Teen Collective; in May 2018, they exhibited their painting series Untitled in the collective’s end of semester show Home. In fall 2019, they will begin the General Fine Arts Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). 38
JOSE GONZALES World from the series Journey of Life, 2019 Mixed media collage 16 x 20 inches ARTIST STATEMENT Journey of Life is a mixed-media collage that includes many objects from my childhood that are significant to me: the cross, rosary, soccer ball, photographs, and a painting of the Americas. The photographs are of my family members that have influenced me and have played a major role in my childhood. The painting will feature a map of North and South America on a cork board. I am painting the map of these two continents because I have traveled between them and just thinking about it brings good memories about being there. I am going to outline the map in yarn. Then I am going to draw the objects that have a significant meaning to me and tack them to the board with push pins. I am not going to color the images of the objects because I want them to stand out.
ARTIST BIO My name is Jose Gonzales. I am a junior at La Salle Academy. I was born in Lima, Peru on August 13, 2002. I am bilingual. Spanish is my native language and I learned English after moving to the United States. I was introduced to art by my mom as a child, but I didnâ€™t start to become interested in it until high school. Freshman year, I took an elective art class where I began my drawing practice. CUE Teen Collective is my first experience in an enrichment art program. What I like most about making art is that I get to be creative and I can make people see my point of view in things. In my work, I like to include a lot of detail and mostly work in black and white. My main hobbies are singing and playing soccer. I am also a Boy Scout. I do a lot of volunteer work around my community with Boy Scouts, like going Christmas caroling at a nursing home, participating in food drives, and more. 42
PALOMA LARSON Mama’s Flowers, 2019 Acrylic on canva-paper 16 x 20 inches ARTIST STATEMENT Thinking back to my childhood, I am flooded with memories of summers spent at my family’s house in Long Island. When assigned with the subject of memories, nostalgia, and remembrance, I wanted to make a self-portrait in this location. I chose to incorporate various aspects of my life that remind me of my younger years, and create a backdrop of hydrangeas, my mother’s favorite type of flower. In our backyard, we have beautiful bushes of white, blue, purple, and pink hydrangeas. Every summer, my mother would ask me and my siblings to cut these flowers for her so she could display them around the house. My painting reflects both realistic and sentimental parts of my childhood; however, I chose to compose my work using solely my imagination. I didn’t want to replicate an exact scene from my childhood, because often times, memories of past events are quite different than they were in reality. Although my painting is a rendition of moments in the past, I chose to make the self-portrait of me as I currently look. When looking back at my younger years, I realize now how idyllic these summers spent with family in nature were. Over the years, I have learned to recognize and be grateful for all that I have been given, an attitude that I hope I continue to have throughout the rest of my life.
ARTIST BIO Paloma Larson is a current sophomore at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights. She was born in New York City and grew up in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Art has been a big part of Paloma’s life, starting at a young age and pursuing it inside and outside of school ever since. She enjoys working with pencil, pen, watercolor, acrylic, and collage, but is always open to trying new materials. She joined the CUE Teen Collective to diversify her experience as an artist and take on new challenge by committing to participate in a group exhibition in a Chelsea gallery. The subjects in her work can range from an in-depth still-life to an imaginative doodle, depending on her feelings that day. Although she has not yet decided her career path in life, she knows that she wants art to be incorporated into her future. 46
BRIDGET LI Eden (Noon), 2019 Oil on canvas 24 x 48 inches ARTIST STATEMENT Eden (Noon), the painting I am exhibiting in CUE Teen Collective show, investigates the connection between childhood and purity. Using biblical imagery, particularly through the concept of the Garden of Eden and â€œoriginal sin,â€? the painting is meant to show a sense of uncorrupted innocence: the figure is obscured in the trees, and her back is exposed, leaving her vulnerable to the viewer. She reflects a certain sense of carelessness, free to live. In the field, a small snake is present, although the figure is blind to it: in a traditional Biblical context, the snake represents temptation and evil. Here, it represents the looming threat of adulthood and the dangers that come with it. A hyperawareness of our world and the evils contained with it often convolute and darken our outlook on life: this painting is meant to immortalize what came before. The idea of original sin is used to symbolize the definitive break between childhood and adulthood: each of us has had a transformative experience, whether we realize it or not, that has shaped us into the person we are. The audience is meant to consider the conflict between the idea of childhood as a paradise and the immovable truth of our current reality: how can we reconcile the past and the present? And where will we find Eden again?
