AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Bella Galo

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature a painting made by Bella Galo from Creekside High School in Saint Johns, Florida.

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. 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 a painting made by Bella Galo from Creekside High School in Saint Johns, Florida.

Garish pairing in red, blue, black, and white of two hands holding open a mouth full of teeth with braces

Here’s Bella’s statement on the work:

“My sustained investigation explored a child’s journey in maturing to accept themself, with this piece at the height of the child’s insecurity. The idea was to completely expose distorted flaws with forceful hands and a lipless mouth. I wanted the subtle fear of always having one’s imperfections on display, with endless rows of teeth growing from the darkest core of a frustrated identity.

“My portfolio primarily toyed with colors and form utilizing different saturations of emotion, hence the overwhelming harsh colors to highlight the discomfort of a fixable insecurity. With Sketchbook Pro, I experimented with distorting the mouth to be insecure and vulnerable while changing the perspective of colors. While bright colors can be positive and happy, I wanted to play with overwhelmingly saturating the artwork in displaying something desperately trying to stay hidden.”

Here’s Bella’s teacher Nicole Rakov’s thoughts on the work:

“Bella is very conscientious of making the best choices in her work and ends up reworking many of her pieces. She uses her sketchbook daily and creates as many different versions of her work as possible, exploring colors, values, and a variety of marks. Once she has created several iterations of a work she begins the work and reworks the piece as she is progressing if she feels that she has not met her goals.

“Bella was exploring imagery related to her inquiry about the world of a child having to grow up and experience adult situations. Bella was working with color harmony, design through repetition, and emphasis in her works.

“Bella took many years and levels of 2D art with me throughout high school and completed an AP Portfolio in Drawing the previous year (2019). She excels in using a variety of media and is always seeking new ways to layer materials, mix media, and develop her voice. I provided her with many different media to choose from to explore her ideas. Bella created this work outside of the classroom as we did not have the technology, but she first created the design using 2D media in her sketchbook in class.

“Bella is a determined and incredibly creative student. She has the most imaginative sketchbooks I have ever seen in my 22-year career. Bella taught me to trust the process, to work through ideas, and to plan. She consistently worked in her sketchbook, collecting ideas, worked with color schemes, playing, and developing ideas.  I know Bella will go on to do great things as a talented creative individual.”

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

cartoon illustration of a male doctor and female nurse in front of giant syringe filled with pink liquid

Acrylic paint on cardboard to convey unpreparedness and intimidation of sudden shift adulthood, spotlighting by expectation.

Cartoon illustration of a wine glass with a cheesy food inside

I used Crayola markers and highlighters on drawing paper, supplies often found in elementary school, to depict childish food inside a glass used for adult beverages, like youthful cravings stuck in a grown adult.

Illustration of four people wearing smiling masks, holding hands with lifted arms with a rainbow in the background and a young woman with a crying mask behind them

An Autodesk Sketchbook Pro digital painting expressing a limited pallet and disproportionate complementary colors to express exclusivity and fabricating unity with hidden eyes and selective colors, desaturated use as clarity.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.