Spotlight on Artist Natalie Beier
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature photographs made by Natalie Beier from Notre Dame Belmont High School in Belmont, CA.
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.
Here’s Natalie’s statement on the work:
"Physical appearance dominates others' perception of your identity. To challenge this, I investigated self-portraiture and created a Rococo character starkly different than my personality. I posed two questions to guide my exploration: How can I capture the aesthetic of Rococo in self-portraits? Can I create, portray, and ultimately become a character?
The process behind each image is an essential step in my exploration. I began by studying Rococo art, such as "The Swing" by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. I translated this feminine, pastel, and ornate art style into soft makeup and extravagant hair, multilayered costuming and accessories, and pastoral settings. I created a suspension of disbelief by willing my audience to perceive me as a regal elite in the 18th century.
For this piece, a soothing, feminine aesthetic conceals the chaos of the self-portraiture
process. I set up a bathtub with foam and coloring and used natural lighting to capture the image.
My exploration culminated a collage of outtakes and imagery provides a glimpse into the production of creating my character and reveals my true identity. Even after hours of styling, I’m just a creative 17-year-old high school senior in 2020.”
Here are a few more pieces from Natalie’s portfolio:
Captured dappled light/model in ethereal pose to portray feeling of floating underwater. I organized model’s costume/props, camera placed just below pool surface to see umbrella reflection.
A hidden world behind wax paper leaves audience yearning for fully ripped paper/an identity reveal.
Full-body shot highlighting whimsical natural background, ballgown dress, and props.
A collage of portfolio production/process images that shares my true identity.
Student statements are lightly edited for clarity.