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2D visual arts nominees in 2017 Artist of the Year

The following students have been named as nominees for the 2017 Artist of the Year in 2D visual arts. We received 88 nominations from teachers at Orange County high schools.

The nominees are listed with the types of 2D art that they create and a quote from their nominating teacher. You can view samples of their art by clicking on their name.

The Top 10 nominees for 2D visual arts will be announced online on Apr. 7 and in print on Apr. 9.

Stephanie Aceves, digital photography, film-based photography

“Stephanie understands the visual language of film photography very well. (As) a ‘blind’ medium where one never sees the end result until it’s over and done, Stephanie nails it every time.” – Jackie Peters, Arnold O. Beckman High School

James Armas, digital photography, film-based photography

“Although ‘everyone’ is a photographer now, James has the ability to consistently capture and create original, striking imagery that stands apart from the masses.” – Mandy Tucker, Irvine High School

Jacob Ayala, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Jacob's portraits primarily focus on the use of color, through line, and movement. His work has a lot of energy.” – Debbyie Jollineau, Orange High School

Ana Berrelleza, drawing, painting

“Ana's artwork has a beautiful quality where you can see her love for nature reflected in her pieces.” – Judi Westing, Santa Ana High School

Madison Bolokowicz, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Maddie has always exhibited natural artistic talent, as many of my students do. But what makes her special is her ability to fail but not give up.” – Monica McQueen, JSerra Catholic High School

Haley Brookover, drawing, graphic design

“Haley worked with pencil and paper but she easily stepped out of her comfort zone and embraced the use of technology in her art.” – Karen Hickman, Polaris High School

Christine Brown, drawing, painting

A defining characteristic of Christine’s work is her hyper-real imagery. Through texture and intricacy, her creations beautifully maintain the integrity of any art materials she employs.” – Kathy Flanagan, Canyon High School

Ernesto Bustamante, drawing

“Ernie’s work comes from who he is and reflects his positive energy, creative imagination, and contagious confidence.” – Dawn Hamby, Orange Lutheran High School

Romeo Calderon, digital photography

“Many students enjoy taking pictures. Few embrace the medium of photography with the same vigor and passion Romeo has demonstrated.” – Kyle Roberts, Mater Dei High School

Regan Caraher, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Regan’s sensitive line drawings show her strong observational drawing skills and knowledge of art history.” – Bridget Beaudry Porter, Laguna Beach High School

Andrew Chan, drawing

“Andrew does not work spontaneously, boisterously or without compromise. His work does not declare but suggests. Does not assume but anticipates.” – Karen Akashi, Arnold O. Beckman High School

Alice Chi, drawing, painting

“Alice’s paintings exist as her storytelling medium, a multi-dimensional space where an array of thoughts and ideas coexist.” – Kathy Flanagan, Canyon High School

Yaritza Cisneros-Guinto, drawing, painting

“Yaritza is so creative! She really plans her ideas and then executes them with a unique voice.” – Judi Westing, Santa Ana High School

Jocelyn Cruz-Garcia, painting, graphic design, digital painting

“Jocelyn spends every opportunity, and just about all of her free time, in the computer lab either putting more time into an assignment or honing her drawing skills.” – David Block, El Dorado High School

Tiffany Dang, drawing, painting

“Tiffany has an excellent ability to produce hyper-realistic renderings using both colored pencil and acrylic paint.” – Shannon Hartman, Mater Dei High School

Jack Davis, digital photography, film-based photography

“Jack's talent is special because he possesses what I would call an ‘elegant eye.’ He is generally drawn to traditionally beautiful subjects, but photographs them with a sensitivity to composition and style that emphasizes their innate elegance.” – Monica McQueen, JSerra Catholic High School

Wyatt Davis, drawing, painting

“Wyatt looks for the unusual to include in his drawings and paintings. He observes carefully, and paints with great sensitivity and attention to detail.” – Valerie Johnson, Aliso Niguel High School

