Students bring ‘frosh’ perspective to artwork



Ashley Stanek ’19 and Ashely Straub ’19

For Freshmen Ashley Straub and Ashley Stanek, art has begun to mean something new. Though the girls sketch on their own, they have found that Marian offers more ways of creative expression than they ever imagined. 

In this case, those with the same name think alike. According to Art I teacher Mr. Jeremy Cisco, both Ashleys have shown amazing skill. “It’s just interesting to me that they both have the same level of craftsmanship,” Cisco said. “It’s just a very high level of craftsmanship you don’t see in Art I. It’s not something that you teach; it’s something they just bring to the table.”

Straub once took lessons with a Gretna artist, and her lessons were enjoyable. “… It’d be very realistic, but here at Marian it’s broadened my view of all the mediums,” Straub said.

For Stanek, a feature of a Marian art class isn’t just the mediums. “For me, it’s hard to make art when I don’t have a speci c project that’s given to me. That’s why I like art class a lot … I’m given something, and I can build [on it,]” she said.

Stanek’s passion for taking art to the next level hasn’t gone unnoticed. “Stanek is very creative in her use of materials,” Cisco said. When Cisco told his students to create an animal or object out of classroom materials, many students painted colored pencils or rulers into the shape they wanted. Stanek used actual pencil shavings to create the tails of an elegant peacock.

Despite the challenges, Stanek and Straub nd joy in taking an art class. “… I don’t focus on homework when I’m doing art. It’s a time to do what you want,” Straub said. “For me, it’s a way to relax and have fun, to get away from things that overtake my life.”

Oddly enough, Art I is one of the few classes that the girls, who refer to themselves as “Ashley squared,” do not have in common. They sit together in several of their six shared classes and homeroom, which has caused some difficulties.

“It is cool to have Ashley squared in most classes,” Straub said. “Both being Ashley S caused a little confusion in the beginning of the year, but now I think everything is well … It is usually hair color that separates us.”

It is the middle of second semester, and the girls easily stand out on their own, especially in their respective art classes. Over the months, art class has also begun to stand out to them.

“It’s just different from any other kind of school subject, because it’s using all these different materials,” Stanek said. “Like [with] Math, you always have this way of doing something, and you have to do it that way, and there’s a right or wrong. Whereas with art, there’s no wrong.”

Straub has appreciated what Marian’s Art I class has given her. “I think it is important to branch out because then you can gure out what kind of artist you are,” Straub said. “When an artist branches out, they can experi- ence their own style and what suits them.”

Stanek and Straub have used their talent in other academic areas. Recently, they created 3-D objects for a presentation after reading “Outcasts United” in their Block F Honors Composition and Literature class. Stanek drew custom Food Stamp cards to go with her project on what services refugees can use in America, and Straub created a woman in a burka to represent Jordanian women’s role in society.

The two talented freshmen plan on focusing their skills in Art II and beyond. “Seeing the portraits, I cannot wait to be able to do that,” Stanek said. “Marian is able to shape you, and I want to do that, and I want it to look amazing. And I know Marian is going to help me with that.”

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