21 Most Promising Wyoming High School Fine Arts Students - Wyoming Magazine


21 Most Promising Wyoming High School Fine Arts Students


21 Most Promising Wyoming High School Fine Arts Students

For almost 50 years, high school students from across Wyoming have sent their brightest fine artists to showcase work in the Wyoming High School Art Symposium. The event held in Casper, Wyoming spotlights more than 5,000 works by high school students. This tradition has given some students the confidence to pursue long careers in art. As they win ribbons and prizes for their work, they take center stage as the best and the brightest the state has to offer the art world.

Why It is Important to Watch These Students

The students who show the most promise are those who have created striking work by exploring new approaches to art. Some have used conventional approaches and mastered the techniques so well that the clarity of their work stands out. Even if their pursuit of art is short-lived, they have already made a mark on Wyoming history by winning a prize in the annual Art Symposium. Here are 20 young artists who have or have had connection to a Wyoming high school and used that connection to make memorable art.

Hannah Mooney

Hannah Mooney from Gillette, Wyoming will be one of the art students to see at the Wyoming State Art Symposium. Hannah won five first place ribbons at the 2016 Symposium as a junior. She also had one of her watercolor paintings chosen as a First Lady Award. That painting will be hanging in the Governors Mansion for the next year. Hannah has shown amazing versatility in her art. She is creative and proficient with several different mediums including watercolor, acrylic, oil and digital. Hannah will be a senior this fall and she is ready to compete.


Alayna Whipple

The charcoal portrait that Alayna Whipple entered into the Wyoming High School Art Symposium in 2015 earned the Artistic Discovery Congressional Art Award. The Jackson High School student’s drawing was chosen to hang in the US Capitol for a whole year to represent the state of Wyoming. The Capitol building receives nearly 3 million visitors annually.

Avery Hanks

Her ability to use a pencil drawing to convey the ethereal and graceful landing of a dragonfly on a leaf earned Avery Hanks a blue 1st place ribbon at the 2016 Wyoming High School Art Symposium. The fine detail in the tail and thorax make the dragonfly seem life-like. The Platte County student won a second blue ribbon in this show for a pair of turquoise tennis shoes she designed. The shoes have a treble clef on a staff on the upper sole near the toe and piano keys on the upper vamp and upper quarter. Her third ribbon came from a pencil rendering of a woman with high-top sneakers sitting in the grass. She has already received offers from interested buyers.

Fermin Valles

Platte County student Fermin Valles could make it very easy to student parts of flowers and plants, if her drawings were standard illustrations in biology class. Her pen and ink drawing of a daisy, which won a blue ribbon at the 2016 Wyoming High School Art Symposium, offers a top view of the flower. Other images show side and top views of the flower stigma and petals. Although much of the drawing is rendered in black ink against a white canvas, Valles strategically places random drips of yellow in the background and a striking yellow stigma in the center of the central flower.

Veronica Jenkins

Although there are countless representations of flowers on one-dimensional canvases. Veronica Jenkins chooses to approach the flower in 3D format. She uses small sticks and vibrant blue and green fabric to build a tabletop bloom. The structure is entirely made of diamonds, and she is able to create an immense illusion of depth because the form lends itself to the principles of geometry. Until you touch the leaves on the bottom of this piece, for example, it is not clear if they are bending up, down or out to the side. The illusory quality almost invites viewers to interact with the art.

Mickenzi Loyd

It is sometimes challenging to imagine the artistic possibilities of cardboard, but Mickenzi Loyd has managed to push boundaries by creating an oversized women’s high heel pump. The upper scale of the shoe is made of chips of paper sack material that look very much like fish or snakeskin scales. On this scale, the shoe makes many see how complex it could be to construct a high heel pump. It must be appealing enough to capture attention and solid enough to withstand hours of spotlight time. Anyone who sees Loyd’s 3D rendering will have to rethink the role of this kind of shoe.

Jenni Stoll

It is not the piercing eyes or tiger stripes that make Jenni Stoll’s blue ribbon drawing so captivating. It is the detail of the tiger itself, every hair strand and whisker, that makes it difficult to turn away. The tiger dominates the entire frame of the drawing and even takes over the background. In fact, the details of the background are not clear. They seem as if they are trapped in a wave of heat that begins to mirror the tiger’s stripes. Stoll makes it hard to determine where the intensity of the tiger ends and the viewers fear begins.

Kaelah Doporto

The artist who has an eye for the abstract can see things in ways that the rest of the world cannot. Kaelah Doporto paints things as simple as a fish and recasts them in colors so vivid they become otherworldly. The colors in her trout painting take on a life of their own. The blending of bright jewel tones along with the odd placement of the fish’s eyes and body are reminiscent of cubism. Like most cubist paintings, its sharp lines and colors give a 3D effect, and it is never clear if the image is flat on the canvas or raised from the surface. The rich blue colors and bubbles on one side of the painting suggest that the fish may not be fully out of water. It is a piece that keeps viewers guessing.

