Spotlight on Artist Emily Guardado
The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a digital illustration made by Emily Guardado Reyes from Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Illinois.
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 concentrations—AP 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 a digital illustration made by Emily Guardado Reyes from Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Illinois.
Here’s Emily’s statement on the work:
“Coming up with original ideas for my sustained investigation was hard. My art teacher advised me that I should follow a prompt I’m familiar and comfortable with, which is how I came up with the idea to make it about my Mexican culture, though what worried me was the possible countless other students doing the same thing as me. I overcame those worries and decided I couldn’t go wrong with my own culture as my topic. But what I came to realize was how differently America perceived Mexico and it’s culture, as if it was embarrassing or shameful.
“My work 'Las Mujeres de la Mañana' is a piece of art that puts the perception of Mexico and its people through a new lens. I will not leave the American media in charge of how they are going to represent me. I focused on referencing everyday people and their routines in Mexico, it was crucial to accurately convert what I was seeing with my eyes onto a digital tablet and program. At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off: Will I be able to express the same emotions a traditional artist can when connecting their brush onto real canvas? Digital art already has a weird stigma about not being real art, but the same brush techniques, the same lighting techniques, and the same anatomy techniques still apply in digital. The computer did not generate the form and emotions, I did.
“I wanted to emphasize texture in my piece. I used brushes that had bumps and ridges and that were not consistent. The texture made the piece feel alive instead of smooth and clean; it made the women exist in their own space. The light shining down guides the eye towards these women and follows them to a new day of work. This is the beauty of hardworking women taking care of the household and caring for the family, it is the passion that we carry in our blood. There is no embarrassment, only proudness and joy for my culture. This is the feeling I carried with me through my portfolio.”
And here are a few other works from Emily’s portfolio:
Started with a sketch, cleaned up sketch to use as line art, added base colors, then shaded.
Misogyny is still strong in Mexico, however, Escaramuzas demonstrate their fi erce grace against it. Started with a sketch, cleaned up sketch for line art, added base colors and background, and airbrushed details.
Started with sketch, added colors and details over sketch, defined background, and added lighting.
Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.