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Artistic futures on their horizons

Bridget Grandas and Miles Wangensteen, Woodbury High School students, are well on their way to becoming master artists after both received honors from the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards.

"I think, as an art teacher, (it's) a very personal award for them because it's a chance for them to decide which painting they think is the very best, it shows their talent and it shows their personality," WHS art teacher, Karen Seashore, said. "They are outstanding art students, it's fun to watch them get to this point."

Both Grandas, who received a Silver Key award, and Wangensteen, who received a Gold Key award, will have their paintings on display at the 2009 Minnesota Scholastic Art Exhibition at the College of Art and Design from Jan. 23 through Feb. 22.

In addition to receiving the Gold Key award and being on display at the state exhibition, Wangensteen was also named best in show which qualifies him to be the only one representing Minnesota at the National Art Exhibition this June in New York City for a chance to win scholarships.

"I didn't quite grasp it for a while that I am actually going to Nationals," Wangensteen said. "It's really exciting."

Both Grandas and Wangensteen have been artists for some time. Wangensteen said it all started when he started drawing whatever came into his head.

" I've always liked history and it all kind of started when I started drawing whatever I thought about," he said. "Originally I just saw it as entertainment, when I got bored or got done with homework, and it's just gone up from there."

Wangensteen said it was the artist Angust McBride that really inspired him to start pursuing art and creating masterpieces of what he saw.

"He's the one who made me want to actually paint stuff instead of just doodling in my sketch book," he said. "At first my inspiration was history, and then I just started doing my own thing and whatever suited me at the time; usually its just trying to make something that expresses a certain mood."

Grandas' love of art was inspired by a different mentor, her parents, who continued to buy her art sets growing up.

"I would just paint or draw when I was bored and I really liked it," she said.

Over the years Grandas became increasingly interested in the impressionist art of some of the greats, such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.

"In painting, I just like the way the colors blend and the way you work with them," she said. "My inspiration is just everyday, things that I see, different colors you see and things like that."

Unlike other impressionist artists though, Grandas said she doesn't try to express any underlying meanings in her work.

"I wouldn't say that I necessarily try to express a certain meaning, I kind of go for whatever I like at the time or what I feel like," she said.

Both Grandas and Wangensteen said the most difficult thing about being an artist is getting that first spark or that first flash of inspiration.

"Sometimes its hard to be inspired, but once you get a idea everything kind of works out," Grandas said. "It's hard to force something, it's easier when you really have an inspiration or an idea and you really go for it."

They already have their sights on their future, Grandas with graphic design and Wangensteen with game design, because art is something that they are passionate about and want to stay involved in.

"What I like about art is that it gives you another outlet to express yourself and it's different from anything else you do," Grandas said.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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