District News


Award-winner Annalise Barber: "All of my classes influence my art."

Posted on: December 8, 2015

This fall 135 students from 44 high schools competed for top honors in the College of Mount St. Joseph's Selections 2015 art competition. Finneytown High School junior Annalise Barber was one of just four students -- two seniors, two juniors -- to win the top award, a scholarship renewable for four years. Recently Annalise sat down to talk about why she makes art and what inspires her.

How important is art to you, Annalise?

I've always done art, mostly for my own enjoyment. My art teacher, Mrs. Althoff, said art is almost like a prayer. That sort of sums it up. It's creativity, it's communication. It's a reflection of society and yourself.

What was your first art project?

I'd make little books as a kid and then I'd make small illustrations for them. I remember sitting in Frisch's with those kids' menu placemats you could color on, and my mom drew a horse for me. I remember thinking that I wanted to be that good.

Was there one art project that was the turning point for you?

I've always loved art, but I started to think I might be good at it in sixth grade at Whitaker. We learned about different types of art and the different types of materials -- oil pastels, colored pencils -- and different effects, like shadow and light. Mrs. Hubbard showed me that I could take what was in my head and put it on paper.

So what do you like to paint?

It changes. When I was younger, I really liked to draw fairies. Now I prefer to draw people rather than landscapes, but both of them are difficult because of the shading.

What's your current project?

I'm working on illustrations for a children's book. A friend introduced me to the author. I think I'm doing about 20 pictures, and I've put a lot of thought into it. When I'm working on my own art, it's what's inside of me. But for this, I'm expressing another person's thoughts.

Tell us what kind of working conditions you like.

I don't work outside. I like big table spaces for all of my work -- I don't like to feel closed in. I also like natural light. I can work in the morning, I can work late at night. It's whenever I'm inspired. And I don't like comparing my art with anyone else's.

How long have you gone to Finneytown?

I've gone here since kindergarten. It's a special place. There are a lot of good people here. All of the art teachers here have inspired me, and it's a very connected community.

So which of your classes have informed your art?

All of my classes influence my art. In science, you have to learn how things operate in order to accurately show them functioning. In math, I've learned a lot about measuring and knowing how things are divided, like the face. I also use many facts that I learn from psychology. Everything influences art because art is a reflection of so many things.

Are you thinking about what you'd like to do professionally?

I don't really know what I'm going to do. What I'd like is to devote more of my time to my art -- which is difficult because I'm a junior! There's no break for art. I wake up, go to band, go to school, stay after school for activities, go home, do my homework and go to sleep.

Your work is very evocative. What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about it?

It was just a sketch, but someone came up to me and said it inspired them. I felt humbled, and shocked. People tell me that something looks nice, but they usually don't tell me how it affected their life.

Do you give your art as gifts?

Not usually because it's very personal for me. It's hard to let go.