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 Exhibit Photography in Laguna Pageant of the Masters

student2Ten pieces of student photography will be displayed in the Laguna Pageant of the Masters, the most of any Orange County School.

Each piece was selected by art authorities from thousands of submissions representing schools throughout Orange County. The exhibit has become not only a showcase for new generations of young Orange County student artists but also a vivid testimonial to the value and importance of continuing arts education in our school systems.

Junior, Nikka Contursi will exhibit three photos at the Laguna Pageant of the Masters, the most from any school in the history of the pageant. 
The following students have demonstrated excellence in traditional darkroom skills, alternative processes and digital media:

Connection- Aryanna Hamidi

Playful Lions- Kelsey Testman

Dream Big- Josephine Duran

New Beginning- Zach Woznicki

Face Up- Courtney Vaccher

Insomnia – Nicolette Contursi

Cost was here- Nicolette Contursi

Broguiere’s – Nicolette Contursi

Blind -Courtney Strafeldas

Presentation of Time- Claire Grace

“I’m so proud of all my students and their hard work, this is such an honor,” said Regina Stehney, photography teacher.

The exhibit is now showing through August 31 from 10 a.m. –11:30, at Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach.

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.

Students’ Mural To Be Wrapped Around Egyptian Pyramids

A giant mural created by JSerra Catholic High School students to promote global harmony will be among 5,280 pieces of art from 125 countries wrapped around the Egyptian pyramids during next year’s “The Exhibit of the Century.”

The 5-foot by 12-foot “cyanotype” mural will first travel through major cities of the world as part of the Art Miles Mural project. Created on cloth, the mural was developed through a process that included long exposure to the sun. The students then laid down on the material to make ghost-like impressions of themselves.

“The created mural is a proof of coexistence. What an incredible way to communicate global harmony and peace as a visual collaborative message to the world,” said Regina Stehney, JSerra’s photography teacher.

Added junior Ian Farrell: “The experience helped me learn what it is like to contribute to a large piece of work with others.”

And senior Vincent Villella: “Working together on this international project was an amazing privilege.”

Below are photos of the process – and the artists in front of the mural.

The artists at work
The Artists at Work

Posing in Front of the Mural
Posing in Front of the Mural