When he stumbled upon some drawing tutorials on YouTube, Eliah Baez ’24 began copying sketches as a way to relieve stress. Since then, Baez has branched into chalk and pastel, among other mediums, transforming his hobby into a passion.
“It was a way for me to express my ideas and it was just fun, and comfortable. It offered me an escape… I used YouTube videos and copied the paintings because it was fun and I could take my mind off other things,” said Baez.
Since coming to Andover, Baez furthered his artistic passions by taking a multitude of art courses, including Art 305 (Painting I: Paint, Palette, and Process) and Art 505 (Advanced Drawing, Painting, and Mixed Media). Baez is currently enrolled in the advanced studio course Art 600, and commented on the specific assets of the course that helps him to develop as an artist.
“There’s a lot more resources and tools available to me. Also the teachers are super helpful in helping develop my skills. [The resources here] make art more accessible… [Because of Andover], my art is just more meaningful, and it looks better. My skills have improved because of the resources available,” said Baez.
This fall in Art 600, Baez felt a particular connection with an assignment to create a piece that was “comfortable” and another piece that was “uncomfortable.” According to Baez, he utilized his own identity in his pieces and challenged himself to use unfamiliar mediums and materials.
“For my comfortable piece I explored textures of trees using chalk and oil pastels, because that was a medium that I wasn’t too familiar with, but I wanted to learn, and then trees was a comfortable sort of theme. And the uncomfortable piece was a medium or theme that we didn’t know and wanted to explore, so I did Greek mythology and Greek gods, and I just recreated them to look more like me.” Baez said.
Out of all the pieces he created, Baez’s favorite is his “uncomfortable” piece. Although he had experience with creating nature themed pieces, he usually gravitates towards clay, pastels, charcoal and paint as his go-to art materials.
“I’m pretty proud of it because it was something that I hadn’t really done before. I never used chalk or oil. When I first started using the materials for the piece, it was very difficult. A lot of the pieces I made looked like a kindergartener did them, but I think I learned how to use the materials and work with them. The finished product…I was pretty happy with it,” said Baez.
Carly Hopkins ’24, a friend and Art 600 classmate, noted the relevance of his work with today’s world, and how his art style and techniques inspired her as an artist.
“[Baez] uses a variety of interesting mediums, and lately his Art 600 work has been oriented around nature, which is really cool with today’s political climate and move towards sustainability…. We both like to work with similar mediums when it comes to creating art, so he’ll have some techniques that are very interesting and inspiring. Like with his last artwork, he worked with pastels, and now, I want to try that out,” Hopkins said.