Michelle Do, mixed media, digital photography

“Michelle is a passionate photographer and dedicated, hard working student. She is eager to learn more about her craft and takes criticism willingly, knowing it will improve her works.” – Catherine Wilson, Valencia High School

Shay Dong, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital photography

“As a Chinese student living abroad, Shay combines the excellent technical skills typically taught in Chinese art schools with the innovation and originality prized in American art education.” – Monica McQueen, JSerra Catholic High School

Abigail Dougherty, drawing, painting

“She is quirky and it shows in her art choices. She has a teachable spirit and is receptive to suggestions.” – Carol Thompson, Capistrano Valley Christian Schools

Danielle Drislane, drawing, painting, digital photography, graphic design

“Danielle often applies her personal experiences to her art making, especially her experience as a high school student, with its many paths to navigate and questions to answer about the world and oneself.” – Phillip Griswold, St. Margaret's Episcopal School

Zahra Elhanbaly, drawing, painting

“Zahra displays wonderful artistic talent. She is comfortable with all types of media from chalk pastel, oil paint, watercolor and more.” – Sherri Sieb, El Toro High School

Lynn Fong, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital art

“Lynn has natural drawing skills and can learn how to control any new medium very quickly. She is also great at drawing characters for cartoons.” – Donna Okamura, Sage Hill School

Karen Garcia, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Karen is an excellent illustrator and portrait artist. She can create very realistic faces as well as animated characters. Her work tells stories.” – Judi Westing, Santa Ana High School

Luis Garcia, drawing, painting

“Luis loves to incorporate his passion for music (into his artwork). In addition, he includes a style from movies and other media.” – Kristin Berardino, Servite High School

Jenna Gartner, drawing, painting

“Jenna’s humorous, seemingly light-hearted, and intentionally simple illustrations can pack a serious punch, hitting the viewer right in the gut after one has been drawn in by the brightly colored or stylistically rendered imagery.” – Dawn Hamby, Orange Lutheran High School

Katy Gerber, digital photography, graphic design

“Katy has a natural eye for photography. Though she has not had years of training in the media, she demonstrates a natural ability to capture beautiful photographs that are well composed with excellent technique.” – Catherine Wilson, Valencia High School

Chiara Ghidoli, drawing, mixed media

“She uses color in a way that is beyond her years. She can deconstruct an image to its simplest points and uses carefully devised layers to create a two dimensional surface into an illusion of a three dimensional composition.” – Loni Fait, Laguna Hills High School

Ciarra Mae Giron, drawing, painting

“Ciarra is gifted in creating metaphorical portraits that address the essence of the fragile human spirit. She is able to portray each one of her subjects’ psyches easily with a beautiful marriage of form and material.” – Kathy Flanagan, Canyon High School

Taylor Glenn, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital photography, graphic design

“Her vision is primarily about youth culture with a primary focus on the emotional impact feeling like a social outcast.” – Kerry Pellow, Laguna Beach High School

Alyssa Gomez, painting

“Alyssa makes good use of extracurricular opportunities to practice drawing and painting. She has developed strong observational skills, has the maturity to make use of constructive criticism, and has tried various media from charcoal, to pastels, painted” – Jill Christensen, Rosary Academy

Julia Hopkins, drawing, painting

“She has a good understanding of the elements of art and principles of design which she applies to her art. Julia particularly enjoys rendering objects and people in a realistic manner to tell a story.” – Barbara Chavez-Rock, Aliso Niguel High School

Alisa Huang, drawing, painting, mixed media

“To say that (Alisa) is one of the most outstanding art students I have ever taught would be an understatement. Her art is well thought out, inventive, imaginative, and beautifully created.” – Pamela Toomey, Cornelia Connelly School

Juan Islas, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Juan has a very special gift that comes from a love of art and a desire to create. He finds his spirit within his work and creates not only for himself, but often for others and their enjoyment.” – Kirby Piazza, Costa Mesa High School

