For the past few weeks, 12 of our artistically inclined students have been spending their Wednesday afternoons working with Yoko Takashima, an artist who works with video and sound as well as digital images. The students are taking part in the New Extreme programme, put on by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, a mentoring opportunity during which high school students get a chance to work with a local artist in a different medium.
“They have a strong work ethic and a good attitude,” says Ms. Takashima of the students she has been working with. “Their ability to understand the conceptual framework is very impressive.”
For their projects, our students are creating three images centred on their identity. Each image is the cover for a CD, which contains music or songs that are connected to the three versions of themselves: who they think they are, who other people perceive them as, and who no one knows they are.
“Each image represents a different side of their identity,” says Ms. Takashima, whose work was featured at the AGGV this fall. “It’s a self-portrait.”
The challenge of the project is to combine images using Photoshop in a way that keeps the images looking like art. “It’s not computer graphic work,” says Ms. Takashima. “It’s a photography project.” Since the students are already proficient with the technology itself, they are able to focus more on its creative possibilities.
In Ms. Takashima’s mind, a good project is one that has a strong concept, has been well-executed, shows a lot of thought and aspiration, and is honest. “The project is about having the guts to put yourself out there,” she says. “To expose yourself.”
Another benefit of the programme is the opportunity for students to see the professional side of the art world, such as how to write an artist statement, present their work professionally and promote an exhibition. As part of the project, the students’ pieces will be unveiled at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria this April.