Visual Arts Portfolio Project

For the winter term, teacher Keith Gruber gave his Visual Arts Portfolio students the following assignment as their culminating project:

Each student will select one BIPOC artist whose work they find especially inspiring and generate their own artwork in response as well as a short, informative presentation. This should not be a copy, but should instead be an artwork that shares similar ideas and or attributes, but is every bit as personal and unique. 

Mr. Gruber’s hope was that students could explore the work and lives of BIPOC artists, and they were free to choose a currently working artist or one from the past. They researched and presented about their chosen artist and then were challenged to create their own artwork in response to and paying homage to their chosen artist.

drawing of anc lion logo with athletes

Having spent time researching the the illustrations of Shanee Benjamin, Angeliese was inspired by her ability to take big ideas and make them easier to grasp. Angeliese was impressed by Benjamin's use of simple shapes and bold colors to powerfully convey her ideas. In her own digital artwork, Angeliese hopes to inspire people to try a sport and get out there without worrying about how others may see you.

portrait drawing

Having spent time researching the work of Afro-Surrealist artist Chelle Barbour, Chyler was inspired the most by her use of surrealism and abstract objects to represent deeper ideas about race, culture and identity. Chyler liked how Chelle Barbour's artwork makes you think about the meaning behind the work and can be analyzed on a deeper level than realistic portraits or landscapes. In her own surrealist portrait, Chyler wanted to create something more meaningful for both herself and for viewers.





figures sitting at a table

Having spent time researching the work of photographer Carrie Mae Weems, Deidré found herself moved by the way Weems's photographs expresses ideas of femininity, race, class, family relationships, and more. In her own drawing, Deidré wanted to make an artwork that serves as an extension of Weems' “Kitchen Table Series”, which portrays the many roles women take on.




three flowers

Having spent time researching the work of printmaker Chloe Alexander. Serena was most inspired by her use of color and the way Chloe Alexander was able to express ideas and objects through multiple renditions of a single print. For this artwork Serena wanted to use a similar process to create several editions of one artwork.

collage artwork of people

Having spent time researching the quilts of artist Bisa Butler, Hira was very inspired by Butler’s compositions of colors and her use of layering to create life-like portraits in fabric. In her own artwork, Hira digitally stitched together figures from Bisa Butler's quilts into a new composition to show that there are countless mediums to create art and how it is vital to think outside the box.

abstract art with words

Having spent time researching the expressive paintings and collages of artist Mark Bradford, Makenna was most impressed by the use of mixed media and color in his artwork. In her own artwork she used a collage of words under colorful paint to display a message that can be interpreted in many different ways.



person wearing a mask and looking distressed about pollution

Having spent time researching the paintings of Native American artist Bunky Echo-Hawk, Miah was inspired by the vivid colors and hidden meanings within his artworks. In her own pastel artwork, Miah tried to use similar values and colors to grab the the attention of viewers and raise awareness of pollution.








collage of a statue, butterfly, measuring tape, flower

Having spent time researching the expressive paintings and graffiti of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dylan was most inspired by how his artwork managed to be both incredibly complex in idea, yet child-like in style. In her own digital artwork, Dylan hoped to mimic Basquiat's suggestive dichotomies while developing an artwork to express her own ideas of feminism.