Kayla Janes, drawing, painting

“Kayla is one of our school muses. Her love of art and her warmth and friendliness have attracted so many young people to appreciate art at our school” – Jan Colt, San Juan Hills High School

Ji Yoo Jeong, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital photography

“She is very innovative and progressive. She is very hard working and has a great passion for art.” – Brian Johnson, Valencia High School

Celine Kim, painting

“Celine has the heart of an artist who truly wants to better herself as an artist and contributor to our artistic community. She takes every critique to heart and is so motivated to consistently do better and make better work.” – Dana Kramer, University High School

Elisa Kim, drawing, painting, mixed media, printmaking

“Taking a stand against the wrong in society. She likes to be the voice for the silent, to use her artwork as a platform for those who do not have their own voice, even if they don’t know she is advocating for them.” – Anna Bloomfield, Crean Lutheran High School

Meanhie Kim, drawing, painting

“Mean Hie’s artistic talent comes so naturally to her, it is a part of who she is.” – Anna Bloomfield, Crean Lutheran High School

Kayo Kizaki, digital photography

“She studies the world through design oriented eyes. Patterns and repetitions of shapes fascinate Kayo.” – Rick Rickman, Magnolia High School

Alexandra Kline, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Alexandra risks. She will attempt something new and she seamlessly will re-work another piece, threading the techniques together.” – Keli Marchbank, Costa Mesa High School

Hanmin Ko, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Hanmin is very creative and original in her work. Her technical skills are second to none.” – Mike Thomas, Troy High School

Halan Le, drawing, painting

“Her current AP portfolio theme is the environmental issues that impact our world, which is not only interesting but artistically, she has shown a variety of mediums and approaches to the subject.” – Jeb Berry, Trabuco Hills High School

Nara Lee, painting

“Fearless, is the best way to describe Nara Lee. She has the most natural talent I have seen in my all my years as a teacher and artist.” – Jeb Berry, Trabuco Hills High School

Sang Joon Scott Lee, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Scott does an amazing job working with paint and illustration. He is very determined and diligent in his art work and does more than what is expected.” – Kristin Berardino, Servite High School

Yein Lee, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital photography

“She can draw from observation, but more importantly, she imagines in a unique way.” – John Gunnin, Corona del Mar High School

Ana Light, painting, mixed media

“As an artist, Ana is interested in figure painting, and is not afraid to tackle difficult forms or subject matter. As much as she is fascinated by the human form and its representation, she is also not afraid to look inward toward self-discovery.” – Christina Lee, Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School

Cameron Mannen, drawing, painting, digital photography, graphic design

“Cameron has an eye for composition and color. She has developed her computer graphics skills in my class.” – Greg Carlson, San Juan Hills High School

Laura McKelvey, drawing, painting, film-based photography

“I feel Laura is extremely unusual in her artistic style because of her commitment to blending contemporary art ideals with traditional studio art techniques. She often takes modern animation style imagery and then recreates them using beautiful painterly” – Paige Oden, Orange County School of the Arts

Lilliann Meek, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital photography

“Lilliann has a strong voice and vision to her artworks. She is not afraid to put herself out there in a vulnerable way to explore unique and controversial ideas.” – Marjorie Brown, Buena Park High School

Leah Messinger, digital photography, film-based photography

“Leah loves the black and white medium in digital photography. Her subject matter is often fashion and portraiture. Her voice is clean with a clear and multifaceted representation of her subjects style and personality.” – Jackie Peters, Arnold O. Beckman High School

Makenna Mitchell, painting, mixed media, graphic design

“(Makenna) is inherently artistic, very interested and understands composition and lighting well. She sees visual opportunities and has a great creative vision. Her black and white imagery is particularly strong. Conceptually, her ideas are interesting.” – Karen Poffenberger, St. Margaret's Episcopal School

Ethan Moll, mixed media

“Ethan's talent is both unique and special because he creates each beautiful multimedia piece not only with deeply layered and concentrated meaning, but also with 'green' materials.” – Lynn Magnin, Esperanza High School