ARTIST BIO Bridget Li is currently a sophomore at Hunter College High School. She was born in and resides in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Visual art, particularly drawing and painting, has been her passion from a young age. Her past experience with art has been primarily technical and skill based: she has taken classes on figure drawing and painting from life at the Art Students League and at the School of Visual Arts. She also has written poetry and has won a national award in the Scholastic Art and Writing competition. Her main goal is for her art to create a universal language for the human experience, by using widely understood themes such as childhood, trauma, and growth portrayed through realistic imagery. Her recent work on nostalgia uses surrealist and biblical imagery, specifically the figure of Eve and the concept of Eden, to raise the questions about the ideas of a perfect childhood and past and the imminent threat of the future. 50
YNES LOPEZ My First Fans, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 24 x 30 inches ARTIST STATEMENT nos·tal·gia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. For Ynes Lopez, her nostalgia resonates with her family. She imagines her happiest times making memories with her mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt and cousins. Although she still maintains close connections with her parents, she recently moved away from them. At first, living away from her parents in a new city at 15 was tough and she missed them dearly, but her loving and supportive family helped her through every step of the way. Ynes created the bright and colorful acrylic painting, My First Fans, to capture the nostalgia and happiness of living with her parents in rural Florida, who, just like the rest of her family, supported her dream of becoming an artist from the very beginning. She chose to include the background objects to represent different parts of her life and specific memories of being with them. The tire and map represent the many moves her family went through. The dog tags speak to her love for the military because of her Army father and Navy brother. The fish and turtles signify her old pets and many more specific memories. Through My First Fans, Ynes is revisiting and reminiscing highlights of her euphoric childhood and pre-teen years. The piece is dedicated to her parents to remind them that even though she is starting a new chapter, she hasn’t and won’t ever forget them.
Ynes “Nesi” Lopez is a 16-year-old aspiring artist living in New York City. Having moved about 11 times in her life, she has constantly experienced new things. She first knew she wanted a career in art, more specifically animation and design, when she fell in love with the storytelling side of art. Ever since she was a young girl, she was fascinated by the way art could influence people and loves art that tells a story. While previously living in rural Florida, she realized she needed to work hard to achieve her goals of becoming a successful artist, so with her family’s help and support, she auditioned for Fiorello LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. When she was accepted, she moved to New York City to live with her two older siblings, with whom she currently resides. She enjoys working mostly with acrylic, oil, and watercolor paint and draws inspiration from her own life experiences and emotions and reflects them in her artwork, usually with surrealistic twists. She aims to influence others positively with her art, the way art does for her.
ANASTASIA MANTEL The Castle from the series The Lost Parks, 2019 Watercolor on canvas 9 x 12 inches The Bike from the series The Lost Parks, 2019 Watercolor on canvas 9 x 12 inches The Swing from the series The Lost Parks, 2019 Watercolor on canvas 9 x 12 inches ARTIST STATEMENT The watercolors paintings in my series, The Lost Parks, show scenes from different parks that I grew up around. I become sentimental when I think about these parks because they remind me of a carefree time in my life. Each painting in the series illustrates a different park from each state I have lived in. One park will represent New York, one will represent Seattle, and the last park will represent Virginia. Each park shows my personal development and illustrates how my imagination has matured and my interests have changed as Iâ€˜ve grown up. These parks I once loved donâ€™t appeal to me in the same way that they used to. The parks represent a sense of freedom and happiness I no longer feel as Iâ€™ve grown up. Through this project, I aim to rekindle or revive a sort of joy when thinking of the past. The reason I chose watercolor is because of the fluidity of the medium. Watercolor inspires me as I paint because I am able to move and change during the creation process. I realized that the way watercolors work also seem to relate to my project. With time and growth, both will change and develop differently so I thought it would be a good choice.
