AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Alexander Vance

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature an oil painting made by Alexander Vance from Corner Canyon High School in Draper, UT.

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).

In the past, we’ve spotlighted artists who had their work included in AP Art online exhibitions. But starting this week, we’re doing something a bit different. While the AP Art team finalizes the next online exhibition, The Elective will share some of the most engaging pieces created by AP Art students this year—because the art is as urgent as our times.

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. In 2020, there is a lot to process and grapple with—and AP Art students have risen to the challenge. The work many of them submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment, from commentary on the covid-19 pandemic to the celebration of people of color to the nature of heroism in perilous times.

The work is often challenging and provocative but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature an oil painting made by Alexander Vance from Corner Canyon High School in Draper, UT.

Painting of a woman in renaissance clothing wearing a face mask and holding a container of Clorox wipes

Here’s Alexander’s statement on the work:

"The question I explored through my portfolio is: How can I express my views on the world through my art, and how are world problems reflected in pop culture?

I wanted to allow my investigation to freely evolve and give myself opportunities to explore current events and issues that I feel passionate about. I practiced this by utilizing pop culture and appropriated images from classical art. For this piece, I wanted to alter a Leonardo da Vinci painting, so I chose "Lady with an Ermine" to address the current issues we are facing and express my concept of the coronavirus making people feel isolated, depressed, and scared. For other works, I experimented with spray paint because of its street art influence and its connection to pop culture's reproducibility.

As my investigation started to comment on deeper issues that our world faces, I started using several characters from pop culture because they can represent the challenges and make it more enticing or enjoyable for the viewers. I also used a couple famous Renaissance paintings to show how the world has changed since then and the new problems we have created for ourselves as our technology advances and we continue to misuse and destroy our planet.

I want people to be able to see my art and enjoy it on whatever level they're on."

Here are a few more pieces from Alexander’s portfolio:

Two illustrations of a blonde man, from the shoulders up, wearing a mask, one on a pink background and one on a blue background

This piece comments on the coronavirus, how it separates people, and the threat it is to the world.

a plastic bottle with a whale painted on it

I was experimenting with watercolor and pen for the Whale in a recycled plastic bottle. This piece comments on plastics in the ocean and how destructive it is for ocean life.

painting of the mandalorian, from star wars, clothed in biblical garb with a halo around his helmeted head, cradling baby yoda

This work addresses that we need to do more to create a sustainable planet for future generations.

a recreation of the painting the last supper, using star wars characters instead of jesus and the apostles

This is a more light-hearted piece addressing how after graduating all my friends will go separate ways. I debated putting my friends in, but ultimately chose to use Star Wars characters to make it more relatable.

Student statements are lightly edited for clarity.