Lauren Ann Dimaya, a senior at Susan E. Wagner High School in Staten Island, N.Y., is this year’s MyMajors Creative Outlook Magazine cover contest winner. The six teacher judges from around the nation voted her work, Cusp, as the top piece.
Cusp is Dimaya’s testament to finding herself on the transformative road from teenager to young adult as she gets
ready to graduate and move into college. Here is her description that accompanied th
e contest piece, “With every curve in our lives, we will always reach a certain point that feels like an ending, but is actually a transformation period that spins us around, sets us off on a new path with new eyes, and
allows us to begin again. My current position is in a valley between the landslide of youth and the upward ladder out toward adult life, and in attempt to convey this, I had thrown a childish gesture into a serious expression adorned with skin scrubbed raw from years of living.” This self portrait painted with gouache paint is 11by 15 inches.
Diamaya painted this specific piece at home. “I want to be a portrait artist. Right now, I’m working on a series of portraits of three friends and portraits of my little brother and sister. It’s critical to see others and what their faces capture at that moment. I know personally I am looking at a new chapter. I think I caught my seriousness and silliness, my youth and my step toward adulthood.”
She has taken art classes for all four years of high school including drawing and illustration, painting and portfolio class. She credits her teacher, Fanelle Goldstein, with encouragement and inspiration. “She is a huge influence. She introduced me to outside art programs that have helped me grow in my skills. Mrs. Goldstein has helped me focus and throughout my growth, she has aided me in understanding and realizing that my art can take me places.”
Dimaya attended the Frank Sinatra Art Institute summer arts program where students can major in dance, theater, instrumental music (band), vocal music, film, string orchestra or visual arts. The program is designed for students at an intermediate or advanced level of study in their chosen discipline. Dimaya says the program aided in helping her build her portfolio.
Goldstein received her degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute. Her favorite classes to teach are her advanced art class which includes painting, portfolio, drawing and major art. She is very proud that all of her students have been accepted to the colleges of their choice due to her training. “I also want to study art education at Pratt,” Dimaya says. “It’s where Mrs. Goldstein went or Hunter College at City University of New York. There’s also FIT.”
However, in talking with Dimaya, she sees Pratt as a frontrunner. “I see arts education as my major, but Pratt will allow me to incorporate painting too. I would get to learn both at the same time.” Along with Goldstein, Dimaya also admires Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk, artist and musician Grimes and visual artist Gustav Klimt.
“I took AP classes last year such as English and history. This year, it’s government and literature,” she says. “I am also hoping the art club comes back this year and I will join the Korean Pop Dance Club to stay active. After college graduation, I want to get a stable job and I will probably look at graduate school. I want to be a professor in painting. Perhaps I will spend a few years in Iceland. No matter where I am, I know I will be painting. After all, in preschool, I was painting rather than playing.”