ARTIST BIO Anastasia Mantel is 15 years old and currently lives in Manhattan, New York. She often draws people and things she sees as beautiful. Her inspiration comes from musical artists and her surrounding areas. She often works with pencil as her main medium but wants to try different mediums for her future projects. Anastasia uses art as an outlet to relieve stress from the everyday challenges. In the future she hopes to use art in a professional setting like art therapy. 58
ASHLEY MEZI Trigger, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 18 x 22 inches ARTIST STATEMENT Trigger is inspired by the scientific process or biological explanation of our brain’s ability to capture, retain and store memories. I was faced with a vast list of nostalgic triggers. I decided to go the all-encompassing route as I always wondered how human brains are able to store decade’s worth of information that could accessed within a second. Especially in the process of how “unconscious, routine thought processes, interact with more conscious, problem-based thought processes” to create an overall library of every single significant experience a person has had. The brain stores memories through a process called encoding. The four main ways a person’s memory is triggered are visual, acoustic, semantic and tactile. I included scent as well because personally, that is one of the most prevalent forms of memory. Certain fragrances always manage to force me back in time, like the smell of honeysuckle on a dewy morning or my dad’s signature Jean Paul Gaultier cologne. The chalky crayon smell reminds me of the fall, “back to school” period, and the comforting smell of lavender. Trigger is meant to strip back color and complications to focus on a fundamental aspect of human psyche that is taken for granted due to advancements in technology and science. They are all modeled after the human brain, the perfect memory vault.
ARTIST BIO Ashley Mezi is a senior attending The Scholars’ Academy. Her focus is in fine arts though her range in medium is broad. She was born 2001 and currently resides in Queens, New York. This is her second year partaking in the CUE Teen Collective Program, a decision that lead her to learn so much more and strengthen the bonds created last year. Ashley’s interest in art started due to her father’s previous occupation as a wood sculptor and her older sister’s interest in art during her high school years. What she loves most about art is its ability to make time fly, being completely immersed and zoned out. She has developed her skills mainly through observation, repeated practice, and the holy grail that is the internet, having no formal education in art until the sixth grade. She has participated in art programs outside of school, one being the Summer Arts Institute held yearly at Frank Sinatra High School in Astoria, NY. 62
She enjoys making art because it expresses what cannot be said in words, or what one does not have the courage to say. Words and sentences are only the tip of the iceberg of communication, and art shows that. In her years of art-making she has found that she is particularly good at observation and still-lifes, being a people-watcher by nature. She intends to pursue a career in art, making that the focal point of her upcoming college years as an accepted student majoring in Fine Arts at the Fashion Institute of Technology. When pondering upon what to choose as her career, although always interested in fine arts, she didnâ€™t want to only make art. She wanted to have another impact as well. Art has always been not only a pastime but a form of spiritual exhalation and a removal of mental toxins for her. The act of making art and putting her emotions into the colors or the medium that she chooses and the effect that it has on onlookers. She wants to help people expel the thoughts that ail them, to get them out on a piece of paper or a canvas.
EMILY MOGAMI Guarana: Taste of Nostalgia from the series Brazil: Taste of Nostalgia, 2019 Oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches Feijoada Delicioso from the series Brazil: Taste of Nostalgia, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 11 x 14 inches Karen e Lucky from the series Brazil: Taste of Nostalgia, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 11 x 14 inches ARTIST STATEMENT Emily Mogami mostly works in oil paint, which is her preferred medium since it allows her to blend paint seamlessly. A consistent theme in her pieces is addressing the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood. In her paintings, she aims to show how Asian actors and actresses can just as well flourish on the big screen as the starring roles. Mogami typically paints Asian-American celebrities such as Henry Golding or Awkwafina in a background story iconic in or relating to Hollywood, but where you would not typically see a minority. Another theme she works with is her heritage. Mogami is proud of the multiple cultures she gets to be a part of, since she was born in Japan and her mother was born in Brazil. Being part of two very distinct cultures has had a lot of impact on her life, since she has lived in both countries where she experienced the different cultures. Since the theme for this exhibition was nostalgia, Mogami wanted to incorporate both of her heritages to represent something that makes her feel nostalgic. She chose to paint photographs of her relatives in Brazil, typically involving Brazilian food. Even when she lived in Japan, her mother would always cook Brazilian food, and it has been a memory in her life that she cherishes. In some of the pieces she also chose to incorporate her Japanese heritage. For example, for her auntâ€™s portrait she utilized both Brazilian and Japanese influence by doing a Japanese style advertisement for a Brazilian drink.
