It is All About Light

Winter Photography Show

Over 60 students displayed their first semester work in the Winter Photography Exhibition held in the Palmer Center the last weekend of January. Classes participating in the exhibition included four sections of Photography 1, the first year IB students, and the AP Studio 2-D Design students. Throughout the first semester, Photography 1 students have explored camera operation and techniques with an emphasis on learning how to control the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for correct exposures. Time was also spent on studying the principles of design, learning how to post-process, and the mixing of traditional and digital media.

IB Visual Arts students exhibited artworks resulting from an investigation of Identity and Self-Portraiture. Students are required to explore different media and to experiment with new techniques, often combining media to create meaningful expression. As part of the IB curriculum, students write a rationale to further express their intent, their inspiration or influences, and to frame the development of the artwork. The students also exhibited pages from their Art Journal which document their creative process. The variety of work on display highlighted photography as well as painting and the creation of three-dimensional objects.

AP students work almost exclusively on developing their Range of Approaches/Breadth portfolio in the first months of their year. At the Winter Photography Exhibition, their work reflected their ability to use the principles of design and their camera to create well-composed photographs. For the next four months, the AP students will concentrate on their Sustained Investigations on one idea or concept in photography, pushing themselves both creatively and technically.

It was an impressive show, and students, faculty, and visitors came away with a new appreciation for the hard work and talents of TASIS photography students. The video below represents only 10% of the images and artwork displayed but represents the 2019 exhibition.

Here is a gallery of the photographs with the photographer’s name included.
(Click on each slide and use the arrow on the right to follow the story sequentially.)

Exquisite Corpse in Display in the Sahenk Center

For the past few years TASIS photography students have enjoyed the challenge and surprises that occur when working on an Exquisite Corpse project. The parlour game Exquisite Corpse developed from a Surrealist working of a game called “Consequences” in which participants would write a sentence in turn on a sheet of paper and fold the paper to conceal part of the writing before passing it on to the next contributor. The corpse of the title came from artists drawing body parts on a part of a sheet of paper and folding it to conceal the image from the next person. The results can be surprising and serendipitous.

In our Exquisite Corpse, the first student/player was given a phrase from which they were asked to produce an image. In turn that image was delivered to the next student and so on until each photographer had a chance to respond. Like a visual game of “Telephone,” participants add an image to the chain while only knowing the image that came before their own.

Each of our image chains are not a collection of photographs but, rather, an unfolding story that evolves from multiple points of view one image at a time. While the particulars of each photo can be interesting, the stories are found in the surprises, mystery, and disconnects that mark the trajectory of each narrative. The strange, illogical juxtapositions are what attracted the Surrealists to the form. The excitement of creation and collaboration is what drives us to seek what meaning, if any, will develop at the end of our chain.

Enjoy our new Exquisite Corpse stories created by the AP Photography students and their teachers.

Click on the title of each story and use the arrow on the right to follow the story sequentially.)

Student Artist Honored by the College Board

By Stanislava Kirsanova ‘19

By Stanislava Kirsanova ‘19

Congratulations to Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio student Stanislava Kirsanova ’19, who had a piece of artwork selected by the College Board for inclusion in the 2018–2019 AP Studio Art Exhibit. The exhibit is produced annually and aims to showcase outstanding artwork created by students who submitted portfolios for the AP Studio Art exam. Kirsanova's work was one of just 30 pieces chosen from the more than 60,000 portfolios submitted in the spring of 2018.

All artwork for the 2018–2019 exhibit was selected by a group of high school and college art educators with extensive experience in the AP Studio Art program. According to Wendy Free, the AP Program's Director of Arts Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, "Each work was selected because it represents the extremely high level of rigor, commitment, and accomplishment AP Studio Art students can achieve."  

Kirsanova earned a 5 on her exam, and Fine Arts Department Chair Martyn Dukes was very pleased to see her work recognized on a grander scale. “Having one of her pieces selected from the many, many thousands of artworks submitted each year for examination is a rare distinction and a tribute to this young artist’s growing abilities,” he said. “This success is the more remarkable with Stanislava simultaneously following both the AP course and the first year of the IB Visual Arts program.”

Gifted Artist Heading to Edinburgh to Study Illustration

Yu Ying Chan ’18 (China) was accepted to all five schools she applied to—University of Edinburgh, Kingston University London, University for the Creative Arts, University of Brighton, and University of the Arts London—and the promising young artist has decided to study Illustration at the University of Edinburgh. She is grateful to the TASIS college counselors for helping her achieve such outstanding results. “They helped me a lot with my personal statement and guided me through every step of the process,” she said.

In the art studio she has been a consistently gentle and graceful presence, displaying an extraordinary capacity for patience unequaled by her peers.”

