By Matthew Ryan Miramontes – 11th Grade, Cornell High School
At first glance, the Youth Open Studio at The Andy Warhol Museum may seem like any other art studio in Pittsburgh. After visiting the studio on July 15th, I can say that each visitor to the studio walks away with a unique and different experience. Every Wednesday evening from 4:00 – 8:00 pm throughout the summer, the museum offers a unique program for teens to hang out and make art in a truly inspiring space.
When I first entered the studio, I was greeted by several teens working on computers before I even had a chance to close the door. I noticed many hanging aprons stained by hundreds of different colors of paint, as well as the giant printing press that has been used a thousand times before. An eclectic mix of punk, drone, and rap music blasted as the student artists worked diligently on their pieces.
To create unique works of art, most of the artists at Youth Open Studio use Warhol’s famous silkscreen process, which transfers prints to paper, clothing, or any other surface, or Photoshop to experiment with different color or design ideas. Silkscreening and Photoshop help the artists to make their designs come alive. For example, one participant Jermalle created a piece called “Lemonhead,” an 80’s-90’s skater-style print with neon yellow and green contrasts. Jermalle was inspired by the art created for skate festivals and concert posters that uses the same style. I was impressed with the sheer creativity of the artists; no single piece was the same. Pieces ranged from black and white, new and colorful looking, comedic, and even doodle-style. The artwork had been used for shirts, posters, and CD covers.
The studio is available to any teen with an idea, especially those who do not have the means to print their designs at home. Prints can be made for personal use, advertisement, or any other purpose. Even if artists don’t have much print-making experience, the mentors at Youth Open Studio are down-to-earth and always willing to help bring new ideas to life. Heather White, one of the studio’s mentors, helps organize art shows and contributes to some of the museum’s summer camps, but most of the time, teens help each other as they are usually working on the same type of project.
Youth Open Studio at The Andy Warhol Museum is an experience like no other, which allows young artists to explore what they want to convey to the world. Many artists regularly attend sessions at the studio throughout the summer because of the creative freedom it offers. No single idea can be put down because it is too crazy or off the wall – in fact, these are the ideas that get pushed to the top of the priority list. The Youth Open Studio is a great way to get art into the world, one step at a time.
Matthew Ryan Miramontes is an 11th grader in Cornell High School. He resides in Neville Island. Matthew writes for his school newspaper and wants to write as a journalist for a major magazine one day. He is interested in music and movies.