Arike ’16 Mixes Color and Mortality in Art

MHS senior Laura Arike has created eye-catching and colorful art throughout her high school career. Arike met with The Globe to discuss her pieces and her inspirations.

The Globe: Describe your involvement with art, both at MHS and in other programs.

Laura Arike: I’ve taken all the studio art programs Mamaroneck High School offers—Art Foundation, Drawing and Painting, Advanced Drawing and Painting and now AP Studio Art. I also take intermediate clay—my first year taking clay at MHS—which is a really great time, and a nice break from 2-D art. I’ve taken two courses at FIT over the past two summers, an illustration class and a portfolio class. It was a great experience to trek into the city everyday and just make art for hours straight.Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 6.08.56 PM.png

TG: When did you first become interested in art? What sparked your interest?

LA: It sounds cliche, but I feel like I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember. It was inevitable-my grandmother is a professional printmaker, and my older sister has always been incredibly artistic. It just felt like a natural path for me to take, even when I was doodling poorly in elementary and middle school.

TG: Who, or what, has been most influential in shaping you as an artist?

LA: Aside from my family, I really do believe that the Art Department at Mamaroneck High School has played a crucial role in helping me develop as an artist, especially Adam Rizzuti, Kevin Klein and Don Keene (Michael Dollar is good for tough love, too.) They’ve constantly forced me to think further, push harder, do more—even when the criticism was tough to hear sometimes. Without all of their advice, guidance and critiques, I don’t think I would be nearly as invested in art as I am today. I’m also extremely passionate about art history, and I find a lot of my inspiration to create through the study of art and its impact/relations to world history.

TG: How has art changed your outlook on the world or how you view yourself ?

LA: In my daily life, I’ve become more observant of my surroundings and how I can manipulate them into art. Mundane things become sources of inspiration; I’m always seeking new, unconventional ways to translate my environment and experiences into artwork.

TG: How would you describe your style?Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 6.08.49 PM.png

LA: My style is a bit strange—I don’t attempt, nor want, to make my art hyperrealistic and completely accurate, so there’s a somewhat of a cartoonish feel to it in some pieces, despite the often dark subject matter. My AP Art concentration this year is “memento mori”, Latin for “remember you will die”, so naturally, the subject matter is macabre. However, a lot of my work is colorful, since my favourite medium is colored pencils. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what my style is, but this year at least, it’s a juxtaposition of vibrant color with heavy themes.

TG: Who are your favorite artists?

LA: I’d have to say Hieronymus Bosch—his work is so surreal and fascinating, and I always find new things to admire in every single painting each time, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. He balances disturbing and grotesque subject matter with brilliant and inviting color palettes, something I strive to do. I’m also a big fan of Egon Schiele and Otto Dix.

TG: What is your favorite piece or project that you’ve done?

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 6.08.42 PM.pngLA: My favorite piece I’ve done so far is most likely the diptych of the two skeletons who are dressed in overly elaborate Medieval clothing. It was a lot of fun to make, and I’m really happy with the overall outcome and detail. I also really dig the piece with a little girl’s face melting into a skeleton—it’s unsettling, but extremely colorful, which I think is somewhat funny.

TG: Do you intend to pursue art in college or professionally?

LA: Yes, definitely! I’m actually attending art school—Pratt Institute—so I’ll be doing nothing but art for the next four years. It’s going to be fantastic to never have to worry about science or math again, and instead just do what I love.

TG: What advice can you give to other MHS artists?

LA: Take risks! That’s the number one critique Mr. Keene has given me this year—he likes to remind me with every piece I do—and it’s definitely true. If you don’t take risks and challenge yourself in your artwork, you will never grow or develop aScreen Shot 2016-05-07 at 6.08.36 PM.pngs an artist. Don’t hesitate to do something that feels out of your comfort zone or different from what you normally do—a lot of my best pieces have stemmed from being spontaneous and disregarding anything that may holding me back (for example, being scared to do a
background in fear of ruining the figure, etc).

TG : Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

LA: Everyone needs to check out the version of The Life of Pablo on Spotify A.S.A.P.

By Ali Steinberg

Artwork courtesy of Laura Arike

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