Photo by Leila Olukoga
Recess. A time for elementary school kids to spend time with another, swing on the monkey bars or draw with chalk on the pavement. All 640 students head outside for the best part of the day, however, one student in particular was different from the rest. Instead of finding her enjoyment on the playground, she found it in an empty classroom with her sketchbook.
Junior Claire Song’s pursuit of art as an elementary schooler paid off. Song has won the gold seal at the Visual Arts Scholastic Events, VASE, two years in a row and is currently working on her AP Art Portfolio which is focused on social issues.
“In terms of art as a whole, I’ve always loved it since I was little,” Song said. “Even in elementary school, I preferred to spend my time in the art room instead of outside during recess. I’d spend most of my time every day drawing or crafting.”
Junior Raegan Morales has known Song since childhood and said she has always been talented in the arts.
“Back in elementary school, her work was already amazing, but now in high school, her work is so detailed and more realistic,” Morales said. “She worked on this painting with some football players last year and it [looked] so realistic, I thought it was the picture.’
Though Song is very fond of drawing and crafting, she recently found her love for photography at the beginning of high school.
“I really just started fiddling around with a camera my sister bought to take pictures of her art portfolio,” Song said. “After she submitted her portfolio, she didn’t need the camera anymore, so I started fooling around with it and realized I loved taking pictures. All of my experiences in falling in love with different art forms were really just serendipitous, and I wouldn’t exchange those experiences for anything else.”
Song practices photography in both a commercial and creative sense. She takes photos of people who want portraits for fun or for a special occasion like prom, homecoming or senior portraits. For creative photography, Song loves trying different techniques with different props.
“I really just love messing around and trying different techniques with different props,” Song said. “I usually contact some friends who are down to be photographed and we have fun with it. For both types of photography though, the end results always make me happy. I love seeing people’s reactions to the pictures I take of them and the joy it brings them.”
Song’s mother, Helena Song, said Song has grown a lot since elementary school .
“I remember her always being recognized for having kind heart in elementary and even receiving small awards for picking up trash during recess and lunch, or reporting small stray animals on the streets that she thought were in need of help,” Helena said. “But as time went on and she moved schools and grew older, that kindness started spreading from such a small group, to everyone she met.”
Song is currently working on her AP Art Portfolio, a set of cohesive pieces students work on throughout the year, but because of the amount of AP classes she is taking, will be due next school year.
“My AP art portfolio is all about social standards and acceptance,” Song said. “I guess moving schools, I noticed [the] commonalities between both schools were the crazy social standards set for everyone. I’m working with concepts like stereotypes, gender/sexuality acceptance, body positivity, and racial acceptance to spread the word of how things are in society and how they’re wrong [or] should be changed.”
Balancing her AP classes, clubs and photography, Song said that knowing your limit and scheduling everything correctly leads to efficient time management.
“I’m in a lot of clubs like NHS, NAHS, SNHS, Operation Hebron and French club,” Song said. “I also started photography club at Hebron last year, so I do have to set aside a lot of time to prepare lessons for the club and organize club events. I’ve been in art at Hebron since freshman year, and it’s really time and work intensive but I love it a lot.”