Into the Mind of Air Academy Artists

Air Academy High School at first glance may seem like any other high school with any other students. But through these halls walk a forest fire of aspiring artists just getting their first taste of the art world.

Air Academy offers two hands-on art classes taught by Lisa Preeshl and Johny O’Lonergan. O’Lonergan teaches pottery and spinning arts while Preeshl teaches painting and drawing classes. 

When walking down the halls of D building you will see an abundance of art made by students scattered throughout the walls.

Down the art hallway, there is a brand new mural designed and presented by student Zoey Bonner.

The start of Zoey Bonner’s painting on the walls across from the bathroom in lower D’s art hallway

The student artists that take time out of their day to create something that will be presented to students for years to come have confidence in their work, and to become passionate and comfortable with sharing a work of art such as Bonner’s, an artist must have some sort of fire under their belly to create and make people feel things with their art.

Creative sparks start to fly for Junior Janna Boyd and her creative process after she gets a basic idea of she wants to create. Boyd says, “I browse some ideas and narrow it down to the idea I like best. I sketch them out [and] then I pick the best one.”

Art teachers are put there to teach their kids to become hypersensitive to inspirations.

Often times, students use things like Pinterest boards or a piece of music to find their next art piece. 

“Put down your smartphone and shut down any devices… connect to yourself, your own thoughts are powerful and important, ideas can pop up at any time and if you’re not distracted and you listen to your inner voice you can discover many things about yourself that are as rich as any lost treasure at the bottom of the ocean,” ceramics teacher Jonny O’Lonergan, said.

Getting a magnified look into the brain of a passionate artist and looking to share their experience with the art world to bring out the deeper side of students adds a new perspective to what is really going on in rooms 426 and 430 

Sophmore Rhianna Boyd said, “You find your inspiration from how you’re feeling. I don’t know it’s weird.”

O’Lonergan has made it a point to teach his students the artistic/creative process. Using an eight-step guide that starts with ideas and ends with a reflection of the student’s art pieces.

Artistic/Creative Process

  1. Idea/Problem/Function – Intent. Artists statement answering who, what, when, where, why, how.
  2. Mind mapping/Brainstorming – inventory your interests, ideas, thoughts, memories, feelings, opinion, observation, point of view, voice, etc.
  3. Observe Research/Collect Resources –  Collect all the resources you need to successfully experiment and prototype your draft composition.
  4. Thumbnail & Final Sketch/Plan – Create a quick 2-minute sketch of your original concept four times.
  5. Create & Play –  Investigate, invent, experiment, get into the flow of your creative process.
  6. Revising & Finishing – Synthesis your discoveries from your prototype experiences into a final professionally complete project.
  7. Peer & Self Critiques – Professionally present your artwork and upload a photograph into a digital portfolio.
  8. Reflections – Meta-Cognition – Get inside your head. Think about the journey you have taken to complete your artwork.

Looking into the mind of an Air Academy artist, it can be seen that there is not just a beginning and an end to a piece of art, there is a whole story between the idea of an idea and a finished product.