ARTIST BIO Emily Mogami is currently a junior attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School studying visual art. Mogami was born in Japan, moved to Brazil when she was 11 and immigrated to New York City about half a year later. Growing up between three continents and around different cultures has allowed her heritage to constantly inspire her work. Visual art was something she was always passionate about, since she could show her skills 66
even when she was not fluent in English. Her paintings and illustrations have been displayed three times at the Semi-Annual Art Show at her high school. Mogami has made the gold honor roll for five consecutive semesters in high school. Her main hobby is watching movies, especially ones with superheroes! They have inspired her to one day hopefully become a costume designer for action films. 67
MUMTAHINA NABILA This Story Only Exists in Abstraction, 2019 Film/poem, duration 5 minutes ARTIST STATEMENT The film This Story Only Exists in Abstraction explores memory and the loss of childhood memory. The artist, Mumtahina Nabila, moved to the states at the age of nine and has spent eight continuous years here. While the culture of being Bengali, the language, and the imprint of being an immigrant stays with her, she feels that she has lost a vital part of her childhood: the visual language of Bangladesh. In the film, Nabila explores not being able to see, of being religious and lost, of being defiant, of being defined by this loss, and of creating a new language to make a home out of New York concrete. Most of her memory exists in metaphorical scenes; abstracted due to the lack of visual language around her, the almost-nothing visual of the film and her vulnerable poem explore displacement, loss, and rebirth. She finds new love in the city, in hands that do not look like hers, and tries to make it home. Nabila is very interested in performance, spoken word poetry, and language. This is her first spoken word performance film.
ARTIST BIO Born August 1, 2001 in Jessore, Bangladesh, Mumtahina Nabila is a working artist with a love for art history and poetry. At the age of nine, Nabila moved to Queens, New York. She now lives in downtown Manhattan. She is a senior at Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts. Nabila has been experimenting with different mediums this year, going from the comfort of watercolor paintings to film and sculpture. She is very interested in performance and language. Nabila has shown her work in exhibitions at Smack Mellon Gallery, CUE Art Foundation, Socrates Sculpture Park, Cooper Union, and Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts. She will be pursuing a BFA in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design this fall. 70
CHRISTINE PUELLO Mangú Con Los Tres Golpes from the series Probando y Recordando, 2019 Gouache and embroidery on mixed media paper 6 x 8 inches Después de La Escuela from the series Probando y Recordando, 2019 Gouache and embroidery on mixed media paper 6 x 8 inches Arroz y Habichuelas from the series Probando y Recordando, 2019 Gouache and embroidery on mixed media paper 6 x 8 inches Habichuelas con Dulce from the series Probando y Recordando, 2019 Gouache and embroidery on mixed media paper 6 x 8 inches ARTIST STATEMENT The mixed media works that I have created portray the different foods and snacks I had growing up. Most of the meals shown in my piece are traditional Dominican foods. The different foods bring me back to childhood and having them for breakfast, after school, for dinner or every time I visited my grandmother. I have used embroidery in my art because it reminds me of the curtains that used to be in my and my grandmother’s home. The kitchen curtains had embroidered flowers on them and seeing them gives me a nostalgic feeling. I have also created my pieces in an illustrational manner rather than realistic, to give almost a childlike feel to them. I not only want to represent my childhood, but also my culture and the meals that I rarely eat now.