– Fine Arts Department Chair Martyn Dukes

Fluent in Chinese and English, Yu Ying finished her three years at TASIS with a 3.88 GPA, scored a 4 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus exam, captured a perfect 5 on both the Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio and the Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio AP exams, and excelled in the Higher-Level Visual Arts International Baccalaureate (IB) course. Her dedication to and artistry in a number of disciplines earned her The Excellence in Art Award at the Class of 2018’s Commencement Ceremony.

“I have taught this year's recipient for three years and had the privilege of watching her grow and thrive,” said Fine Arts Department Chair Martyn Dukes when he presented the award. “In the art studio she has been a consistently gentle and graceful presence, displaying an extraordinary capacity for patience unequaled by her peers. As an accomplished young artist her artwork is quite simply exceptional, and it therefore comes as no surprise to learn that she has obtained a place to study Illustration in Edinburgh next September.”


Because Yu Ying took advantage of the wide range of artistic disciplines offered at TASIS—including photography, architecture, drawing, and painting—she will be able to skip the foundation year that is often required for art students in the United Kingdom. But to describe her as simply a visual artist would not do justice to the full scope of her talents, for she is also an excellent cello player and an accomplished pianist with an impressive performance record that belies her young age. In her senior year alone, she performed as a piano soloist at the “Music Without Borders: From Bach to Bernstein” concert at Lugano’s beautiful Palazzo dei Congressi Concert Hall and at the TASIS Spring Arts Festival Concert, where she was backed by the renowned Opera Viva Orchestra.

putting up the show_5.JPG

Yu Ying credits Mr. Dukes, Photography Teacher Kim Nelson, Music Director Samantha Forrest, and Piano Teacher Gloria De Piante Vicin for helping her attain her goals both as a visual and performing artist. “I had Mr. Dukes for all three years and was exposed to so many things in his classes, and I was really inspired by Ms. Nelson’s knowledge of modern photographers and artists and greatly appreciated the support she gave me throughout my senior year,” she said. “I also learned so much from Ms. Gloria over the past three years, and I’m grateful for the opportunity she and Ms. Forrest gave me to work with a professional orchestra. Ms. Forrest was also my first cello teacher and put so much effort into organizing our ensemble class and musical performances.”

Aside from her inspiring teachers, what will Yu Ying miss most about TASIS? “I think it’s going to be the [Ferit Şahenk] Arts Center,” she said. “Not counting my dorm, I spent more time in that building than anywhere else on campus.”

IB Visual Arts Exhibition: More Than What You See

Excerpts from an article by Shu Ye '18
Read the entire post here.

Every year at the beginning of March, TASIS students, teachers, and parents may notice artworks spread out around campus. If they go to the Palestrina, they will even simulate the experience of visiting a museum. These pieces of arts are all created by TASIS IB Visual Arts students. Following the requirements of the IB, these students must select some of their best artworks and arrange them into an exhibition. This final exhibition, in which students must also defend and articulate their purpose and intention in a written rationale, is the culmination of each student artist’s IB Visual Arts (IBVA) experience and accounts for 40 percent of the final grade.

Drawing and Painting, Photography, and Architecture & Design are the three most important media that TASIS IBVA students focus on. Some students may develop their skills in one particular field, but others might provide the viewers a combination of several media, connecting 2-dimensions to 3-dimensions. IB Higher Level (HL) students need to exhibit 8-11 artworks while Standard Level (SL) students need 5-7 artworks. The exhibition has to be well-designed with a theme that can connect ideas and inspirations behind all the works.

Frank Long, the IB Photography teacher, commented on this year’s exhibition: "This year's IBVA Exhibition demonstrated the wide variety of skills and ideas that come from the TASIS IB Visual Arts students. There were issue-based works and more traditional artworks along with a large body of architectural designs and models."

The Architecture & Design teacher, Mr. Mark Aeschliman, said, “This year's IB Visual Arts Exhibition was among the best in years for my six Architecture & Design students. Their models, drawings, and paintings were carefully crafted, selected, defended in writing, and exhibited with care. I especially appreciated everyone helping with the Palestrina setup, which is always stressful. The quality of the work was very high this year.” Mr. Aeschliman and all the other art teachers helped students deliver their artwork to the Palestrina, mount models on pedestals, hang framed and unframed work, attach lights and labels, and then, a mere 62 hours later, take it all down and store it in the Şahenk Fine Arts Center. Mr. Aeschliman and all the other art teachers helped students deliver their artwork to the Palestrina, mount models on pedestals, hang framed and unframed work, attach lights and labels, and then, a mere 62 hours later, take it all down and store it in the Şahenk Fine Arts Center.