Spotlight on Artist Julie Trohan
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature stoneware made by Julie Trohan from Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anseimo, California.
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. 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 stoneware made by Julie Trohan from Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anseimo, California.
Here’s Julie’s statement on the work:
“My sustained investigation started in freshman year with me just wanting to keep my tea warm. With this interest, I wanted to explore the preciseness and the functionality of a jar.
“As I am slightly a perfectionist, I found that making a lid fit to a jar was a challenge that I wanted to try. This self-assigned hurdle compelled me to try hand-building jars to get the hang of it. I purposely hit the bottom of a piece, which changed the angle and the feel of the jar entirely. I simultaneously found that glazes change our ability to fully see a piece. I applied the same aspects of glaze on the jars where I investigated the different ways to let glaze flow along the surface of the jar. The path of my investigation was disrupted due to quarantine but I challenged myself to create a hand-built teapot.”
Here’s Julie’s teacher Beth Cederstrom’s statement on the work:
“Julie describes herself as a perfectionist. Much of her exploration balanced her ability to focus on details and precision with a willingness to take risks. In this piece, she chose to cover much of a carefully crafted bottle form with spikes and peaks. The form is rounded and accessible, juxtaposed with sharp, angular additions. The copper red glaze came out perfectly, breaking white on the sharp areas where the glaze is thinner and pooling into deep reds between the peaks. Copper reds are risky; the piece might have had many less fortunate outcomes.
“As a teacher, my job is to create a safe space where over 200 students who use the studio can learn to explore and think for themselves. With 26 to 33 students in a class, I expect to see as many individual solutions to the projects as there are students. My students, especially at the advanced and AP levels, work very independently while utilizing many one-to-one formative assessments. Every five to six weeks, we have a large class critique where each student presents work to the whole class. I encourage students to learn from and teach each other. We create a community of awareness, mutual respect, and cooperation.”
And here are a couple other works from Julie’s portfolio:
Building off a mug I had previously made, I wanted to keep the same form but experiment with the lid.
I created an unfunctional jar that does not serve its intended purpose but has another use. I wanted to see how many holes I could create in a lidded piece before it became unfunctional.
Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.