Oyster River is home to many talented artists. These people have worked for years to build their artistic skills and showcase them in different ways. These are their stories.
Sofia Sarzosa has always been drawn to creativity, no pun intended. Since elementary school, Sarzosa has been into discovering different types of art media. It wasn’t until fifth grade that she found passion for photography at the Madbury Public Library. She was also influenced by her uncle, who is a professional photographer. For a long time, she was just teaching herself with her uncle’s photography gear. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she decided to buy her own camera, a Canon T Rebel 7. With that investment, Sarzosa has been able to get her work out there through yearbook club, as well as a personal photography Instagram account (@sofshots) and website.
Sarzosa loves being a part of these things to bring back school spirit after remote learning and also to capture moments and memories. “My favorite type of photography is portrait photography. I just love capturing people’s facial reactions and just like the naturalness captured.” Sarzosa would like to continue being a photographer next year at Marist College to continue improving upon this hobby while pursuing another one of her passions, fashion merchandising.
Matteo Caruccio started doing art around age 3 when a variety of Crayola colors sparked his interest. Since then, he has been trying many different types of media. One summer, he did a program with his friends at an art studio where they tried coiling, leaf printing, painting and cutting paper. That inspired Caruccio to get out of his comfort zone and have fun trying to get better at things like painting, pottery and digital art, rather than just staying in drawing, a comfort zone. There are many different aspects of art that Caruccio enjoys like the community, the relaxation of doing art and “just that process of making mistakes and then learning from your mistakes in a safe space.”
Caruccio has gotten a lot more comfortable taking on challenges in and out of the art room because of the art classroom. He has shown his art at Mouth of the River’s Coffee House, as well as involving it when he was on stage competing for Mr. Bobcat. Next year, Matteo will be combining his artistic drawing skills and his logical thinking to work on becoming an architect at Virginia Tech. He wants to keep the fine arts as a hobby, but also thinks he’ll get a similar outlet out of architecture. Virginia Tech has an art space and studio for creating with unlimited supplies, opening many opportunities to create for Caruccio.
Ella Daniels has loved art for a long time. In her freshman year, she decided to take it seriously and make it a career path. Daniels mostly enjoys drawing and painting, but recently has also really gotten into colored pencil, gouache paint and digital art. Daniels thinks art is important because it’s a different life skill that can offer different things to everyone. She also thinks it’s a good outlet for relaxation. “I think the art department is a very relaxing and safe place, and everyone can find value in that. Whether it’s sitting down and de-stressing after a hard class or learning a new skill, or just being a part of that environment, I think it is really important.”
Daniels has been proactive about her art and showing it in the Kittery Art Association and also teaching some art classes at Newmarket School of Fine Art. As Daniels has developed as an artist, she has put more meaning into her artwork. Many of her pieces express personal connections, such as experiences she has had, or bigger issues, such as phone overuse. Daniels talks about how we’ve seen art in many things for a long time and how it has expressed itself in things like storytelling, ads and architecture: “we’ve seen cave paintings, we’ve seen people taking what they don’t know and what they do and displaying that and an emotional aspect, whether that be storytelling or your emotions, there’s value in that art.” Daniels has decided to continue making art next year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Gaby Lowrey loves drawing, painting and pottery. Lowrey’s first art experience was with Crayola on her father’s apartment walls. Since then, she has been working with different materials to get out mental images on paper. “Art has always been like a type of thing that I can turn to when I’m having a hard time. It helps me get in the zone, work on my craft and is something that’s calming and makes me feel better. I guess for students here too, it’s all about inspiring others and being inspired.” One of the most inspiring times in art at Oyster River for Lowery was when she was a sophomore and she saw the senior art show. “I think, you know, the voiceover art showcases something really small that has a huge effect. Like being able to put student artwork out there and sharing it with your class I feel like it has an effect that inspires others and makes them want to create.”
Lowrey is unsure of what exactly she wants to pursue for a career, but she doesn’t think it will only be creating art. However, she would still like to stay in the art community in college, as well as making an art social media to let more people see her work. Overall, Lowrey thinks that art is becoming a more important thing in our society now. Robots are taking over many jobs and having art jobs will allow us to keep the touch of human emotion and story in our work.
Elise Riddell is an artist with bursts of random creativity and inspiration. She has played with pottery, painting, pastels, gouache paint and even started her own sewing ELO. In elementary school, Riddell was bullied and her 4th grade art teacher always made her feel better by giving her an outlet in art and making her feel welcome in the classroom, even when it wasn’t class time. Since then, Riddell has really found a community in art where she feels she is limitless in self expression for example in her self made clothes or random drawings.
Riddell likes how ORHS has art hanging all around the school’s walls. She says this makes the school feel more like an artistic community filled with excitement, rather than just a place where people move from classroom to classroom. She also believes this is true in everyday life, where people like to fill their space with things someone created that speak to them in some way. For this reason, Riddell loves filling her space in her room and in the community with art work. For example, she painted a mural in the ORHS library, made her own prom dress, and sells ceramics of mushrooms through social media.
Riddell describes her art dream, saying, “I want to own a pop up art shop where I have an app that follows me around the world and I would just pop up in random spots around the world with my little art shop and sell all the stuff that I made. I would give hints on the app so people could figure out where I am.” Riddell is aware that this exact art dream may not happen but is excited to attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she believes that the professors and connections made there will help her pursue her dreams and make a career from her creations.
There is a large and diverse art community at Oyster River that has brought culture, creativity and comfort to our school. The seniors this year who have impacted the art community will be missed as they continue their creativity elsewhere. If you’re interested check out the social media of these artists.
Artwork courtesy of sources