Don’t paint the town, paint the halls of Liberty

Nicole Treece, Spotlight Editor

Da Vinci has the Lourve, Monet has the Met, Picasso has The Reina Sofia, and aspiring Liberty artists have the hallways.

Lining the walls in the art and history wing are remnants of Liberty’s past. Nine pieces of art ranging in mediums from digital, photography, and pastel acrylics are the legacies of students who graduated before most of the current students were in elementary school. 

“The art makes our school a wonderful place; the walls reflect our student body and their creativity,” art teacher Annie Cooper said. “I think students and staff enjoy seeing the artworks from year to year.”

In one of the frames sits a digital painting depicting two ranchers watching a dragon try to wrangle their own cattle, following the theme of monsters put into real-world scenarios. The caption names this painting as “Wrangler” created by artist Kelsey Canaga.

“I’ve always loved the interplay between fantasy, myth, cryptids, etc, and how they affect our modern understanding of the world around us,” Canaga said. “Plus, monsters are super fun to draw.”

Canaga uses her monster-drawing skills today as a sculptor for Funko after graduating from Liberty in 2011 and DigiPen Institue of Technology in 2015. She has created Funko Pops of beloved characters from Overwatch, Demon Slayer, and Yu-Gi-Oh.

“I was hired in as the very first 3D rendering artist to build the rendering team from the ground up,” Canaga said. “My job was to color the figures, then digitally take photo-realistic images for production and post-production.”

 

Another piece adorning the halls is a pastel and acrylic painting depicting a girl laying on her stomach staring into the distance bursting with vibrant colors. This painting is titled “Trista in Motion” by Christin Olyano, who graduated from Liberty in 2005.

“The image of her watching something the viewer can’t see reminds me of days I used to sit and soak in all of the professional dancers I used to aspire to be. Watching a ‘Trista in Motion’ and wanting to be that ‘Trista in Motion,’” Olyano said, who attended Cornish College of the Arts to study dance.

This painting was the first to be put up, through an art club run by previous art teacher Shannon Brannon.

 

The students and staff vote for one piece to go up in the school forever,” Cooper said. “Once the art piece has been chosen, it is framed and put on the walls the following year.”

After 2019, however, COVID took away opportunities for art to be celebrated on the walls. The competition was no longer an option due to a lack of in-person school.

Fear not, if Liberty artists want to add their mark on the school and hang their art on the wall, Cooper wants to continue this tradition. Hopefully, the competition will be starting up again soon either this year or the next.

Whether our student’s art is hung on the walls in Liberty, the Lourve, or their living room, Olyano says to never give up and to continue art throughout life.

“Most companies need a design, graphics, or visual elements of some kind: art is essential. Not only is art essential in a practical sense, but it’s been around since mankind could first paint on walls,” Canaga said. “We’ve always wanted to draw, doodle, paint, and sculpt the world around us. It’s a necessity, it’s human, and there’s a lot of opportunities out there for you and always will be.”