ARTIST BIO Christine Puello is a Hispanic artist and a junior at Saint Jean Baptiste High School. Both her parents are from the Dominican Republic. They immigrated to America at a young age to give her and her siblings greater opportunities. She was born in New York City on January 26, 2002 and has lived in Inwood, Manhattan since. Her art is inspired by the many things she feels, sees, and dreams about. She is attracted to many mediums, but her primary medium is graphite. 74
Christine has been creating art from a very young age. What she loves most about being an artist is being able to formulate thoughts, feelings, or lyrics into something someone else can witness. She loves that her art doesnâ€™t have to stay on a piece of paper and can transform into anything. Christine tries to practice whenever she has the chance, continuing to develop her skills and talent as an artist. She is a part of the 2018-19 CUE Teen Collective program. Previously, Christine studied drawing, 3D, creative writing, and art issues through the Cooper Union Teen Outreach Program. In 2019, she received an honorable mention for a drawing submitted into the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Christine hopes to attend a university with a strong art department and become a Studio Art major. She aspires to become a creative entrepreneur in the future. 75
ANEESA RAZAK All these words taken from my mouth from the series Growing Pains, 2019 Oil, pastel, embroidery thread Two canvases, 24 x 24 inches each Peer Pressure from the series Growing Pains, 2019 Acrylic on clear acrylic sheet 36 x 23 inches Riddance of Cavities and Words from the series Growing Pains, 2019 Clay and string 9 x 3 x 3 inches ARTIST STATEMENT Razak investigates her memories and experiences growing up as a first generation Guyanese-American through her art practice. Her series in CUE’s exhibition, The Persistence of Memory, explores the notion of belonging and the significance of past memories. Specifically, her paintings reflect stories from her childhood and the growth that comes with maturity. In her artworks, Aneesa has deconstructed the process of remembering or conjuring memory and developed a process to express feelings of nostalgia that are overlooked. Her deconstruction process is centered around teeth as symbols for growth and loss. In order for new teeth to grow in, we must lose our baby teeth. Teeth tell our stories through a course of events that we come to neglect as we get older. These memories become gateways for development and help us grow into our own beings. The artist emphasizes her artworks through using larger ways to express herself. Such symbols cannot be overlooked and deserve a larger representation. Aneesa has experimented with a series of mediums but has gravitated towards the usage of fabric and yarn into her artworks. Aneesa’s interest in mixed media convey a range of skill that does not only belong in a 2-D form. She is able to force the viewer to look at the artwork multiple times to absorb every extra hidden detail. In the series, the mediums used each have been in some way connected through a single red thread and the main symbols to relate each piece. In All these words taken from my mouth, Razak focus on her younger years of wanting perfection and finding it through the approval of others. The connection of thread and the separation of the canvas’ conveys a constant want for connection however being in different stages of growth. When one looks back on their childhood, they do not interpret the real feelings of the times nor do they glorify these memories. The playful colors and pastel tones in the painting takes the viewer away from its underlying meaning and forces them to look at it artificially and indirectly before grasping the full idea. 78
The second painting, Peer Pressure, has a cartoonish quality but touches on the darker aspects of the artist’s childhood; with the loss of teeth comes sudden pain. The painting depicts a figure sitting in an uncomfortable manner and hunched over a string attached to their mouth. Razak references the traditional methods to removing teeth and the acts of violence with it. The loss of movement in the figure keeps them inanimate, a recall before unforeseen pain. By utilizing the subject of a childhood bully, the artist is able to not only speak of the pain with acts of violence, but also her youth growing up in a school plagued with internal and external violence. Being a witness and a victim of bullying, Razak has recalled past events that have impacted her significantly and in other ways bringing them to the surface, trying to find a way to forgive the subject and respond to this memory. The third piece is an installation called Riddance of Cavities and Words. The artist creates a series of clay teeth strung along threads to relate to the acceptance of loss of a tooth or a memory. Each tooth is given its own memory and the viewer witnessed these past memories. The artist chose a sculptural approach because loss is broader than pain or striving for perfection. Loss itself is abstract and cannot be conveyed in one specific way. There are multiple strewn out memories that we lose and eventually our memories become just feelings. The viewer is to be drawn in by the memories not only the teeth. The small surface and the simplicity of the words creates a further complexity to its meaning. Our depictions of loss and reminiscing are often forced into simple memories. Instead of creating artwork surrounding a single simple memory, Razak focuses in on phases of reminiscing and the multiple aspects of it.
