Artist of the Next Generation


Stepping into the museum, a friendly face welcomes you into the exhibit. An overwhelming amount of artwork stands out from end to end of every wall filling up the rooms and hallways. Each piece reflects a different story by the student artists. Viewers walk slowly to examine every piece of art and spot a painting of an abstract flower next to a plaque that reads, “Wesley Jividen, eleventh grade.”

Wesley is one of the few students selected to have their artwork showcased at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art from February 11-April 13. Art students of Greater Latrobe and surrounding school districts now know what it feels like to be appreciated for artwork that took them hours to create. This small museum in Ligonier wanted to focus on the talent that this next generation has to offer.

Not used to being noticed for his art, having part of the museum was an immensely memorable experience for Wesley. He said, “Seeing my work in an actual museum inspired me to create more art and actually put it out there. It was cool to see something I made somewhere other than just in the context of the school art room.”
Making the artwork wasn’t as easy as just splashing paint onto a canvas. Wesley learned new techniques and different ways to make art that he may have not thought of before. He explained, “It was pretty new to me because the assignment was that I couldn’t look at my paper and had to use one continuous line. The outline was drawn on top of a plastic screen, but I didn’t really have a clue at all about how it was gonna look in the end.”

Vibrant colors pop out left and right from the flower formed from scrambled lines. Just by using simple materials like acrylic paint and Sharpies, Wesley was able to make an incredible line art piece, but had some troubles on the way. He said, “It was difficult to paint in the outline since it wasn’t necessarily drawn in a way that was meant to be painted afterward. I didn’t think enough about the space that would be painted before I started drawing, so I ended up having to go over some of the lines that were intersected and crashed together. It was just hard to make the paint work with such a weird blueprint.”

Over the three hours of drawing and painting that it took to make the work of art, Wesley used the instructions given by Mrs. Page to incorporate his own style and personality into the piece. “Having something overly detailed would’ve been difficult because I couldn’t look at the paper, so I wanted to have something more abstract. Because it’s so bright, I was going for the same vibe as something that a child would make,” he said.

Wesley doesn’t let what other people expect art to look like stop him from creating what he enjoys. He said, “I’ve found that I like to leave things incomplete. I tend to leave a lot of white space, just because I don’t love to do things in a traditional type of way and I think blank spots are kind of how I represent that.”