Friday, December 19, 2014

Art Contest – Teen Winners, Midwinter 2014

This year's teen entries in the Midwinter Art Contest were all very interesting. There was a great difference of concept and technical approach between each of the pieces we received. It was fantastic to see so many original ideas!

Special thanks go to our celebrity judges, Steve Parkhouse (comic book legend behind classic Doctor Who, Hulk and 2000 AD) and Dr. Helga Hlaðgerður Lúthersdóttir (Teaching Fellow in Old Norse and Icelandic language and literature at University College London). Both of them spent a great deal of time ranking the entries and writing comments. Their contributions are much appreciated!

The three winners in the teen division all showed a wonderful combination of interest in Norse mythology and creativity in interpreting the classic texts. It's great to see a new generation of artists engaging with the world of the Norse myths in such an original way. Congratulations to Ayu, Millie and Andrew!

If you haven't seen the kids' division winners yet, check them out by clicking here.

Note: You can click on the art to see larger versions.

Ayu Putri Kenyo Jati
Age 17
Kramat Jati, Jakarta, Indonesia

Ayu describes the winning entry: "Freyja weeps for her missing husband Óðr and seeks after him in far away lands."

All three judges ranked this piece in the top spot. Dr. Lúthersdóttir says, "Beautiful use of colour, interesting composition and mixing of cultural references; good use of watercolor as medium."

Mr. Parkhouse agrees: "This is a very strongly rendered image, without resorting to clip art or any other electronic aids. The colors are bold and confidently applied, which suggests a strong imagination. The image has a powerful tribal feeling, which some viewers may characterize as primitive but is in fact very sophisticated. A true artist in the making."

This is wonderful work of art that shows Freyja in a way that I had never imagined. Isn't that what the best art does? It helps us to see the familiar in unfamiliar ways. If you're wondering what myth Ayu is referring to, here is the relevant passage from Snorri Sturluson's Edda:
Freyja, along with Frigg, is the most noble. She married the man called Óðr. Their daughter, Hnoss, is so beautiful that from her name comes the word for a treasure that is exceptionally handsome and valuable. Óðr went traveling on distant paths while Freyja remained behind, crying tears of red gold. Freyja has many names, because she gave herself different names as she travelled among unknown peoples searching for Óðr.
First Place: Ayu Putri Kenyo Jati

Millie Anderson
Age 16
Oberlin, Ohio, USA

Millie describes her piece: "In my artwork you will see Iðunn walking in the middle of a snowstorm with her basket of apples to an apple tree to get more apples for the rest of the gods and goddesses to keep them young this midwinter."

Mr. Parkhouse writes, "Millie's picture demonstrates a very subtle and sophisticated approach, especially in its composition. The use of white space emphasises the central pillar of tree and figure. And it asks a question: why does the goddess carry the basket behind her back?"

Dr. Lúthersdóttir adds, "Good structure and nice juxtaposition of color. Via her use of color, the artist reflects the contrasts of summer and winter of the Norse mythology, where Ásgarð is often depicted as free from the seasons of Midgarð and yet mirroring the northern world of humans."

I really like the sense of winter quiet in Millie's entry. Here's the mythic background of the art, again from Snorri's Edda:
In her private wooden box, [Iðunn] keeps the apples which the gods bite into when they begin to grow old. They all become young again, and so it will be right up to Ragnarök.
Second Place: Millie Anderson

Andrew M. Kiley
Age 17
Columbia Station, Ohio, USA

Andrew writes, "My artwork is of Thor and one of his goats. Since midwinter is the longest night of the year, my artwork is set during a winter night. The symbols on Thor's hammer are the runic symbols for Thor."

Dr. Lúthersdóttir says, "Good composition. An interestingly down-to-earth depiction of the thunder god, the god of the common man."

Mr. Parkhouse writes, "This picture is clearly defined and well composed. The three picture planes lend a sense of distance and scale, and the figure of Thor is strongly present. I would encourage Andrew to experiment more with natural materials as computer generated art can be a little stiff."

As in Ayu's piece, Andrew's entry shows a figure from Norse myth in a way quite different from how I've imagined him. I greatly appreciate Andrew's originality and creativity!

Third Place: Andrew M. Kiley

Adult winners will be announced tomorrow!

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