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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY ALIAN COLLAZO, Dixie Hollins High
The challenge: Make art for the purpose of bringing awareness about the issues faced by teenagers. Big issues. Tough issues. That’s the charge art teacher Brad Rose gave to his students at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, and they met it head on. Art depicting the struggles with body image. Sexual orientation. Dangers of the Internet. Suicide rates among LGBT teens. At a public exhibit at the Naval honors boarding school recently, tb-two* visited with the student artists to talk about their work.
Brandon Smith, senior, St. Petersburg
“I was inspired to create such a work of art because of the magnitude of suicides among LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) teens, compared to their peers,” Smith says. He thought “putting the issue into an artistic perspective would get people’s attention.” Smith believes the most important part of his art is “the eye balls, because they don’t give a good feeling,” and make people stop to look further. “I have never done anything like it before, but was amazed at what it turned out to be.”
Zoey He, senior, Shen Zhen, China
“I wanted to spotlight an issue that is occurring more and more often to teenagers:” Strangers getting a hold of personal information distributed on the Internet. “My own friends (have) made the mistake.”
She says she decided to create an eerie feel to the work, “to make it look creepy, and intimidate teenagers not to make such a mistake.”
Hans Hart, senior, Broken Arrow, Okla.
“I know people (who have gone) through the struggle of being gay,” Hart says.
Through his art he wants to send an important message: “Those who are in the LGBT community are normal people, that we are in the 21st century, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Jay Kim, junior, Ilsan, South Korea
Kim’s main point with his piece was to “put focus on young people wanting to be skinny a such a young age.” He chose the dark blue color on purpose, “to convey the depressive state that young people go through due to their weight.” The statistic depicted about elementary school children is shocking. He urges people seeing his work to “look closely (at the detail), and not miss the message it carries.”