Teen wins congressional art show

Posted 4/26/10

Englewood resident Seiji Hewson took first through fourth honors in the First Congressional District Student Art Contest, a feat described as …

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Teen wins congressional art show


Englewood resident Seiji Hewson took first through fourth honors in the First Congressional District Student Art Contest, a feat described as unprecedented by contest organizers.

For the past nine years, U.S. Rep Diana DeGette, D-Colo., has sponsored the contest each year for students who live or go to school in her district. This year, a panel of five judges evaluated the 55 entries and named Hewson the grand prize winner.

Congresswoman DeGette was on hand April 19 at the Art Institute of Colorado to present the awards to Hewson.

“I am pleased to award Seija Hewson the grand prize award and the honor of having his work displayed in the U.S. Capitol,” Rep. DeGette said in a written statement. “I was overwhelmed by the quality of art from the students who entered this year’s competition and I am proud of the art education program at our Denver-area high schools.”

At the April 19 ceremony, Hewett received the first-place award as well as a $5,000 scholarship to the Art Institute. He also was given two round-trip tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines so he can attend join the congresswoman for the June ceremonies where his winning, “Lost World,” will be hung in the Cannon tunnel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. along with winning entries from other congressional districts.

The artist didn’t specifically create the winning entry for the contest.

“I actually started drawing this picture last year as an assignment commenting on adverse impact on the environment,” the Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School student said of the winning entry. “Eventually, I decided to change the focus and reflect my commentary on what is wrong with society with so much emptiness. I tried to reflect how everything is the picture showed emptiness. I drew it so the car is empty and the door is open and the church stands empty with the doors open. The only one in the picture was the person wrapped in the red cloak.”

He said his biggest challenge was to have the eyes of the single person in the picture reflect the emotion of sadness and fear and all the emptiness.

“This is primarily a pencil drawing but I did use bits of color to punctuate the theme,” he said. “The light is flashing red and the girl is wrapped in a red blanket. I used red because it stands out and tends to draw attention and because it is a warning of danger.”

Each artist entering the congressional contest is asked to submit four works and Hewson said his works tend to reflect the diversity of his feelings and imagination.

His entries included a very detailed portrayal of the face of rap artist Tupac Shakur drawn to reflect the man’s emotions while the other two drawings delved into the artist’s imagination.

One of them, titled “Soul Entry” was a collage of figures which included a mask of the “Joker” and the grim reaper while the fourth entry was titled, “Not So Friendly.”

The focus of “Not So Friendly “is an imaginary character with ram-like horns on its head, two unusual, very different eyes along with a body that is drawn from the artist’s imagination. The focus was centered on the figure by the splashes of red on the mat surrounding the artwork.

“I just started drawing and the final result was ‘my ‘Not So Friendly’ character” Hewson said. “I just drew heavily on concepts from my imagination as I was looking to make some sort of design or logo. The result was all the diverse images just came out and found their place on the drawing.”

His works, along with the other contest entries, will be on display at the Art Institute of Colorado Gallery through May 7. The gallery is located at 12th Avenue and Lincoln Street.

Hewson, a senior, had planned to go to Metropolitan State University but now will take advantage of the scholarship to the art institute.

“I still see doing drawings and artwork but my goal is to get into graphic design and animation in order to bring my artwork to that medium,” he said. “Art is a part of me and a driving force of expression of who I am and what I am.”

He said he has been drawing almost as long as he can remember. He has taken art classes all through school and did take some private art classes when he was in middle school, but basically, most of his techniques and skills are self-taught.

“I was sort of drawn to doing pencil sketches because I like the starkness of the black, white and grays and the emotions they convey,” he said. “I also like the shading you can do with a pencil that I don’t feel you can do as well with other mediums. While I am going to use pen too, I feel this medium is how I can express all the different feelings and emotions inside me.”


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