Contursi Named Artist of the Week by the OC Register

NikkaBy: JEBB HARRIS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

The Orange County Register profiles this week’s artist of the week, JSerra senior and Ladera Ranch resident, Nikka Contursi.

What art form(s) do you work in? Photography

How did you get involved in photography? I started taking pictures at my parents’ Christmas parties when I was about 4 years old. The angles were pretty hilarious – mostly shots of headless guests, legs and shoes. After that, I put down the disposable camera for a while until I borrowed my mom’s Nikon N2000 in middle school, and I haven’t put it down since!

What is your favorite work of art/photograph? Who is your favorite artist/photographer? I have loved Richard Avedon’s “Dovima With Elephants” since I was about 12, and it’s still one of my favorites. Something about the photograph just always seems to draw my attention. I admire so many photographers’ work, but to name a few: Avedon, Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter, Hugh Lippe, Arthur Elgort and Annie Leibovitz.

Who have been your influences? Did you have a mentor in your development as an artist? If so, how did they help you? Ms. Stehney, photography instructor at JSerra, has inspired me since the day I stepped foot in her classroom during my sophomore year. She has accomplished a wide range of work during her very successful career, and stories of her travels and work inspire me to continue shooting. I would not be where I am today without her enthusiasm and constant encouragement. She treats me like a professional rather than just a teenage student. She has continued to help me grow.

What inspires you? During the creative process I can be inspired by anything, but if I am looking for inspiration, I often go to couture and street fashion, people-watching and pop culture.

Other than photography, are you involved in any other activities?  If so, what are they? I am on the varsity tennis team at JSerra. I also volunteer by helping young children learn the fundamentals of tennis, and I work on my online portfolio:nikkaacontursii.tumblr.com.

What do you get out of taking pictures? I am a very visual person, so photography allows me to express my ideas without speaking. It’s also lots of fun because there are no rules and I’m able to create whatever I want. Photography also gives me a break from the real world. I can sit on my computer for hours editing photographs and never get bored. It’s something that brings me happiness.

How do the arts figure into your long-term goals? I hope to attend either Parsons in New York City or Academy of Art in San Francisco. I’d also like to spend a year studying abroad. My ultimate goal as of now is to become a fashion photographer and travel the world doing what I love.

What is the best advice you have received? Some of the best advice I have received has come from my parents. My mom and dad have been my support system since Day One, always catching me when I fall, and constantly telling me to never stop pursuing my dreams and not to let anyone get in my way. I don’t know what I would do without all of their continuous support.

Do you have any other thoughts about being a photographer that you would like to share with us? Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back in pursuing your dreams, shoot every single day and have fun doing what you love!

JSerra Students Win Pageant of the Masters Junior Art Contest

photo%201-1Congratulations to the Visual Arts students that were juried into the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts Junior Art Show. Our three students that made the show were sophomores Ethan Worden, Megan Lasken and senior Noah Mudd.
We also congratulate Noah Mudd for winning first place in his junior division/category.
” I am so proud of the hard work these students put in to winn this prestigious award”, said  Nancy Harrell, Artist In Residence Director. The Festival runs through the end of August to view all the great work.

JSerra International Student Arranges Song for Choir’s Farewell Concert

AndrewBy Lauren Shepherd, OC Register 

JSerra Catholic High School’s first graduating international student Seung Hyun (Andrew) Lee, from Seoul, South Korea, has been teaching his fellow chamber singers his own arrangement of a Korean folk song for choir’s Spring Farewell Concert. Four years ago, Lee and his family searched for the right school in Southern California that would give him a unique high school experience.

“When I saw that JSerra was accepting international students I took the opportunity,” Lee said. He started his freshman year of high school at JSerra with a love for music and a prodigal talent that would impress his fellow chamber singers.

“It’s really interesting to know that someone so young can be so musically inclined,” said JSerra sophomore and first-year chamber singer, Ian von Gremp. “It’s nice to know that my friend Andrew arranged it,”

Lee became president of the chamber choir, and with his leadership taught his fellow chamber singers the ancient Korean folk song, “Arirang,” which he arranged to fit his own interpretation of its meaning.

“Andrew has always been our leader,” junior and third year chamber singer, Annie Pfost said. “Choir is like a family and Andrew is like the cool big brother.”

“Arirang,” a song handed down through many generations, was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, in December.

At last year’s Spring Concert, Renée Bondi, Christian inspiration singer and mother to JSerra chamber singer, Daniel Bondi, told Lee about her concert in Korea. She said when she sang “Arirang” for the finale, everyone there began to sing along with her. With that motivation, Lee decided to arrange “Arirang” for his high school choir.

To read the complete article click here.

