In the late Summer of 2022 I had the opportunity to see a roller derby friend’s artwork featured in the Denton ISD Faculty Art Show, ‘Educators Who Inspire.’ I enjoyed getting to support all of the artists who partook in the event, spanning between July 29th to August 27th, 2022. It was hosted at the UNT CoLAB off the square of Denton, TX.
The UNT CoLAB is a delightful and quaint space within the square that functions as a Learning Lab for students. They offer a variety of events and exhibitions with the local community including art, film, and photography showcases among many other uses for the place. There is also a boutique here for Denton and UNT inspired goodies that make great gifts for visitors or people who call this place home.
My friend who was in the show is the amazing arts educator Stacy Bzdok teaching at Cross Oaks Elementary. She created a beautiful piece entitled ‘Prairie’ in 2021. It is 20” wide by 10” tall, featuring what evokes the idea of looking through barbed wire at the bright and colourful prairie lands stretched out touching the skies above. It feels so warm and comforting, but also abstract and ethereal to behold!
This first piece of the show was a thrilling one. Metallic paints were used, feeling like they painted directly with mustard, ketchup, and food remains! It ruled! (Dashia Richey – ‘The Leftovers’ 2022 – Mixed Media – Braswell High School)
This piece is glorious. I LOVE the complementary colours, the gold metallic paint sprucing it up, etc. It is so delightful and visually tasty to look at. The artist’s paint pour technique is also incredible. (Dashia Richey, ‘Turquoise’ – 2022- Mixed Media – Braswell High School)
This one was incredible. The texture and feel of the greatness within these canyon walls was immense. The cacti in the shadow are so neat too! A lot of depth was achieved in the greys of this piece. The square brushstrokes also feel superb and fit right in with this craggy area. ( Julia Caswell Freund – ‘Santa Elena’ – 2021 – Acrylic – Braswell High School
Loved this one especially the lettering / words throughout the background. Very nice. (Kerrie Shue – ‘ Girl Power ‘ – 2022 – Acrylic – Bette Myers Middle School)
The Broken System – how do we fix it? Wish I had remembered to snap the name of the artist for this one. Loved it though. Really fits the mood of 2022 and beyond.
This one astounded me. I loved it a lot. The tenacity that it takes to create such a thing shows through its construction. It is evocative of power, and patience. (Etienne Illy – ‘Harnessed Energy’ – – 2019 – Cast Cement and Forged Steel – Denton High School)
I adore the colours and shape designed here. So cool, and the use of negative space is rather interesting too! (Nickolai Lanier – ‘Ebenezer’ – 2019 – Watercolor – Navo Middle School)
Denton Court House on the Square! The colours in this were phenomenal and their use of doing watercolour washes to fill the pyrographed art. The gouache for the sky. Its beautiful. Stunning work that breathes “TEXAS”! (Jeremy Sale ‘El Castillo (Denton Courthouse)’ – 2018 – Pyrography, watercolor, gouache – Guyer High School)
This was one of the most impressive pieces of work at the entire show. This piece blew me away because pyrography is so cool! Wow! (Jeramy Sale – ‘Izabella in the Hands of Hendrix’ – 2022 – Guyer High School)
Just incredible. More pyrography from Jeremy Sale. My late grandmother would have loved to see this piece, she loved Charlie Chaplin. (Jeremy Sale – ‘The Tramp’ – 2017 – Pyrography – Guyer High School)
Boots! Loved this. Felt down home and comfortable. (Tiffany Fitzsimmons, ‘Worn In’ – 2020 – Gouache – Guyer High School)
The experimental nature of this piece blew me away. The amount of layering provides depth in a flat style. (James Rosin – ‘Untitled’ – 2020 – Mixed Media – Denton High School)
The Jellyfish and the Switch Birds here were incredible. I was really taken aback by both. They suited each other so well and the jellyfish’s colours impressed me a lot. The design elements of the Switch Birds (below) are also so soothing like water. (Jennifer Diaz, ‘Jellyfish’, 2021, Pecan Creek Elementary) & (Jodi Dallas, ‘Switch Birds’, 2022, Oil on Canvas, McNair Elementary)
Rodan! This was an incredible piece! As a Godzilla & kaiju fan I just loved it so much. Instantly a favourite within the entire show. He is a proud pterodactyl monster. (Kennedy Lovette, ‘Rodan’, 2021, Cording coil, yarn scraps, ribbon, Virtual Academy)
GODZILLA!! Enough said. (Kennedy Lovette, ‘Godzilla’, 2021, Cording coil, yarn scraps, ribbon, Virtual Academy)
This one blew me away. Just LOVE it! The 3-dimensionality to it is also fantastic and makes it really stand out. (Rhiannon Laxalt, ‘Duality’ – 2022 – Mixed Media – Ginnings Elementary)
This one was incredible, I adored how it was done on black paper with the pink paint. The scratching away to reveal the tar paper underneath is incredible. The mixing with the pink, I just imagine this process was so unique and fun. Great work. Stunning colours. (Tiffany Fitzsimmons, ‘Self Portrait’ – 2020 – Colored pencil, spray paint on tar paper) – Guyer High School)
This one was just so stunning and honestly the most impressive piece because of the use of optical illusion to create an image. This stuff astounds me cuz I would never know where to start with something as cool as this. Had a cool effect when you walked around it too. (Kiba Jacobson, ‘Elek’ – 2021 – 8 MM Black and White Dice – Braswell High School)
This one’s colours and the point of view looking directly down at a succulent astounded me. It’s so tasty visually to look at! (Piper Santillan – ‘Succulent #3’ – 2020 – Acrylic – Guyer High School)
I missed out on getting the artist’s info for this one, there was too many people near it and I was trying to be covid-safe that day. Willie Nelson by (unknown artist) and their style was just SUPERB. The way you could visually see the squarish strokes from the brush? I love it. The clear build up bringing the piece to life is just stunning.
