Other stories filed under Award winners
An artist’s journey
Madi Wehmeyer ‘18 shares her experience with art.
January 25, 2018
Wehmeyer’s influential environment
A hum of voices leaks out of an adjoining doorway in the AP Studio Art classroom. The room used to be a dark room which, deemed obsolete due to the rise of digital cameras, was renovated into a workspace. The room was bright but was offset by a musty, unidentifiable smell that was later explained away as cheesy scalloped potatoes. Rows of individual workstations decorated with artwork line the walls and a set of tables occupy the center of the room. This cluster is where most of the room’s cheerful denizens congregate; on this particular day, they were talking and laughing about topics that ranged from art to their respective childhoods to male genitalia. Madi Wehmeyer ‘18 sat in the most colorful workstation in the room.
“It’s always been a big part of my life since my mom paints a lot,” Wehmeyer said.
Wehmeyer skipped the paper and Crayola and used the readily available art supplies in her own artistic home.
“Even as a kid I would paint with acrylic paints and use canvases that we had laying around,” said Wehmeyer.
Her mother’s influence goes beyond just her supplies. She was surrounded by her mother’s paintings which are hun
g around the house.
“A lot of [my mother’s] art used to be more fantasy based and that’s a lot of what I like to do now,” Wehmeyer said.
Wehmeyer pinpoints when she became serious about art to kindergarten at Dennis Chavez elementary school in New Mexico. An adversarial friend, Adam, was “better at art than [she] was” according to Wehmeyer.
“I really looked up to him and he kind of got me started. He got me thinking, ‘oh, I want to do this too,’” said Wehmeyer.
Adam drew a lot of Pokemon.
“We’re in kindergarten so anything, no matter how dorky, was the coolest thing…”
Wehmeyer reveals that these encounters are why she started to draw more and more as she wanted “get to his level.”
Wehmeyer is well passed her kindergarten dreams of succeeding her friend Adam.
“Yeah. I don’t want to toot my own horn but he stopped doing art a long time ago,” Wehmeyer said.
Wehmeyer sits on a metal
stool in the art room with one elbow resting on the desk. She sports black overalls layered over galaxy leggings and a holographic sleeved cropped top. Her lipstick is bright blue but it looks natural with her style. Madi’s boyfriend of nearly four years, Jackson Finer ‘18, is a big fan of how she dresses.
“She’ll walk in and she’s got crazy clompy boots [and] blue lipstick and stuff and she just stands out. I think it’s great.”
Wehmeyer spends the majority of her day in the art room… She only has two official art classes but she also spends her two open periods in the art room.
“It’s definitely a lot nicer to have that time in this creative atmosphere than in math class or something,” Wehmeyer said.
“I see her every time I walk into the art room doing art. Either she is late because she is doing art or…she’s just doing art all the time,” said Finer.
This is Wehmeyer’s second year taking AP Studio Art.
“I had an amazing experience with it last year and I figured it would be great to do it again so I could continue to push myself to improve my art,” Wehmeyer said.
The overarching goal of the class is to develop an AP Studio Art portfolio.
“There are two parts to the AP Studio Art portfolio. One is breadth, which shows a wide range of all the abilities…and then you have a concentration and the concentration then should be…the area that you stand out the most,” AP Studio Art teacher Christian Aanestad said.
Despite the prior year’s experience, she finds it harder the second time around. There are three art concepts to choose from each year: drawing, design, and 3D art. Wehmeyer did drawing last year and as she cannot repeat the same concept twice, she had to choose design this year.
“It takes a lot more focus and planning for my pieces than it did last year…I am personally more [sic] spontaneous [sic] so it’s been difficult for me to have to plan everything out like that.”
Her concentration this year is focused on her most frequented medium, watercolor, and the subject of human figures and emotions.
“It’s like really warped bodies…sort of like representing emotions fighting their way out of the body,” Wehmeyer said.
She particularly enjoys drawing people. She thinks of it as a symbol of bringing art back to where it came from.
“Well, I think art comes from people. It’s hard to explain. It comes from the minds of people and it’s expressed through people I guess that combination kind of brings it back to its roots.”
Aanestad has seen a lot of growth in Wehmeyer’s work.
“She is constantly reevaluating and looking for new ways to express herself [and] get her ideas across.”
Wehmeyer’s earlier work had a Japanese cartoon influence, but according to Aanestad, it has progressed beyond that.
“It has its own identity now.”
Wehmeyer’s future plans
Wehmeyer is currently going through an art block with respects to her concentration. She has been
working on her current subject matter for a few months and will continue to do so for months more.
“Since I have done a lot of that my mind is like ‘Okay, I’m kind of done with this for now let’s look elsewhere,’” said Wehmeyer.
Although it is frustrating, Wehmeyer admits that the block has helped her expand. She hopes to overcome her it and continue her work to create the 12 pieces of her concentration.
Her short-term art goals are reflected in her future plans. Wehmeyer is confident that she will pursue art in the future.
“It’s been a huge part of my life all the way through. I definitely couldn’t just drop it,” Wehmeyer said.
She has two careers in mind which include an art therapist and a high school art teacher. The common appeal for Wehmeyer is that both jobs allow her to interact with people.
“I have always wanted to [sic] help people,” Wehmeyer said.