Nicholas Moreno, drawing, painting

“Nicholas has the unique ability to apply the science of biology to his studies, creating life-like and realistic anatomic drawings of creatures that do not exist.” – Scott A. Hudson, Fullerton Union High School

Chloe Muller, digital photography

“I would describe (Chloe) artistically as a dreamer, with a strong imagination. Chloe is very observant. She will look around her house or wherever she is at and focus on an object or detail and envision an image from that one detail.” – David Vevia, Northwood High School

Emma Mun, drawing, painting, mixed media

“For a high school student she has displayed empathy for social injustices and world issues. This year she is also drawing attention to more personal social issues, including body types and the media's role in our self image.” – Anna Bloomfield, Crean Lutheran High School

Jordan Nevil, painting, ink work

“Her focus is placed on the surreal aspects of the character development and the fantasy of the moment in time the story takes place.” – Sherri Sieb, El Toro High School

Kaela Ngo, digital photography

“Kaela is a special student who loves photographing some of the simple and most beautiful aspects of life. She is very detail oriented and meticulous with her works.” – Preston Aldous, La Quinta High School

Thao Julie Nguyen, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Thao represents the heart of our art program - wherever there is an art activity, she throws herself into it. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious to both students and staff alike.” – Debbyie Jollineau, Orange High School

Trang Nguyen, drawing, painting

“Trang has a soft and delicate touch when it comes to drawing and painting. The imagery that she usually creates is not meant to confront the viewer or get a reaction out of the them. She tries to put her viewers at ease with her artwork.” – Adrian Lopez, Ocean View High School

Luis Ortiz, digital photography

“Luis is always looking for a challenge. He is not satisfied with ordinary work and excels at all he attempts. He is not afraid to try new techniques and experiment with his art.” – Maile Klein, El Modena High School

Elizabeth O'Toole, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Elizabeth uses her art making to explore the ideas of familial relationships, events, and traditions. She is interested in the intimate interactions between people and/or objects, and how to communicate those scenes to the viewer.” – Shannon Hartman, Mater Dei High School

Anne Parayil, digital photography

“Not only does Anne have talent, but more than the physical talent it is her work ethic that sets her apart from others in my classes. Anne puts in the work to create the best images she can.” – David Vevia, Northwood High School

Travis Petrovich, digital photography, film-based photography

“Travis seeks to break the ‘rules’of photography by working with expired film and darkroom paper. He releases the confines of what is a ‘good picture’ by focusing and glorifying the process of the creation.” – Yvette Marthell, Ocean View High School

Emily Plasencia, drawing, painting, graphic design

“Emily is reserved but her passion for art pours out in her art. She's able to capture the beauty and aesthetic in each element of design through detailed and choices of colors and shapes.” – Van-Trang Mai, La Quinta High School

Connor Price, drawing, painting

“Connor loves to branch out from the ordinary with his art work and loves to explore with new materials. He does not have a specific ‘style,’ but he loves realistic art works.” – Kristin Berardino, Servite High School

Nathaly Resendez, digital photography

“Nathaly is the classic mild mannered artist personality who shies away from any kind of notoriety. She is extremely talented and excited by discovery. She loves to experiment with light and how it plays on and effects visual context.” – Rick Rickman, Magnolia High School

Holly Reynolds, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Holly's artwork can always be seen around campus because it is always being put on display whether it is from my art class, a club that she is a part of, or helping out at a fundraiser by painting students faces.” – Adrian Lopez, Ocean View High School

Stephen Richards, drawing, mixed media, sewing/fashion illustration

“I have never see anything like his work. Although Stephen has been a high school art student for the past four years, he has sought to develop his own interpretations of projects as well as the explore of application of media.” – Sherri Sieb, El Toro High School

Nate Saldana, drawing

“Nate is a talented artist that cares about people. His empathy is shown in many of his pieces.” – Karen Hickman, Polaris High School

