AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Cameren Sitney

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features an illustration made by Cameren Sitney from Suitland High School in Forestville, Maryland.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature an illustration made by Cameren Sitney from Suitland High School in Forestville, Maryland.

Illustration of a young black woman's face being manipulated by a hand holding her head and a makeup brush on her cheek

Here’s Cameren’s statement on the work:

“When it comes to women of color, there are several different stigmas that revolve around our culture and our image. They include body image, stereotypical attitude issues, and especially colorism in the media, which is something I thought should be discussed. These borderline insulting stigmas, as well as everything society expects of us women, are what inspire me to spark those more meaningful discussions with the detail I put into my pieces. For my AP portfolio, I dedicated my time and energy in creating pieces that express some slightly exaggerated versions of some of the pressure that women and women of color are faced with in today’s society. Some spoke to the issues of being ‘overweight’ or any size besides extra small. Others spoke to the treatment women face within the work world. But this piece deals with colorism and the idea that certain shades of skin tone are more glorified in today’s day and age.

“I wanted this piece, ‘You Should Wear Makeup,’ to make the portrait come across as uncomfortable. With the makeup brush being rammed into the side of their face not only paints on the entirely wrong shade of foundation, it shows a hand using force to keep the face in place as a way of saying, ‘There’s nothing that you can do about this.’ Many people have succumbed to the fact that there are few makeup brands that create a wide variety of shade of foundation for people of color, which is somewhat of a standard throughout the makeup community. Brands that have been around for decades haven’t even made an effort to widen their varieties on the darker end of their foundation spectrum, while newer brands such as Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty had foundations, concealers, and bronzers for the dark skin girls since the jump. Either way, I wanted this piece to make people stop, share their opinions, and ask the tough questions: Should we be conforming to what has become the standard? Should the people working in these industries be doing more to accommodate everyone? And most importantly, what is everyone’s opinion on the matter? Because at the end of the day, we all deserve to feel beautiful in our own skin.”

And here are a few other works from Cameren’s portfolio:

Illustration of a young black woman reaching out as she tries squeezing between two objects

Experimenting with extreme perspective.

Illustration of a young black woman scrunching up her face as she takes a test at a desk

Illustration of a face being manipulated into a smile by two hands

Illustration of a young black woman with a measuring tape wrapped tight around her waist

Illustration of a young black man stuck in a box

Illustration of a young black girl sitting at a desk in her bedroom, head down, with the words I Hate Online School So Much at the bottom

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.