AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Manuel Guerrero Zdeinert

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week, we feature a work made with Prismacolor and Faber Castell markers on watercolor paper by Manuel Guerrero Zdeinert from Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Virginia.

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 a work made with Prismacolor and Faber Castell markers on watercolor paper by Manuel Guerrero Zdeinert from Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Virginia.

Colorful illustration of people shopping in a grocery store, wearing face masks and carrying essential items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies

Here’s Manuel’s statement on the work:

"My inquiry was exploring how I can use color, detail, and composition to portray different gatherings and to convey the vitality of those scenes with them. Throughout the course of my inquiry, my goal was to use different color theory techniques to help build the theme over each piece, and with each I wanted to capture the various vibes gatherings can have. In some pieces, I used red and green to create a sense of discomfort, then used yellow throughout to trap the viewer's eye from any relief.

Handwritten chart and notes explaining the process of creating the image of people shopping in the grocery store

In the beginning of my inquiry, the detail was a lot greater on the objects than people's faces. I had come to realize that I had always shied away from drawing people in the past, and their facial features especially. After a few pieces I began to prioritize individually and each person's purpose in the scenes, as well as their reactions, emotions to what was going on, and what they were doing. This, along with thematic composition in each piece, helped achieve a diverse and unique sense of life in each gathering."

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

Colorful illustration of people shopping in an Ikea store

I started with the foreground and worked to the furthest back depth, separating levels of darker shades around the center to add a warped feel. Ikea was one of my favorite places as a kid and I used wavy blending when shading to symbolize memory.

Illustration of two subway scenes stacked on top of each other, one in light the other in darkness and shadow

I wanted to demonstrate change in lighting in a dramatic way. I used rim lighting and reapplied ink.

Illustration of a large gathering of people, eating while sitting on the street between buildings

I had a reference image, and I wanted to recreate it and to capture its essence of togetherness. Blending and letting colors overlap led to a more populous and saturated theme in the piece.

Student statements are lightly edited for clarity.