Zaid Shahbaz, digital photography, graphic design

“Zaid studies the business and learns new techniques regularly. His desire to be the best drives him to learn new aspects of art and computer software to continue to stay at the forefront of the art world.” – Rick Rickman, Magnolia High School

Camille Sheng, drawing, digital photography

“She loves to draw. She is free in her thinking.” – Peter Tiner, Capistrano Valley Christian Schools

Devoree Shields, drawing, painting, scratchboard

“Devoree’s choice of subjects always has depth which allows her audience to seek their own interpretation.” – Lisa Goins, Mission Viejo High School

Erin Shin, drawing, painting, concept design, animated arts

“Her work is both charming and personal. The pieces she makes reflect her perspective and vision and become a way for her to weigh in on the world around her.” – Patrick Williams, Orange County School of the Arts

Izabella Simpson, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Izzy is never seen without a sketchbook. She is both a fantastic artist and a wonderful person, and is a great example of what an Orange High Panther should be.” – Debbyie Jollineau, Orange High School

Carson Smith, digital photography

“With the temporary display of his photographs in the library and school hallways as well as a part of the ‘photo of the year’ permanent classroom display. Carson's work motivates and inspires all student photographers to improve their craft.” – Ryan Norgren, San Juan Hills High School

Hanna Stevins, drawing, painting

“Hanna is very interested in the human face. She comes back to it has her source of inspiration over and over again.” – Jill Christensen, Rosary Academy

Xinyue Cindy Tang, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Cindy is adroit at juxtaposing images that make the viewer stop and think. She thoughtfully chooses her medium to match her message.” – Dawn Hamby, Orange Lutheran High School

Evelyn Torres, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Evelyn is a stand out, she is talented beyond her years, she is a diligent worker and has breathtaking talent.” – Marjorie. Brown, Buena Park High School

Aurora Valenzuela, mixed media, digital photography, fashion design

“Aurora Valenzuela has a great love of fashion design, clothing, and creating clothing that is unique to her.” – Laura Murphy, Rosary Academy

Lizet Vargas, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Lizet strikes me as fearless as she readily delves into new territory with a unique sensibility. She loves to explore both content and technique, never staying safe by repeating solutions to problems.” – Helen Seigel, Godinez Fundamental High School

Tatiana Vazquez, mixed media, digital photography

“Tatiana's work stands out from others in the way she strives to achieve a look, feeling, or narrative. Her images seek something that are beyond her own understanding perhaps; she is after an intuition or 'gut' feeling that she always can't explain.” – Kirby Piazza, Costa Mesa High School

Sophia Wang, drawing, painting

“She is constantly looking at other artists for inspiration and experimenting with new media and techniques. Ultimately, Sophia is interested in architecture and the focus in her work right now revolves around architectural subjects.” – Brian Wall, Sunny Hills High School

Zixian “Chrome” Wang, drawing, painting, mixed media

“Chrome makes a case for the power and importance of art at a school where the art program is just beginning to flourish, and she is not afraid to offer a new perspective in a school where her background and cultural heritage is unique.” – Christina Lee, Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School

James Williams, drawing, painting, digital photography

“James is a master with oil and acrylic. His skills with portraiture are second to none.” – Mike Thomas, Troy High School

Kaleigh Wyckhouse, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital photography, graphic design

“She plans compositions that allow all the parts to work well as a whole. Because her ideas are unique, her artworks are conceptually compelling.” – Delaina Hofacre, Brea Olinda High School

Blia Yang, drawing, graphic design

“Blia has excellent design sense. Even though her technical prowess is unrivaled by any of my students, it is this design sense that I have always found to be her most impressive strength.” – Eric Keawekane, Los Amigos High School

Evelyn Young, drawing, painting, graphic design

“Evelyn has become interested in representing women of other cultures, specifically Indian women. Her work is mostly portraiture and she emphasizes their unique beauty through her infusion of highly saturated colors.” –Christine Adolph, Santa Margarita Catholic High School

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