A.P. Draw, Paint, Print Senior Spotlight Interview: Kevin Pina

The AP Drawing Portfolio is an intensive course, requiring students to produce art at the college level. Students compile a portfolio of 15-20 original artworks demonstrating mastery in composition, technique, and concept. They pursue the WHY behind their own artistic process and participate in weekly critiques of classmates’ work, as well as submit completed pieces approximately every two weeks. Be sure to mark your calendar for the Senior AP Art Portfolio Show in the Berg Gallery on the evening of April 24.

“Kevin Pina has always loved the visual arts, and has consistently enjoyed the artistic process of a variety of mediums. He has mastered chalk pastel, oil pastel, charcoal, and graphite. He chose colored pencils for his senior concentration and has been able to truly capture the feeling and nostalgia of his time in North Carolina,” said instructor Rebecca Hoadley. “Kevin has had work displayed in the Berg Gallery year all four years of high school, as well as the Head of School Gallery, the Library Gallery, and Student Services. Episcopal will miss having his works displayed on campus!”

How does your work demonstrate your concentration idea?

The mountains have always been a part of my life. From an early age, Thanksgivings were spent at my grandparents mountain house in Sylva, North Carolina. The summers of my youth were spent up in Canton, North Carolina, where my family purchased a house of our very own. Whenever I think of these two areas, all I can feel is the nostalgia and joy of my childhood. I strive in my concentration to express these very emotions. However, my art is more than just a visual representation of my life in western North Carolina. It is a body of work connected by a unifying feeling of the Carolina mountains. The horizontal composition of my pieces in which the blue and green mountains conspire in the distance, portrays the expansive feeling of the Appalachian Mountains. The emphasized shrubbery in the foreground represents the immediate connection one feels with nature in the environment. And the unique aspect of each piece reflects my personal connection to the unified aura of the Carolina mountains.

What do you hope your viewer sees in your work?

During the initial stages of my work, I was simply focused on my personal connections to each piece. That is what was most important to me; making art that I understand and relate to. However, through my journey I have realized that this idea creates a distance between the viewer and piece. I asked myself “How can my viewer become invested into my work if they have no connection to it?” Thankfully, my questions answered themselves as my concentration unfolded. Once I looked at my pieces side by side, I was able to recognize their cohesion to one another. They were no longer individual pieces with personal experiences and memories. They were all unified by the feeling of the Carolina mountains that I express in my concentration idea. Through peer critiques and personal reflection, I now strive to connect my art to the viewers through a balance of personal and universal connection.

How long have you been making art and when did you start to feel independent?

Thankfully I’ve been fortunate enough to have had an education that has supported the arts all throughout my life. In elementary school I explored the performing and visual arts and found a side of me that I enjoyed. I expanded on this by enrolling on the visual arts path at Episcopal. Episcopal is where I began to feel independent in my work, and my independence has grown as the years have gone on. I am no longer just another formless student, going through the motions of an art class. I have an individual purpose and I explore that in my art.