JSerra Theater Department Heads to Scotland for Nationally Acclaimed Festival

Theater*A Press Release from JSerra Catholic High School

JSerra Catholic High School’s Theater Department have been nominated by the South Coast Reparatory to perform in Scotland.

JSerra was chosen to participate after a rigorous selection process involving a review by the American High School Theatre Festival’s Board of Advisors and a group of renowned college theatre professionals.

“I am so thrilled that our students have been given this opportunity to showcase their talents on a larger, global stage. I am very proud of Deborah Marley, our students and our department,” said JSerra Fine Arts Director Nancy Harrell.

Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh plays host to the largest arts festival in the world. The Fringe Festival, which takes place every August for three weeks, features performances from around the globe.

“To be recognized by the American High School Theatre Festival in my first year with JSerra is a great honor. I have been blessed by a very talented and dedicated group of students who invest so much into their work. It truly is a pleasure to instruct and direct them,” said JSerra Theatre Director Deborah Marley. “We have the chance to bring our work to the world stage is beyond any of our imaginations. The JSerra actors will get a once in a life time chance to perform in front of thousands of people and take part in the best theatre festival in the world.

The students will travel to Scotland in August of 2014 to perform a play of their choice, on the world stage at The Fringe Festival.

The theatre department is currently performing Alice in Wonderland in the JSerra Black Box Theatre. Performance dates are May 10-12, tickets may be purchased at the cashier’s office.

Winter Showcase Attracts the Masses

482810_536951743011273_986345173_nBy: Nancy Harrell, Artist in Residence Director

The Artist In Residence program hosted their annual Winter Showcase at SOKA University this February. The showcase highlighted many of the 750 students that participate in the arts. The audience of over 600 was enthusiastic in receiving the performances, and helped make the evening a great success.

The student performances were classic, fun, experimental, and emotional. Performances included everything from classical ballet pieces performed using New York Ballet choreography, to the choir ending the evening with a beautiful rendition of ‘The Lord Bless you and Keep You,’ while dancers performed a sacred dance piece to the music.

Choir also brought down the house with their version of Fun’s ‘Some Nights’. Instrumental music showed off their abilities with our string ensemble and our steel drum band bringing the audience to their feet. The theater department opened the show with ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business,’ and concluded with a stage combat scene from Romeo and Juliet.

Visual Arts and Broadcast Journalism students were well represented with a visual arts show and reception in the lobby before the performances began. Broadcast Journalism presented a wonderful piece showing the best of The Lion Report, which showed the tremendous growth our students have experienced this year with the implementation of our new Broadcast Journalism program.

The evening highlighted what a presence the visual and performing arts have on campus, and it continues to grow.

View the album from the night’s performances on Facebook. 

Artists in Residence Hosts Children’s Book Illustrator

J.H. Everett with Author Isabel J at a book signing for Izzy and the Candy Palace

JSerra’s Artists in Residence program hosts children’s book illustrator J.H. Everett, to speak on his latest endeavor,  Izzy and the Candy Palace. The speakers series will be hosted in the JSerra Center room at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8

Copies of the book will be available for sale and all of the proceeds will be donated to the Kid’s Cafe Program of Second Harvest.

Biography J.H. Everett

J.H. Everett is a visual storyteller, writer, and creativity expert. He holds a Ph.D in Early Modern European and World History from the University of California, Irvine.

Though he is now known for his work in children’s books, he has worked as a professional musician, composer, playwright, theater director, artist, teacher, and actor. He has created work for companies such as Christy Ottaviano/ Henry Holt Publishing, Scholastic Books, The Jim Henson Company, the MMJ Foundation, and the Los Angeles Times. He has taught students from preschool through the college level.

J.H. Everett is co-creator, with Marilyn Scott-Waters, of the illustrated middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories. (Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt Books). Everett has created concept illustrations for the Jim Henson Company, as well as concept covers for Scholastic. His illustrations have been featured in the Los Angeles Times. You can visit him at jheverett.com

 

JSerra Photography Debuts at the Laguna Beach Art Museum

Saturday, October 28 marks a great accomplishment with JSerra’s Artists In Residence program. Opening Night of the Laguna Beach Art Museum’s exhibit “The Best Kept Secret,” featured a selection of JSerra’s photography students.

Under the direction of Regina Stehney, the students had the opportunity to show their work in this retrospective art show-featuring artist from 1965 to 1971 that were also on faculty of UCI.

Hosting JSerra students in the downstairs gallery and displays student photography work from their book “Beauty Perceived” that was recently published through the JSerra Fine Arts department.

The exhibit at the Laguna Beach Art Museum is opened to the public until January 21.

Read the review in the OC Register here.