ARTIST BIO Aneesa Razak is a first generation Guyanese-American mixed media artist from the Bronx, NY. She attends Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the arts. She has been developing as an artist at Teen Art Salon, an open studio teen program in Long Island City, where she has been able to experiment and create works based around her family’s heritage and culture from Guyana, as well as exploring lost memories from a home not of her own. In her recent artworks, she has explored the lost memories of her own childhood and the ways a story could be told through objects and people surrounding us. Aneesa uses a wide range of materials, playing with textures, patterns and objects that create a bold but expressional appearance. Her colors often define the painting’s mood, whether it is playful or full of emotion. Using these skills, she has created this recurring theme throughout her paintings. Aneesa’s artwork is deeply rooted in her cultural exploration of herself and a culture of her own. She believes that her art is not only for the viewers eyes, but a way for the viewer to dig into their own memories and connect with her own. She has won a golden key for an artwork for the Scholastics Arts and Writing Awards, and has showcased her artwork at the Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City with Teen Art Salon and the Living Gallery in Brooklyn in a gallery event funded by Redbubble called the ‘Be event’. 79
AUDREY ROHLF Me, 2019 Marker and watercolor on cloth lampshade 24 x 12 inches ARTIST BIO Audrey Rohlf lives and works in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She was born on June 9, 2003 and raised in NYC. She is currently a sophomore at the Churchill School. As an empath, Audrey is being raised by an artist and a healer. Growing up in such a creative environment she was surrounded by extremely kind and loving people. Creating art has always been second nature to her for most of her life. It was visual proof of her insecurity, fear of judgement, and attempts to do everything she could to become almost invisible. As recently as 2017, she was creating art that resembled very little of herself. However, as environments and relationships changed, so did her appreciation for her creations. For a very long time, there were very few outlets for her to shine out of. However, now the faces and patterns she creates are purely opposite. Drawing takes her to a place where she can freely express everything she has with zero fucks given. 82
LILY SAMUELS Lily’s Diary, 2019 Found and saved items, mixed media 7.5 x 9.75 inches Desk, 2019 Previously owned object ARTIST STATEMENT Nostalgia is something that I used to get caught up in and it would really hurt the way I ran my life. The process of making my project, Lily’s Diary, forced me to engage with my past and allowed me to reconnect with the events that shaped me in a healthy way. I’m drawing from my life experiences and my writing about them to create installation art that speaks to universal struggle of overcoming loss, as I’ve dealt with it. My work is completely uncensored and leaves me vulnerable so to express the longing for what used to be. The art and writing featured in my project were created while I was experiencing challenging events, so the diary serves as a compilation of my feelings throughout my life. I do not want to present a black and white life because it is never that simple. I hope this project will show my acceptance and ownership of my own emotions. I want, with my work, for viewers to reflect on the stigma against emotion and depression. I want to expose myself and my vulnerabilities to start a conversation about owning your emotions. I want you to sit at my desk and experience my life when you flip through the diary. You are invited to comment, write your name, or share your story at the end of the diary. 86
ARTIST BIO Lily Samuels was born in Beaumont, Texas, but moved abroad when she was two years old. The daughter of an expat, she spent the rest of her formative years overseas in Accra, Ghana, Chengdu, China and Kuwait. Living in China for six years, Lily experienced most of her developmental years surrounded by Chinese culture and customs and learned Mandarin whilst there. In Kuwait, she enjoyed learning about Middle Eastern culture and learned to speak Arabic. Unfortunately, when Lily was 13, her father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away, and her family was forced to repatriate to the US. She is currently enrolled at Columbia Secondary School. In her freshman year, she participated in the Cooper Union program. She completed an Arabic class at Columbia University during her sophomore year. The following summer, she was accepted by the Summer Arts Institute, where she was admitted into the Visual Arts High School Studio, while also working a part-time retail job in the Bronx. Her academic days were 14 hours long. Lily’s mentor had recommended her to the Frieze Teen Program, which she was admitted into for this school year. Lily has consistently maintained an A grade point average throughout her school career, receiving academic recognition, including the President’s Award. Lily’s interest in art was influenced by both her father and aunt, as her father was a painter and her aunt is an art historian. Lily enjoys science, alongside art. She plans on incorporating them in some way as a career. 87
JAELIZE SMITH Van Cortlandt from the series 32603, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 12 x 12 inches THEARC from the series 32603, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 12 x 12 inches Magasin de Disques from the series 32603, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 12 x 12 inches ARTIST STATEMENT I have always found it to be infatuating to make pieces of art when I see something beautiful that interests me. Normally, I paint based off of my personal life experiences. I like to go through photo albums, my journals, video tapes, etc. to get my inspiration. I never liked writing growing up, so being able to paint life my story is something that will always mean a lot to me. I want people to be able to feel almost like theyâ€™re living in my creations. Itâ€™s not about trying to find a deep meaning but rather seeing life from my perspective. My project, 32603, is an acrylic triptych on canvas. The triptych highlights my favorite interests as a child, preteen, and teenager. The left panel shows the park my mother and I would always go to over the summer when I was a child. The middle panel that speaks to my preteen years is a painting of ballet shoes. Dance was my form of expression for a very long time and still has a place deep in my heart. And for the right panel, representing my current life as a teen, is a collection of vinyl records. My life was, and still is, heavily influenced by music. Vinyl in specific are a vital piece to the triptych. I personally find music to be more enjoyable on record than simply being downloaded. The nostalgic aspect of my work is a remembrance of my past to coincide with my growth.