Another that was too crowded and I was not able to stay long enough to get the artist’s info, my apologies. Anyways, this piece was awesome – looked like markers and was very peaceful and made me want to go camping again.
This one RULED! I love it! Smash Bros. is a hugely important series of games to me, I just love the characters all coming together and grew up on Nintendo so this piece was near and dear to my heart. Great work and superb stylization into the hieroglyphics style. (Matthew Sallack – ‘ Smash Bros Hieroglyphics’ – Pencil, Digital Color Print – McMath Middle School)
The colours? The brushstrokes visible? Fantastic. I love it so much. Also the mood is nice, and the prominence of YELLOW makes me very happy. I love yellow. ( Christian Reid – ‘At the Beach’ – Oil on Canvas – Guyer High School)
Another one that was too crowded to get the info for. Sorry folks. This one was great though, featuring a floral subject matter in an abstract manner. The orange/blue complementary colour palette is great too.
This is my favourite piece from the entire show. ‘In June I Grew Big’ by Anna Talley (Acrylic, coloured pencil – Guyer High School) BLEW me away. I just LOVE this lil grub!!!!! Powerful…..and PINK!
This pottery was so nice. I loved the flatness on the side of the rounded pot, it is unique and would feel nice in your hands I bet. (Elizabeth Cook – ‘Mini Amoeba’ – 2019 – Porcelain – Joe Dale Sparks Campus)
This pottery was so incredible, I am a sucker for anything with big eyes!!!! (Kiba Jacobson, ‘Back to the Earth’ – 2022 – Ceramic / Hand Built – Braswell High School)
This was another crowded area so I could not get the artist’s info. I love their work though, the emotion in this woman is just incredible. The work of the shadows too. Wow.
Red Panda! Apologies for missing the artist’s name. Beautiful pencil work.
I really adored this one’s use of negative space with the two canvas being separate but making sort of a window frame we are looking through at this scene. It’s really nice. The scene itself is beautifully rendered. Missed the artist’s name because it was a busy area, and I was trying to keep covid safe
This piece’s colours were so vibrant and fun. Loved it! Jumping out of the canvas at us.
(Jacqueline Davis, ‘Coneflowers’ – Mixed Media on Canvas – Fred Moore High School)
Another that was in a crowded area. This piece was brilliant and I adored their way of shaping the land with the cloud like structures. It feels like if you cut a geode open and look at the earth within.
This artist was incredible with the way they handled the folds of the fabric, creating interesting compositions within the bottles they filled up. Very unique observations. (Todd Ford – ‘Orange Crush’ – 2022 – Oil on Canvas)
Another great piece from Todd Ford. (Todd Ford – ‘Embrace the Negative’ – 2022 – Oil on Canvas )
This was a great piece! I love the colours!!! VERY pop art, featuring Kurt Cobain!
(John Mooney – ‘Kurt’ – 2021 – Acrylic – Guyer High School)
Such a fun piece. (Piper Santilian – ‘Got Meat?’ – 2021 – Mixed Media – Guyer High School)
This wood like piece with very cool elements put over top of it is so nice! I love the greens especially.
Cute and beautiful piece! I love the sisterly love and loyalty present in the piece. The words are very cute and a nice touch too. (Kerrie Shue – ‘Sisters’ – 2022 – Acrylic – Bette Myers Middle School)
This piece is so intensely amazing! It blew me away! I love all things nature so this ‘Divine Creation’ piece was so stunning. Love it. (J. Carol Stoecker – ‘Divine Creation’ – 2022 – Oil – Harpool Middle School)
Another piece I was not able to get the artist info on. My apologies. This piece was so nice though, I really love the use of shapes and colour. The red is stunning peaking through on little parts.
One last piece that struck me but I was unable to get a closer look at the artist name due to the crowd during the event.
Overall the art show was a fantastic feature of the talent within Denton ISD’s faculty. It was great seeing so many different types of styles, mediums, and passions present in each piece. I highly recommend checking out any of the events featured in the future at UNT CoLAB too, the venue was a great place to visit! I hope to catch more feature showings there in the future!
Thanks for reading as always.