This school is full of artists. With an art requirement and varying classes ranging from ceramics to painting to cooking, students have the ability to flex their artistic muscles in whatever facet they find themselves enjoying. Some students go beyond the school requirements for art, whether taking an AP art class or even incorporating art into their hobbies and interests outside of school. Seniors Wei Song and Matthew Bottiglieri are two such students who have used their artistic abilities to pursue personal projects.
With the stitch of fabric, and specific styling of hair and makeup, senior Wei Song has the uncanny ability to make cartoon characters come to life through participating in cosplay. Being a part of this activity means that Song must create her outfit, as well as style her hair and makeup in such a manner that she resembles the character on which she is basing herself. Song made her first costume in 2011, and has been varying her participation to be “as much as school and other responsibilities will allow [her,]” Song claims.
While always artistic, Song began taking her artistic abilities to the next level her freshman year when she began to grow more serious about it. Her art abilities have assisted her making her costumes, and vice-versa, allowing her to challenge herself. “There have been once too many times where I’ve had to paint an intricate design on fabric or cut asymmetric patterns by hand. But I think costuming and cosplaying has also pushed me to become more creative. Replicating props and outfits of some very unconventional outfits requires a lot of roundabout thinking and experimentation,” Song said.
Song also has had the ability to sell some of her art, making around $3,000 this past summer by selling costume commissions, and $700 from selling acrylic phone charms of her art. “[Most] recently, over spring break I got commissioned to draw two murals at an ice cream store called Class 520 in Bethesda for $600,” Song said.
Using her skills in the arts, Song has been able to build a web of connections as well as be able to share her art with others. “[Art] has provided me so many opportunities and amazing connections… I’ve been able to meet a diverse amount of people from all over the world,” Song said. “Even my prospective roommate for college is someone I’ve met in the art scene who currently attends NYU.”
Song’s favorite project was recreating the character of Ahri from the game League of Legends, which consisted of white feathered tails, an intricate red and white costume, and triangle ears. “Not only was creating the costume super fun and a great reverse engineering experience, but wearing it felt super empowering. I was super confident and elegant in my walk… My presence felt huge, figuratively and literally. It’s a great feeling when people recognize the character you’re dressing up and appreciate the work you put into it,” Song said.
Nearly all students have seen the graphic of Hugh the Manatee on the Humanities and Arts students’ T-shirts. Have you ever wondered who designed it? The credit goes to Senior Matthew Bottiglieri.
Bottiglieri has always taken a passion in art, and starting his freshman year he began to pursue the dramatic arts on stage, participating in a vast number of shows at this school, most recently playing the role of Sebastian in the school’s Spring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Initially wanting to be an architect, Bottiglieri discovered how math-heavy the career is, which he felt was not his strongest subject. “I’ve always been the kind of person to plan for the future, so in [middle school] I would look around and see what job I should have, and then I came across graphic design, and I looked into it,” Bottiglieri said.
Following this he investigated through YouTube to discover more about graphic design.
This past summer, Bottiglieri attended a pre-college program with the Maryland Institute of Arts in graphic design. “I thought that graphic would be a really good career, and so I took a chance to do that, and I ended up really enjoying it,” Bottiglieri said. “I wanted to go there and see if I really liked it, that’s the primary reason I went there, and the rest is history.” Following this class he purchased graphic design software.
Bottigleri thrived at the craft, and has since designed various projects, with his favorite being one that he designed when he was in his pre-college program. “I made a zine. A zine is like a magazine but it’s self-published, and you can basically put in it whatever you want, and so I made [one] called Color Pop. It was really the first big project that I ever did. I just really enjoyed making it and I thought it really embodied my style,” Bottiglieri said.
Bottigleri will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design next year, and hopes to pursue a career in graphic design. “I don’t know exactly what I want to do with it yet, but I just know that I love it, and there’s lots of great jobs out there for graphic design,” Bottiglieri said.