This week, I interviewed an exceptional scholar and artist, Natasha H. She is an eighth-grade scholar at CCS of Yolo in the Options program. Her greatest passions are sculpture, drawing, painting, and most recently, she is working on wearable or kinetic art! Two of her photographs of installation sculptures were accepted into the Walt Disney Family Museum’s December exhibit “It’s A Small World”! 120 pieces were chosen out of hundreds submitted by artists from around the world ages 13-90. And two of Natasha’s are featured! Additionally, ten were selected to be displayed in the press kit distributed to media worldwide, and Natasha’s was chosen to represent the collection as part of the press kit. Congratulations Natasha!!
Natasha’s Mother Christa S., Assistant Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco shares, “We truly appreciate Compass for providing an education that allows for Natasha’s gifts to flourish and illuminate the world.”
Let’s learn some more about this inspiring scholar!
Natasha, how long have you been with Compass Charter Schools?
This is my second year with Compass.
What are your favorite school subjects?
Creative Writing, Art, and Chemistry.
What is your favorite type of art?
Probably kinetic art or anything wind-powered. I love drawing and painting, but sculpture and wearable or kinetic art inspire me the most. At the moment, I’m working on a project called the “Wind Palpator.” It is a wearable, kinetic headpiece that harnesses the wind’s power and translates it into a sensation you can feel on your scalp. It mimics the feeling of insects that have antennae, so it almost works as a sixth sense. It is an acrylic globe with swaying antennae that touch your head at the bottom, catch the wind, and move. The word “palpator” as in “to palpate” means touching or examining through touch, and a “palpator” refers to bugs antennae or a sea anemone’s tentacles.
Tell us about your current exhibit at Walt Disney Family Museum’s December exhibit “It’s A Small World”?
The two photos of my art piece called “Where Are You” and “I Am Here” were among 120 works of art chosen out of hundreds of applications from artists ages 13 and up from around the world.
In these times, we feel small and disconnected from the rest of the world. But in fact, the world is small, and we are connected. I stuck these half-inch people to rocks, signs, and bridges to remind people that, indeed, it is a small world.
How do you feel about this?
I was super excited to have the chance to change someone’s view on the world and bring joy to their day, whether it is through the photograph or if they come across one in San Fransisco.
How long have you been doing art?
Pretty much all my life. I’ve always had large, complicated plans for my projects, and I rarely limit myself to a simple sketch or charcoal drawing. (While I do love charcoal, I like adding a bit of spice!) My creativity slowed down a bit in fifth and sixth grades while at a public school because the environment didn’t quite support or nourish my creativity. I felt like I was losing that part of myself. Luckily, I am at Compass and have time and freedom to engage in my creativity fully, and my art is flourishing.
Who is your inspiration?
A more well-known artist I look up to is Theo Janson, who makes moving, wind-powered creatures that walk along the beach. Another artist who inspires me is Itoaya Ayaito. She makes beautiful wearable kinetic jewelry and wearables. Nik Ramage, Lorne Peterson, and Mimia Arbalez, my art mentors, are also sources of inspiration for my art.
What advice do you have for those new to an online school or personalized learning?
If your kid has an interest, let him or her do that. Give them the freedom and time to discover who they are and what they like. It may take some time. Don’t get discouraged or compare them or their journey to other scholars’ journeys. We are all different. Revolve the other subjects around their interest. Also, be very hands-on and experiential. No worksheets!
What do you do for fun?
I love experimenting with new mediums and new ways of looking at life. A big part of my art is transforming the way people look at things.
Tell us about your family?
I live with my mother and father, who are both therapists. My Mom is also a writer. I also have an adorable dog named Marley and a cat named Yuki. My half-sister lives in San Francisco, and I have two nieces and nephews. I also have a lot of extended family in New York and England, where my Mom and Dad are from.
How is your school day typically structured?
I have a few tutors and mentors whom I see every week. I have math a few times a week, creative writing weekly, and Japanese language weekly. I meet with 2-3 art mentors at least once in the week. And every week I study science and geography with my Dad. I also take poetry and recently finished a 3D printing class. Each day is different, but there are usually about three hours of structured lessons or some kind of sessions. The rest of the day, I will work on my art, see a friend, go into nature to be inspired, cook, and listen to music. There’s so much to do in life! I find every day to be a new experience, and I love that.
What are your future goals, Natasha?
It is more about the person who uses it or experiencing it in my art, whoever that may be that matters to me. I want to give that person a new viewpoint on life and inspire them to look at the world differently. I want to give them back a sense of almost child-like wonder of the world around them. The world has become very bland and old to us, and we start to believe that there is nothing new to see when there are new exciting things right in front of us right now. If I can give that to even one person, my goal has been achieved.
What are you most grateful for?
My flexible and accepting parents who listen to me and give me room to grow.
How do you plan to spend your Winter Break?
Doing art, seeing friends, hiking, chilling, and seeing how I can experiment with making life fresh and interesting.
Anything else to share?
If people are interested in checking out my art, they can go to my Instagram accounts: @Nashayart and @Succulentjelly.
Here are photographs of her installation sculptures accepted into the Walt Disney Family Museum’s December exhibit “It’s A Small World.”
Thank you to Natasha and her Mother, Christa, for sharing her remarkable story. To hear more scholars’ stories and helpful advice, visit our blogs.