AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Keira Santoso

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a digital illustration made by Keira Santoso from Handsworth Secondary School​ in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada​.

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 a digital illustration made by Keira Santoso from Handsworth Secondary School​ in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

digital illustration of a wet, litter-strewn alley with a building at the end of it with a neon sign that reads ghosted

Here’s Keira’s statement on the work:

"I’ve always been interested in how films use world building to tell imaginative stories, seemingly opening infinite possibilities to what appears “real.” As these mediums take inspiration from diverse cultures and stories, my work uses similar processes to explore my imagination and experience creative freedom. I use world building to dissolve the boundary between reality and illusion and harmonize them by transforming realistic elements into fantastical environments.

"'Ghosted' is a town manifested by feelings of abandonment, in which its inhabitants are only revived by virtual distraction.

"Since my idea revolved around digital media, I used photo editing, digital painting, basic physics simulations, and 3-D modeling during my process. Combining drawing, 2-D, and 3-D elements helped me develop my idea of merging real and virtual worlds.

two process screenshots, stacked on top of each other, of the Ghosted illustration getting created

"The final image shows a digital future littered with advertisement posters, toppled buckets, broken signs, and bright neon lights. I’m grateful for my peers and teachers who helped bring the idea to life, and I learned a lot about digital media in the process."

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

digital illustration of a person walking up steps to the top of a mountain where a broken shrine stands

Undefined imaginary structure as a gate to undiscovered areas and the beginning of a new adventure. Initial build in 3D = starting of world building. Finished paint-over in Photoshop = dreamlike textures.

digital illustration of a person entering a large, classic-style Japanese home

To represent stories from childhood with grandfather by expanding on and vitalizing old memories. Reimagining grandfather’s home by restructuring 3D model = redesigning memories to represent nostalgia.

two digital illustrations, stacked, showing a person outside the gates of a fancy apartment, top, and then entering the apartment, bottom

Dramatization of color vibrancy with 3D = enhanced memory of going home from school.

digital illustration of a broken-down Volkswagen bus

Dreamlike texture and empty scenery = juxtaposed environment of riding the bus in the city.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.