Art Final Explores Personal Culture


Ava Mason, Staff Writer

As the final project for the Advanced Art class and Art 2 this year, instructor Jill Langston hopes to access her students’ cultural diversity in a unique way.

“The project is my students thinking about their own personal narrative being their own personal stories about their cultures that make them up,” said Langston. “Taking a look at that and looking at foods and then they’re going to look into their own personal narrative, choose a food, and then do either an illustration or a recipe.”

This is the first time Langston has assigned this particular project to her whole class, although she has recommended it to individual AP students who needed to add to their portfolio.

The digital challenge was inspired by a former student. “I had a student who is now a teacher over at Arc center, and she went to school over at Arc Center which is in Pasadena –it’s a design school there– and she is half Chinese, half Thai. She did this lovely series because her mom’s a really good cook and she’s from Thailand,” said Langston. “She did these beautifully illustrated recipe cards series of herself and her mom’s green curries, and so it was like her holding the bowl of her mom’s curries and everything is very illustrated.”

Langston hopes students will learn more about themselves and their cultural background through this final assignment. “I hope that they’ll have a fun time looking into their different stories, because everybody’s got very very different stories and some people are very clear on what their cultural background is. Both parents are from Israel, for example, and so they’re very clear in what that cultural story is,” said Langston. “But a lot of people here in California, they are made up of so many different ethnicities as well as cultures so it’s a giant mish-mash. I think it will be very cool to see what we’ve got here.”

Junior Hannah Eberheardt will be using a family cookie recipe. “I actually designed a cat-like creature based off of the cookies themselves, and so I’m doing a cool illustration of the animal I designed based off them,” said Eberheardt.

Another unique aspect of the project is its use of digital media. “I think these days when you’re working as a graphic designer or working in illustration, there is something that you’re trying to communicate visually, and you are in fine art too but it can be much more subtle, a little more illusive,” said Langston. “It has to be fairly direct in graphic design, because frequently you’re trying to sell a product, or sell an idea, and that’s where those design areas usually lead”.

“I think it’s more difficult for some people because we mainly focus on traditional materials in class, but we’re using digital stuff here, but I do use digital a lot so it’s a little bit easier for me. A lot of people are struggling because it’s difficult to switch to digital,” said Eberheardt.

Senior Lindsay Easter sees the project not just as a way to learn more about her background, but also as a way to diversify her art skills. “For me it’s less about finding out about my culture and more just getting to experiment with a different kind of style,” she said.