Students create Magical Realism, Ofrendas pieces


Jude Smith

Senior Jude Smith’s photo captures senior Dylan Alvord floating in English teacher Kimberley Harris’s classroom.

The FUHS Art Department classes of Maggie Crail, Gabby Kudron, Jason Hess and Scott Hudson displayed art from their classes’ Magical Realism and Ofrendas assignments in the campus gallery, Room 201, on Nov. 3. Work from about 200 artists were represented at the event.

For the surrealism assignment, students were to capture images that they felt fit the theme and encouraged to experiment with techniques such as multiple exposures. For the Ofrendas assignment, students were instructed to use mixed media to create pieces of art that paid homage to Hispanic culture. The Tribe Tribune staff interviewed some students about their work. Following is just a sampling of student work.

Student–Art Focus: Elenora Waisanen’s Butterfly

Sophomore Elenora Waisanen was originally ambivalent about the Advanced Photography magical realism assignment. She started with a photograph of her classmate Emily Borges that she’d taken earlier this school year.

Above is Waisanen’s original photo of classmate Emily Borges for her project. (Elenora Waisanen)

“I shot with studio lights in the classroom,” Waisanen said. “[Inside the classroom] there is a set up with a backdrop where you can use different pieces of fabric. I used this dark blue, almost velvety fabric.” Still, Waisanen and Borges were unimpressed with the photos. 

“We wanted to reshoot the piece,” said Waisanen, “because her original expression had been a bit empty and awkward. We shot in a public environment, it [i.e. getting the expression right] was both new to us.”

However, Waisanen eventually decided to let Borges’s intense expression guide the mood of the photo. It took her literally to her own backyard. 

“Last year in my backyard I found this little butterfly,” Waisanen said. “I got it out of the spider web it was stuck in, and, after I did, it sat in my hand and wouldn’t fly away. I thought I might as well photograph it.” Those photos went up in last year’s gallery.

For her revised piece, Waisanen added more butterflies and tweaked the color of Borges’s eyes. (Elenora Waisanen)

“I reused those pieces because I thought it would be cool to take something that had been injured and incorporate it into another piece to sort of give it a new life,” Waisanen said. 

Though her liberated butterfly was a monarch, Waisanen added blue butterflies to the Borges portrait “to reincorporate the theme of orange and blue” which are complementary colors, but not typically in portraits—unless they’re surreal portraits.

Wainsanen spent about seven hours on her piece, developing a dozen different versions. “I think my goal was to create a piece that sort of contrasted something that’s very sensitive and kind of fragile, along with a portrait that felt more intense,” Waisanen said. “I am a sensitive person and though it has challenges, it is something that allows you to be more empathetic, intuitive and creative. I just kind of wanted to explore that part of myself and accept it.”

Magical Realism projects

Senior Adam Nguyen’s “Soul Meets Body” shows worlds colliding with an image of a hand reaching into a mirror. Class of ’22’s Ophelia Domenici’s hand twice dominates the FUHS campus’s utility field. Shooting from atop the Fullerton College parking structure, Nguyen originally intended to emphasize the sunset but said Nguyen, “Things didn’t go according to plan. Instead, I had my model hold the mirror in one hand while I poured water on it, and she placed her other hand over the mirror just as the sun set.” The mirror was then edited to appear wider.
(Adam Nguyen )
Sophomore Gavin Bishoff’s Untitled shows him falling from the sky. “I used a stool that spun, and that’s really me almost falling off of it,” said Bishoff. Bishoff joined two images using editing software then cropped the stool from the image, a skill he learned from last year’s Foundations of Photography class. “For that class there was a similar assignment involving overlaying and editing like this, and I did horribly on it,” but, this year, with help from Mrs. Crail, he got it right. Motion blur was added to create the illusion of falling.
(Gavin Bishoff)
Junior Samantha Neal’s Untitled depicts a phantom face (actually that of her sister Senior Angelina Neal) framed in black and white. “My idea was to create a surreal face withering away into nothingness,” says the photograph’s display card. “The expression… accentuates desperation and pain…, the person’s face fading away….” Neal took the original, unedited photograph in a dimly lit room at her home with her iPhone, using a flashlight to add more shadow. (Samantha Neal )
Sophomore Zach Sharp’s “Fractured” should illustrate even more deceit, but Sharp ran out of time due to a cross country meet. “I wanted to add more cracks [to the mask] to show the two sides,” Sharp said. “I used a photograph to try and tell a story, even though usually want the viewer to come up with their own meaning.” (Zach Sharp )
Senior Troy Fernandez’s “Aki Ale” manga tribute of junior Alejandro Hernandez is actually of three separate images fused. “There’s the book, the speech bubble, and Alejandro, and for all three subjects I tried to achieve equal lighting,” Fernandez said. “You can tell around the edges of his head and his ear that I had to make rough cuts.” (In Japanese kon kon is the noise foxes make.) (Troy Fernandez)

Ofrendas projects from AP Studio Art Class

Senior Elizabeth Rivas’s “Beauty in Death” incorporates the “Arbol de vida” (Tree of Life) from art originating in Pueblas, Mexico. “I wanted the portrait to reflect the beauty that parallels and connects life and death,” Rivas said. “Death” is a mixed media work. (Elizabeth Rivas)
Junior Larissa Bromley’s “The Path Back Home” is dedicated to her bird Kona that died. “I wanted to show him coming back for a visit,” Bromley said. “I wanted to use the candles not only to guide but also to shine a light on the more beautiful side of death: having a spirit without pain and suffering.” “Home” is in acrylics. (Larissa Bromley)
Junior Kit Kelekoma’s “Until We Meet Again” celebrates her deceased aunt. “Until” is in watercolors. (Kit Kelekoma)
Junior Emily Kugelmann’s “I Love You to the Moon and Back” honors her aunt who died of cancer. The piece shows things her aunt loved during her life. “I Love You” is in colored pencil and India inks. (Emily Kugelmann)
Senior Jiyoung Lee’s “Mictecacihuatl” is named for the Aztec god of the dead. “I think remembering and honoring their loved ones is the most important part of this holy day,” Lee said. “Mictecacihuatl” is in colored pencil and watercolors. (Jiyoung Lee)
Senior Isabelle Miller’s “Life and Death” honors her grandmother. “My grandma was very intelligent and an extremely avid reader,” Miller said. “I really wanted to show how her intelligence and love of reading in life continues into the afterlife.” “Life” is in acrylics and oils. (Isabelle Miller)
Junior Mariah Chino’s “Dear Momma” was inspired by traditional ofrenda layouts. “Dear” is from an EOS Rebel T7 camera. (Mariah Chino)

Reporters Kylee Van Es, Teagan Lunsford, Nana Madokoro and Lillian Pope contributed to this report.