Sean Anderson

Superheroes, villains, and ordinary citizens all have prominent roles in Sean Anderson’s art. His tumbler account if full of vividly colored, sword wielding figures climbing buildings, falling from the sky and fighting to protect the world from harm. Although many of his pieces resemble graphic art, there are some that have light and shadows that make his work look very animated, as if the paintings will come to life at any time. It is notable that Anderson takes great strides to portray the women in his works as strongly as he does his male subjects. They are front and center and never settle for the background.

Hayley Patton

Rock Springs native Hayley Patton has been known to collaborate with other artists and to tackle abstract subjects. In a composite image created by Patton, Mei Shinohara of Tokyo, Japan and Paulina Grant, also of Rock Springs, Patton uses light and shadows to highlight the lightweight quality of paper. The darker hues in this painting suggest a structure much more complex than paper bags are known to be. The patterns and curves hint at being in a maze.

Stormy Cox

Using scratch art, a technique that looks like etching, Stormy Cox created an intense close-up of an owl in her piece titled “Grandma’s Owl.” Knowing the title of this piece almost makes it haunting. The fine detail she gives of the owl’s crest and facial hairs are quite realistic. The all-consuming gaze of the owl feels as if it could be the gaze of the “Grandma” Cox named in the piece’s title. Cox also scores high marks for her “Zen-tentical” piece made with ink, acrylic and coffee. The deep contrast of motifs on different parts of the squid subject suggests endless textures. Both of Cox’s pieces won blue ribbons.

Domanic Jensen

Perhaps, if Domanic Jensen of Hot Springs County High School has no desire to be a full-time artist, he will have a flourishing career as an illustrator or designer for a car company. He scored a blue ribbon for his charcoal drawing “Tommy,” which details a classic mustang. Even in its rear view, with the title name on the license plate, this car looks sleek and timeless.

Jared Little

There seems to be very little Jared Little cannot do with a pencil. The judges at the 2016 Art Symposium agree, as they awarded him four blue ribbons. In “The Eyes of the Storyteller,” he captures the stoic wisdom in the face of a Native American. Little seems to have a keen understanding of how a twist of the lips, squinting of the eyes and unflinching chin call work together to dispatch emotion. He is equally accurate in his drawings of a deer, buffalo and lion.

Konstanz C.L. Potts

Konstanz Potts made her indelible mark when she won the Overall Grand Champion Pottery award in the Sweetwater County Fair art show. This gave her a broader audience than the spectators at the Art Symposium. Potts is one of few artists who seems to be able to make multiple entries in an art show and walk away with multiple prizes.

Megan Velez

Many artists can identify with making art for the sake of beauty. Some artists, however, use their art to give a cause a voice. For the 2015 Wyoming Meth Project, Megan Valez created a piece titled “In Memory of a Meth Addict,” which shows a crying child standing off from a grave stone. In the foreground grass in vibrant blue ink, Velez poses the question, “Are you leaving me behind?” This emotional question reframes the fight against meth addiction.

Jonah Scott

The photography of Jonah Scott is dramatic and arresting. His image of a white rose with a stem tied in a black gauze ribbon has a formality, though it is not easy to tell if it is intended for a sad or happy occasion. The rose is resting on a silver palette, and three silver droplets to the left of the rose make it seem liquid. The sterile white background adds to the formality. His other images include a tornado funnel and mystical lighting behind two hands extending toward one another.

Tina Miller

Tina Miller’s majestic painting of a warrior in armor and with a hatchet. With a gloomy ship and a burning city in the dull background, the detail of the warrior dominates the canvas. Miller has even captured the small details of the fur on the warrior’s shoulders.

Kaylee Bloom

When Kaylee Bloom created an image of a woman with painted nails on manicured hands and a feminine dress and an up-do, she also created a playground of juxtapositions. In this very formal setting, a woman is holding up a mask that obscures her face. The mask does not have distinct features. Its hard chiseled lines appear to be made in stone. Bloom succeeds in provoking a range of mixed emotions.

Danielle Britz

It seems unlikely that a handheld egg beater with a crank could be an attention grabber. Danielle Britz has made it so with her pencil drawing of an egg beater, which takes the foreground. In the background, she draws hands in a muted pewter color working a mass of material that looks like dough. No matter how advanced the world’s technology becomes, some basic mechanical tools will never go out of style.

Victoria Verosky

When the first lady of the state removes the art in the governor’s mansion to make room for yours, you may feel as if you have arrived. Victoria Verosky felt this when her fused glass rendering of the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet, made its way
to the mansion halls. She chose the bluebonnet because Texas is her mother’s native state.

Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald’s ¬†careful attention to the details of nature have helped her garner both a First Lady’s Award and another place ribbon. She has shown she can unveil the sharp colors of autumn trees in ways that make them difficult to forget. Her “Bursting Beauty” painting is an explosion of vigorous red leaves on a tree, and “Reflection in the River” achieves the same effect with vivid yellows and greens. Her stark white trunks on trees focus all the attention on the color details of the trees.

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