Student Spotlight: Taryn Wiens ’09

Taryn Wiens ’09 spent Fall Term of her Upper year straying from the “normal” Andover path to conduct a serious pursuit of the arts. Studying mainly painting and sculpting, Wiens explored and expanded her artistic potential at an art school in California called Oxbow. Now, back at Andover, Wiens spends much of her free time working on her artwork, and she is taking AP Studio Art (Art 500). Wiens gave the Phillipian her thoughts and advice, and shared her artistic experiences from both Andover and Oxbow. Q: Explain your art. I love all sorts of art, but mostly painting and making kinetic sculptures and sculptures involving time. Q: How did you start seriously pursuing art? I always loved art as a kid and went to art camps every summer. Later on, it kind of transformed into a more central part of my life. Q: What do you like to paint or sculpt? Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of painted portraits. Speaking more generally, however, I like to start with an idea or a concept and work through it with a painting, sculpture, photo etc. I try to use art to convey thoughts and ideas. For me, that’s what art is—a manifestation of ideas. Q: Does painting or sculpting help you get through the stress of Phillips Academy? I basically live in the painting studio because of its relaxing environment. I usually do most of my work there and when I’m not doing that in the studio, I’m painting or sculpting as a stress release. Andover is so hard because you have to think in a linear and logical way almost all of the time, making it more difficult to be creative. So, whenever I can, I try to challenge the Andover environment. Q: How does Oxbow compare to Phillips Academy? Oxbow was definitely hard at the beginning because I was so used to thinking in an Andover style: logically and scientifically. The people at Oxbow basically taught me a new way to think. Their style was much more artistic, open and free compared to Andover’s. Q: Do you want to continue pursuing art outside of high school, or as a career? I’d really like to go to a liberal arts college and double major in art and psychology, or maybe do a duel degree program with Tufts/Museum of Fine Arts. It’s five year program and at the end, you receive two degrees: a Bachelor’s and Bachelor of Fine Arts. Q: How is Phillips Academy accommodating to your artistic needs/interests? PA does have good studio spaces and inspiring teachers. However, Andover’s not an arts school, so it isn’t a community of people thinking, living and making together, all trying to reach a similar goal, which helps a lot when it comes to creating art. Q: What advice would you give to aspiring artists at Phillips Academy? If you’re seriously interested in visual arts, go to Oxbow. Also, if you love being an artist, do it, even if it’s not what colleges want to see. Sometimes, you have to work outside the system and do what you want. Also, don’t let your art be inhibited while not taking an actual art class. The arts have to be pursued outside of the classroom. Q: Where can your work be seen on campus? I have three paintings up near the Polk Studio—some of my favorites. I am also the art and photo editor of Backtracks so I tend to fill any extra space with my work.