ARTIST BIO Visual and graphic artist Jaelize Smith was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. Currently, she is a home-schooled senior. In the future, she plans to attend Parsons School of Design and major in Graphic Design. 90
She has always found joy in the freedom of expression in making art, so it was easy for her to learn. Her primary mediums are acrylic paint and charcoal, but the digital arts will always have a special place in her heart. Once she was gifted with a tablet and stylus, her digital paintings elevated from there. She spent hours on Google and YouTube studying and improving her illustrative techniques. Through all of her research, she found an app called ProCreate. It has enabled her to successfully complete more than 50 pieces over the past two years. She has made over 50 completed pictures within her one year of experience. Other than designing, Smith enjoys experiencing the performing arts and practicing the piano. Music has always been a big part of her life. Growing up, her mother worked as a caregiver to a musician and her father was in a band. Before her dreams of being a painter, she wanted to be a professional singer or guitarist. 91
DAVID STERLING Memories in Shadow, 2019 Mixed media 14 x 11 inches ARTIST STATEMENT All humans have almost the exact same DNA, coming from of millions of years living in trees, developing instincts, migrating from Africa to five other continents that comprise our world today and evolving from nomadic, hunter-gatherers living in nature into the complex species and civilizations that we have today. From that time, it is suggested that we have traces of our animalistic past still within us, unconscious memories of how we lived up in trees and how we saw the world in our proto-Homo sapiens forms. The experiences of humanityâ€™s past are embedded into our mythologies: life-giving world trees, serpentine gods, and manifestations of the elements appear in many of ancient religions that developed around the globe. Symbolism, like the double helix, can be found in the art of many different cultures around the world, could these be depictions of our DNA gathered from psychedelic rituals showing us the inner workings of our souls, or just designs based on the mating of snakes? Though the primal and primate part of people persists through our unconscious mind, unlocked through shamanistic practices and visions from beyond, new ideas wrought from manâ€™s tendency to see patterns in how we live manifest into the idea of archetypes, an ideal or shadow that everyone can see manifesting in their own lives and something that connects our world. Memories in Shadow explores these ideas, gathering symbolism from mythological tropes and other more modern ideas. The idea of the collective unconscious, presented by Carl Jung, suggests a reservoir of common memories that connect us all while giving us the archetypal structure that our brains tend to follow. The imagery of double helix trees, figures symbolizing archetypes, serpents, neural networks of roots, and a glacial mountain ring, similar to those in some depictions of Yggdrasil, all comes together through a gouache base followed by layers of pen and ink, creating Davidâ€™s interpretation of collective memory and the human experience. 94
ARTIST BIO David is a senior concentrating in Visual Arts at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Born in New York City, David grew up and lives in the East Village with his older brother and parents. David was introduced to the visual arts by his mom. Her influence started on David at a young age, taking him to her studio for long days of projects. David grew up spending long days sketching in his momâ€™s studio and observing her artistic practice, learning how to grow and adapt as an artist. David works in a variety of materials, most notably pen and ink, and focuses his work on magic, technology, imaginative landscapes, and human figures. He illustrates the characters, locations, narratives, and worlds that he builds. This fall, David will begin a new path on his artistic journey - higher education. David has been accepted to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where he will major in Graphic Design. He is looking forward to the scenery change and the focus it will bring on his career and artistic goals. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to fantasy audiobooks and cool, foggy days. For other examples of his work as well as sketches, follow @hominidlaser on Instagram. 95
