This fall, a very unique piece was entered into our national art contest from Barwell Road Elementary School in North Carolina.
Luk Siu, Selina Ifidon, Kyra Davis, and Charly Mari worked for more than 30-40 hours each creating a panel made with colored aquarium rocks. Under the direction of Bryan L. Allyn, there were able to create this stunning piece, “Lincoln”.
Art specialist Bryan explains, “When starting this project, I knew that it was going to require a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication and artistic ability. I hand-selected four of my gifted students to each complete a section of the portrait of our sixteenth President. The students’ dedication to this project was emphasized when they volunteered countless recess hours and several vacation days to see it through completion (Barwell Road Elementary is a year-round school). I was incredibly impressed with their enthusiasm and motivation for tirelessly working on something that would take months to complete. I am very proud to be their art teacher and mentor. As they move on with their education, they will each be fondly remembered throughout the rest of my career.”
Constructed on four individual 12″ x 16″ wood panels, each segment of “Lincoln” was drawn using a grid system so that they would align properly. The boards were then painted using four basic colors (dark brown, light brown, red, and black) that matched the similar shade of aquarium gravel used to cover the entire portrait. The most tedious part of this work was the application of the rocks. Each individual pebble was placed on top of the corresponding colored paint and adjusted so that they would all fit together like pieces of a puzzle.
Additionally, each side of the wood panels was painted wherever the colors met the edges or corners of the board. The intention was to hang the work with slightly spaced gaps between each panel. If the image was slightly separated from the next panel, it would give the illusion that it was still together. The separation of the panels would be a symbolic representation that during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency the country was divided, and he was the president who brought our nation back together.
The students enjoyed creating this piece and seeing the beautiful outcome. “It felt really good when we finally finished the Abraham Lincoln project.” Kyra Davis explained, “We had to draw, paint, and put little pebbles all over it. It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but it was really fun!” Fellow artist Selina Ifidon added, “After completing this art work I really thought it was amazing! I felt so happy and proud of myself.” Charly Marin learned a great deal of patience while creating the piece, and added “This project took a lot of patience and time. It was worth it, because everyone who sees it now knows how awesome of an artist I am.”
This project was influenced by a work of art featured on a reality television show (“Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” aired on the Bravo Network), a trip to a local pet store, and a documentary on the History Channel. After a brainstorming session involving Bryan and his team of four artists, they developed a plan that led to the creation of their elementary masterpiece.
“Lincoln” received High Merit recognition in the Fall 2012 art book, which comes out this May. To learn more about our national art contests, visit www.CelebratingArt.com.