Art.Write.Now, an exhibition of student art from around the country and featuring winners of this year’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, opened recently in Pasadena, and one of the exhibited winners is a local student, 17-year-old Lachlan Turczan. Presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, this competition has been going on since 1923 and since then, over 13 million of America’s most talented young artists have participated. (Winners from years past have included Robert Redford, Andy Warhol and Sylvia Plath.) This year, out of 185,000 entries in 29 categories, four L.A-area teens joined the 100 finalists in having their pieces in the national tour. I was lucky enough to talk to Monrovia resident, LACHSA student and finalist Lachlan about his art and his award-winning painting.
Congratulations on your accomplishment! How does it feel to be an award winner in a competition with such an impressive historic roster of artists, actors and writers?
It feels great! I’m honored that my art has received this recognition. I feel a duty to keep creating work of the caliber that the Scholastic Art Awards honors.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Since I was 11 years old. I was inspired to begin drawing after I started getting into comic books. From there, my parents enrolled me in art classes, and that was it.
Does comic book art still show up in your work today?
Originally my drawings were strongly influenced by graphic novels, but as I began taking more fine art classes my interests shifted from depicting general caricatures to honing my skills at more realistic drawing. These days I try to incorporate the cartoon-y colors of comic book art with technical skills I’ve learned from studying the works of older artists like Botticelli, Bouguereau, Joseph Wright of Derby and Vuillard.
Where do you go to look for inspiration?
I go to museums and libraries and look through the work of other artists. Recently I discovered Richard Diebenkorn, a painter whose observational work has inspired me to experiment with brighter, more expressive colors in my paintings of scenes around my neighborhood.
Can you describe the meaning behind your award-winning piece, Angry?
Angry started off as a straightforward, black-and-white drawing of a young boy. However, as I began adding more colors, he seemed to become more and more angry. This intrigued me, because it’s hard to imagine anyone being mad when surrounded by so many bright, happy colors. So I played with his anger and tried to accentuate it by mixing colors that don’t normally go together, along with adding darker shadows to make his stare more commanding.
What’s the medium used in this piece? Do you work with other media as well?
Angry was made using watercolor and colored pencils, because I work mostly with watercolor and pencils in my sketchbooks, since they’re portable and easy to clean up. However, my favorite medium to use is oil paint, because I can get much more detailed.
Finally, what’s your idea of the perfect day around your town?
A perfect Monrovia day consists of waking up early, going on a hike in the Monrovia Canyon Park to the waterfall, and finishing a painting.
Exhibit on display until June 4
89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Old Pasadena
For hours call 626.8447008