JENNIFER SZE Nightmare Fuel, 2019 Acrylic 24 x 48 inches
ARTIST STATEMENT Jennifer Sze is a Queens-based artist working in acrylic on canvas. Her work is mainly pictorial, but also includes abstract components. She likes to create realistic artwork, but in a non-realistic style with rough and energetic brush strokes. She chooses subject matter based on her emotions. As a first generation Asian-American, she has experienced a childhood growing up with her cultural background and heritage. She implements how she felt growing up into her art as emotions. She expresses her emotions through colors, brush strokes, and subject matter. Her latest painting explores a nightmare she had as a 5-year-old child. In the nightmare she woke up to bugs covering every single inch of her room. She vividly remembers the details of the bugs’ bodies or shapes and how unnaturally perfect they were. Ever since having that nightmare filled with bugs, she’s been terrified of them. She hopes to convey a sense of unease and uncomfortableness in her painting, Nightmare Fuel. The painting illustrates a negative memory she has held onto for the past 10 years. The theme of nostalgia/ memory has a positive connotation, but she wanted to create artwork that explores the negative side about this topic. She wanted to create painting that depicts the negative side of nostalgia because when she looks back on her childhood, she remembers the bad memories first.
ARTIST BIO Jennifer Sze is an Asian-American teen artist living in Queens. She is 15 years old and is a sophomore at Fiorello Laguardia High School for Performing Arts. Her parents are immigrants from Hong Kong and Shanghai. She works with acrylic paint and graphite. Her background in art is vast, having taken many art classes at school and summer art programs. She took an art class since she was in grade 4, but has been drawing longer than she can remember. She attended Ashcan Art for her summer of 2017 and took a painting class and graphic design class. Since then, her interest in painting has grown and it’s her preferred medium now. At school, she has taken a wide variety of classes such as printmaking, ceramics, painting, color theory, and drawing. She has won the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key 2019 for her charcoal piece, Shadows. 98
ELLEN TOEROEK Snippets, 2019 Acrylic on canvas Dimensions variable ARTIST STATEMENT Ellen Toeroekâ€™s Snippets are a collection of images showing some of her favorite memories from her childhood. Included are many images from her two favorite playgrounds that she would always go to when she was younger. ARTIST BIO Ellen Toeroek is an 18-year-old artist from New York City. She grew up in the Chelsea area of Manhattan and is currently a 12th grade visual arts student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She attended the CUE Teen Collective Program last fall through spring, where she was able to display her work in the CUE show titled Home. She has also shown her work in the LaGuardia semi-annual shows since freshman year. Ellen enjoys rendering people and places that are important to her. Her artistic style is defined by her consistent use of color and realism. Some of her favorite mediums at the moment are watercolor and acrylic paint, as well as ink. This fall, she will attend Brooklyn College to major in psychology. She takes pleasure in using her creative skills in various aspects of her life and is excited to use psychology as a way to guide some of her art. 102
MAJOR PROGRAMMATIC SUPPORT FOR THE CUE TEEN COLLECTIVE IS PROVIDED BY
CAF American Donor Fund, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Natalia Nakazawa and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts; Brian Fee, VOLTA Art Fair and The Armory Show; Jenkins Johnson Gallery; Nate Lewis and Fridman Gallery; Jean Butler, Manyaku Mashilo, and SMAC Gallery; Clara Andrade Pereira and Pablo’s Birthday; Leah Adamucci, Rebecca Lockwood, Samantha Anderson, and Sotheby’s; the Center for Book Arts; and Hernease Davis, Nfinit Resident Fall 2018 .
All artwork © the artists, 2019. Exhibition and artwork photography by Eva Weinberg. Portrait of Ashley Mezi by Nancy Floyd. Graphic design by Eva Weinberg and Lilly Hern-Fondation.