Name – Meiya Berkey
Year Graduated from DHS-2014
College -University of Massachusetts Amherst
Major- Mathematics, minor;Studio Art, Chinese
Tell us a little bit about yourself: What got you interested in art? What are you doing now? What are you hoping to do in the future? My mother has always been involved in the arts and she is currently a Fiber artist. She has always encouraged my sisters and I to pursue our creative side. When you receive praise for your work it gives you a drive to continue. Because of her and a handful of other people in my life, art has become an essential part of who I am.
Currently, I am a rising sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a mathematics major and a double minor in studio art and Chinese. I always wanted to include art in my life and I figured minoring in studio art would allow me to explore a wide variety of mediums without the pressure of depending on it for a career. So far I have taken a basics drawing course taught by the magnificent Benjamin Blatt and a woodcut printmaking course taught by the amazing Lauren Bennett. The basics drawing course was not new to me at all, yet I still learned various techniques that took my realistic drawing skills to a whole new level. As for the printmaking course, it was a medium I had never explored before and was a lot of trial and error. I’m glad I took the course since it was such a learning experience even though I was completely out of my element. Next semester, I have enrolled in a ceramics course, which I am very excited about since I enjoyed my ceramics class in high school so much.
In the future I don’t have any definite plans except to continue to try all different kinds of mediums and continue to learn about art. So far, the mediums I have touched upon: drawing, painting, photography, mixed media, ceramics, glassblowing, jewelry making, printmaking, and a little sculpture work. One medium I especially have my eye on would be stone carving. But for now I hope to continue practicing my drawing skills and take advantage of any opportunities to expand my artistic abilities.
What is your preferred medium and why?
As of now my preferred medium is drawing with charcoal. Out of all the mediums I have worked with, I have been drawing for the longest and have the most experience with it. Therefore, I have had the most time to improve my drawings and understand how to approach a certain aspect of the drawing to make it appear more realistic. My goal and my current work usually deals with hyper realistic portraits.
Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, what draws you to that person’s work?
One of my favorite artists is an Italian contemporary artist named Agnes Cecile. I discovered her on YouTube one day and instantly fell in love with her work. She mainly uses watercolor, but has also done acrylic and ink pieces. I find her so amazing because she has an intense understanding of her medium; a medium that I classify as one of the most difficult to master. Her videos make watercolor painting look completely effortless. I admire her so much because of the fact that she can create hyper realistic portraits that verge on the line of abstract, through her composition and uncommon color schemes.
Any advice for DHS students in regards to art or college
I don’t have any major advice except a view of what I think an art student in college should expect. I’m not an art major, yet I dedicated a huge chunk of my time to my art courses. At my school, the art courses usually last three hours. Then depending on the assignment I would spend another 15-30 hours on it outside of class. There is a little pressure when you begin taking art courses in college rather than high school because the people are truly dedicated to their craft. Students who take art courses in college are there because they want to be and have worked hard on perfecting their artistic skills. Also the professors are very serious and push their students out of their comfort zones. It is their job to prepare us for life in the real world, or more specifically the harsh world of art. Then again, art in college is not a scary experience. I believe you just need to be dedicated and open to exploring beyond your comfort zone. Otherwise, you’ll never reach that next level and cannot become the best artist you are capable of being.