(Image Courtesy of Mia Rosenberg)
Brentwood School

Opinion: Portraying a message through artwork is powerful

As I take a seat at my desk, the first thing that meets my gaze is a blank canvas, urging me to take advantage of the abundance of opportunities it offers.

Piles of oil pastels call my name and a bouquet of paintbrushes remind me of their capabilities to bring a palette of paint to life.

When I blindly reach around my ever so messy desk for an HB pencil to begin my sketching, I am certain that the possibilities are endless. I scramble to get my thoughts onto the canvas, overwhelmed with the concern that they will vanish.

For as long as I can remember, art has been a special safe haven for me from the rest of the world and a meaningful outlet. Whether the medium I am specializing in is a colored pencil or acrylic paint, I always work diligently to ensure that my piece is something to be proud of.

Recently, I realized the effect that artwork has on other people. When viewing a piece, I usually find myself feeling an emotion that the artist often hoped for people to experience. I resigned with this thought deeply and decided to attempt to convey a message through my next piece.

After grueling work of applying layers and layers of pastel and colored pencil to my easel, I finally felt that I had achieved my goal.

As a 16-year-old in high school, I have recognized the ongoing issue of bullying. When I hear the term bullying, my mind quickly leaps to the cliché image of an innocent high schooler being shoved into a locker or having a post-it-note stuck onto their back. But this is really not what bullying always looks like.

Bullying can be anything from receiving hostile treatment from classmates to being agonized through social media. No matter the size of the incident, this is something that needs to be put to a halt immediately.

Overcome with a desire to make a difference in my community, I was inspired to raise awareness of bullying through my artwork. I used an amplified perspective, a technique I learned in art class, to make the image I was trying to portray seem strong and powerful.

After consulting with a friend of mine, she offered to model for my piece, and I drew a large scale sketch of her as a “bully.” Then, I surrounded the fiery image of this bully with gradient, blue wisps of oil pastel, to represent the importance of “upstanders.”

An upstander is someone who expresses their beliefs and isn’t afraid to defend what they know is the right thing to do. Up standers can be anyone, even you. With enough upstanders, we can finish our fight against bullying, and I hope my artwork can help spread this message, and even influence more people to become an upstander, too.