Junior Flynn Thomas is painting murals on the walls of the Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) hallway this month.
The STEM hallway is already adorned with various artworks from years past. In the past, Thomas has done a small mural in the freshman study hall per art teacher Michael DeNoma’s request.
At the beginning of the school year, Thomas asked DeNoma if he could paint the white wall in the STEM hallway because his art would be “more permanent there.” As long as Thomas provided his own materials, he was approved and ready to tackle the mural.
Thomas began the mural on the white wall, entitled “An Art Student in High School,” during Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) testing week. Because Thomas had already met the graduation requirements for the SBA, he wasn’t required to take the tests and instead came to school early to work on the mural.
After the four days of SBA testing that took place, Thomas completed “An Art Student in High School,” inspired by an art assignment he did last semester. The assignment was to create a perspective portrait of the STEM hallway which Thomas then turned into a self-portrait. His work depicts the white walls broken up into space and safety signs to represent how art students are sometimes misunderstood.
“As an art student if you tell any sane person that you want to make graphic novels and draw for the rest of your life, they’re like ‘Oh, aren’t you afraid you’re going to be sitting the street with no money?’ Yes, I’m terrified of that but I believe in myself enough to be able to jump if I want to into this beautiful, vast, colorful place,” Thomas said.
Though he faces some doubt from others, Thomas enjoys the risk of art. Rather than catering to the general public, he works with the goal of being able to properly express himself.
“The reason why I kept the wall white around it was because that’s how it was originally. That’s the school wall. I just made it like it was breaking up into the realm of thought and art and creativity and I put myself there because that’s how I feel about it,” he said.
His second mural is currently in progress and is being completed on a blue wall in the STEM hallway. It captures the “allure of planets” with atmosphere and color that Thomas likes.
“I wanted to do one inspiration piece but I also wanted to do one that shows who I am as a person, what goes on in my head, what I can think of,” Thomas said.
The piece, still untitled, acts as a tribute to a comic series that Thomas is also developing. The comic revolves around a small group of fighters who travel across space to small planets and help people.
“It’s fun to imagine it and sort of bring it to life on the wall. I’ve sort of fallen in love with the characters,” he said.
Thomas encourages students to ask DeNoma for further instruction if they’re interested in doing mural as well. However, the art pieces that students propose should be timeless if they wish to make it a part of the school.
Recently, Thomas misses seeing art with feeling because he feels most art forms are temporary. He believes it can be combatted by putting one’s personal essence into their art.
“The wall doesn’t represent your grade or how much you’re going to pursue art, it just sort of represents you,” Thomas said. “If you’re going to paint something, make it something you care about, not just what you think other people are going to look at and go, ‘Oh yeah, I like that thing.’”