Meet the Apprentices Part 1

Each week, we will interview members of The Art School Without Walls, Vol. 6 to learn more about the apprentices, their journey as artists and their aspirations

COURTESY CRYSTAL GONZALEZ

Moise Joseph.

Photo: Crystal Gonzalez

Name: Moise Joseph

Age: 22

Joined Cre8tive YouTH*ink: 2010

Moise Joseph joined Cre8tiveYouTH*ink during his junior year at Brooklyn High School of the Arts and has participated in every Art School Without Walls project to date. A long-time illustrator, Joseph first learned about different painting techniques by participating in the program and now considers “blending” to be one of his technical strengths. He is currently creating his own comic books and funds his efforts by working retail at Uniqlo.

What do you think about the Martha Cooper photo that has been chosen for this project?

The photo seems very nostalgic but nostalgia is usually associated with happiness for me.

Did you know about Martha Cooper’s “Street Play” project?

I wasn’t aware of Martha Cooper’s work before Jerry showed us the image but I was very happy with it. Then Chris Stain explained how the boy in the photo would salvage bike parts to make something his own and this is exactly what we do as artists.

What artists inspire you the most right now?

Hajime Sorayama and Hayao Miyazaki. They also inspire through nostalgia. Their work is magic and always catches me by surprise.

Why do you think art is important?

Art is important because it allows everyone to express themselves. It can be extremely simple or complex but it’s never the same.

What advice would you give to other young artists?

As long as you really look, you’ll see something new, something no one else sees.

Virginia Lee Sanchez Photo: Robin Cembalest

Virginia Lee Sanchez

Photo: Robin Cembalest

Name: Virginia Lee Sanchez

Age: 15

Joined Cre8tive YouTH*ink: 2012

Virginia Lee Sanchez is the youngest member of Cre8tive YouTH*ink. She joined the crew as a 13-year-old freshman at the High School of Communication in Long Island City after attending a meeting at the Bronx Museum. Sanchez had no prior art background but was eager to work with the group who she now considers to be family. Though she plans to study Marine Biology, Sanchez is a committed member of the Art School Without Walls team.

What was you biggest challenge when working on the murals?

One of the most challenging things was myself because I’m really insecure about everything. I was surrounded by all older kids and I was afraid they’d think I didn’t know what I was doing, but they were all very supportive. I now feel like they’re all my big sisters and brothers. Even though I say I don’t like being the youngest, I really do!

What is your favorite part of working on the projects?

Handling paint. It’s fun and it’s not something I get to do in school. I spray painted for the first time two weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

What do you think of the Martha Cooper Photo?

I had never seen it before but the whole idea of the kid in the neighborhood resonates with all of us.

Who are your favorite graffiti artists?

Muffin Man is very cool and so is Klops. I feel sad for the artist when a work gets buffed so I always stop and take pictures.

What advice would you give to other young artists?

I feel in general people shouldn’t be afraid of making art. I’m always terrified when starting a new project but it’s really important to make things.

COURTESY CRYSTAL GONZALEZ

Alicia Elena Prieto

Photo: Crystal Gonzalez

Name: Alicia Elena Prieto

Age: 20

Joined Cre8tive YouTH*ink: 2010

Alicia Elena Prieto joined Cre8tive YouTH*ink when she was a sophomore at Brooklyn Technical High School after her father introduced her to Robin Cembalest who runs The Gallery Club for the group. Prieto has been involved with art for much of her life, taking classes both in and out of school. She is currently considering a career in advertising as a way to use her interests in comics and graphic art.

What have you learned since joining Cre8tive YouTH*ink?

Mural projects were very new for me. I had no experience working outdoors or with a group or on someone else’s vision. It was a very good learning experience to take instruction but also because it wasn’t so rigid. It was very nice. This will be my first time spray painting so that’s also an entirely new experience. I feel like this current project really gives me a good idea of where art can take you.

What do you think of the Martha Cooper photo chosen for this project?

The subject is perfect for us since we are all reaching toward our own ambitions as young people.

What inspires you as an artist?

I have always been into comics. I read Hergé throughout my childhood. I am also into feminist art. Frida Kahlo is a favorite of mine because I see her as someone doing what she wants to do in the world despite the odds and it is very inspiring.

Why do you think art projects like this are important for young artists?

I think projects like this are important for the purpose of letting people know that art is open to everyone. It’s important to open people up to the idea that they’re free to make art and express themselves. It has definitely opened my eyes and helped me visualize my own future.

Cre8tiveYouTH*ink Members during breaktime.  COURTESY CRYSTAL GONZALEZ.

Cre8tiveYouTH*ink Members during breaktime.

Photo: Crystal Gonzalez

–Nicole Casamento

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