By Design

For senior Morgan Nash, art is a way of life.

Sreeja Yellapragada, Staff Writer

When did you start doing art seriously?

I started doing art seriously around the age of eight when I got a private art tutor. I learned about words I had never heard before–value, composition, mark-making, color theory–all of these concepts were foreign to me as a second-grader. During our lessons, she’d set up a still life for me to draw from observation using charcoal or graphite, and it’s always fun for me to look back and see the improvement in my work in that short span of a year or so.  In addition to these lessons, I regularly took classes at the North Hills Art Center. I was enrolled in everything from comic bookmaking to pottery, charcoal to paper sculpting. When I was in eighth grade, I took a figure drawing class that was three and a half hours every Saturday evening. I was the youngest person in the class, with everyone else being over the age of 40. Looking back, that class was likely the most pivotal moment in my art career: seeing people in their late 60s learning art and being so incredibly happy doing so ultimately persuaded me to mentally declare that I’d pursue art for the rest of my life.

What are some of your plans for after high school?

My plans for after high school are to go to some sort of art school or a university with a good art program. I plan to major in visual arts and minor in something else, depending on the school. I hope to get a master’s and have gallery shows and possibly become a postsecondary educator in the future. My only hope is that my art continues to grow in meaning and that the meaning of it reaches people and moves them in some way. 

You’ve done artwork for The Uproar.  What are some other ways that you show off your creativity? 

Other than The Uproar, I make art for many different school-related things.  I am the president of the National Art Honor Society, and with that, I often have to make graphics for our publicity. I’m also the Historian of STUCO and the head of the Dance Committee, so I regularly contribute my art mind to dance decoration design and other things.  I also have a (sort of) business–I make and sell skateboards and longboards that I custom paint.  I don’t do any outside-of-school art classes anymore, but last year I was enrolled as a student of Pratt for a pre-college course, which greatly improved my skills. Most often though, I just make art for myself.

Do you have any favorite artists that inspire you?

Paul Gauguin is one of my favorite artists–though I admit he was not the greatest of people. His style is inconsistent and chaotic, and his work portrays him as godly, the hero of his own life. Gauguin, while truly being a monstrous human being, somehow managed to create artwork that inspired the likes of Picasso and other artists of the early 1920s. He played a large part in the development of artistic movements, and his disorganized works allow artists now to look back and say, “What on earth was he thinking?” 

What would be your dream job?

This is a difficult question for me to answer because I know so little about the art world still. I would say my dream as of now would be to show my work in galleries and travel the world, but also be a professor or educator in some form.  

What is your favorite piece of work you have made so far?

Some people say that an artist never likes what they create, and I think that saying definitely applies to me. I honestly haven’t genuinely liked anything I’ve ever created, and there’s probably something deep that can be pulled out of that statement but we can just leave it at that. 

As a StuCo officer, how was the planning for Homecoming for this year?

Planning Homecoming was definitely very interesting this year. In years past, it has been a much more straightforward process because we didn’t have to deal with all of the twists and turns of the pandemic. I think our plans for the dance changed about three or four times before we landed on the final theme and location. I started work planning it back in June, and finally got all of the decorations ordered in late August. I am so grateful for everyone’s help in this process–their work has really helped with the stress we’ve all felt with the dance. I guess the most challenging aspect of the dance is the backlash all of the student council officers have received from it. Lots of things have been out of our control. Overall, it has been a fun but challenging year for that. 

How time-consuming is being on the leadership team for StuCo? Is it hard juggling the responsibility and all of the other clubs you are a part of?

Because Homecoming requires so much planning, I’d say I spend about 5-10 hours a week doing STUCO related things as of now. The only thing making everything such a struggle right now is college applications. Other than that, it is a vibe. 

What is your favorite artistic movement?

I really value diversity in style, content, etc. and I think that each art movement or period has contributed greatly to the development of our modern society in so many ways. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and I think it’s important as an artist to not only be aware of each art movement but to appreciate them all equally and learn from them. 

If you could get a brand deal with any art supply store right now, what would it be?

BLICK!  The only few art stores around here are Michael’s and Joann’s, and they’re a bit lacking in the fine-arts department of things. Blick is hands-down the best art supply store.  If I could get a brand deal with them, my life would be complete. 

How do you feel about NA’s Art Department? Any favorite classes or teachers?

I absolutely love NA’s art department. I will be forever grateful for not only the happy memories I’ve created here but the wonderful lessons I’ve learned in these classes.  I’ve spent the majority of my high school career in the art wing of both NAI and NASH, and I can confidently say that the Art Department is one of the best around. I’m so happy to have been given these opportunities. My only wish is that there was a greater emphasis on the arts in our school as a whole–it feels like athletics are pushed so much and the arts feel a bit left out at times. I am so thankful for Mr. Bockoven, Mrs. Swan, Mrs. Miller, Mr. Dresmich, and every other art teacher I have had at NA.

In what ways do you incorporate art into your everyday life?

I’d say I incorporate art into my everyday life by dressing sort of fashionable at time, and in general, I think about my life from an art perspective.