Every Canvas is a Journey All Its Own

Celebrating Zaina Ghouri (‘22) and Annecy Crockett (‘22) and their visual art exhibitions

For+artistic+inspiration%2C+Annecy+overlays+photos+of+two+people+close+to+her+on+Photoshop+and+paints+them+together%2C+capturing+her+unique+perspective+on+those+who+are+really+important+to+her.+

Crystal Li

For artistic inspiration, Annecy overlays photos of two people close to her on Photoshop and paints them together, capturing her unique perspective on those who are really important to her.

Crystal Li, Copy Editor

If you stopped by the library after school last Thursday, you probably saw the crowds of people congregating in front of neatly-spaced and framed artwork. On April 28, Zaina Ghouri (‘22) and Annecy Crockett (‘22), both ardent artists, held distinctive art openings that told stories about their personal relationships and journeys with visual art. 

With a total of thirteen pieces, Zaina’s collection, “Unfinished,” tells the story of her personal journey involving art and animation. “There are some elements to a lot of the pieces you’ll see that are unfinished,” she explained. “Since my journey with art is still growing and changing, leaving some parts of my art open has kind of grown to be something I actively do.” 

Starting in Visual Arts department chair Ms. Elizabeth Wepsic’s 7th-grade advisory, Zaina had always heard about the excitement in the art room and the exhibition opportunities that came with it. Now a senior, when Ms. Wepsic offered her an opportunity to showcase her work, at first she felt worried about coming up with a theme and a collection of pieces. “And then I looked back on my experience interacting with previous senior exhibitors… do you know Carly? I love her,” she gushed, referring to Bishop’s alumni Carly Phoon (‘20). “She had an exhibit and I remember getting advice about using the pieces I’ve previously created and not just those from this school year.” That’s how she came to the idea of displaying her true, unrefined journey of trying new styles and her growth throughout the four years of high school. 

“I really liked cartoons growing up, so that’s definitely how [my love for art] started,” Zaina noted. However, throughout the months of pandemic quarantine, she began to use it more as a way to express her emotions. “There was a lot going on during COVID,” she said. “When my dad got cancer during COVID, I was stuck at home and I couldn’t talk or see anyone, so I really drew a lot during that time—it was just a way to not think about anything and just draw what I was feeling.” 

Ms. Wepsic further fueled this growing passion by showing Zaina that there is no wrong way to create art. “She was so supportive and she really taught me a lot of new mediums like acrylics and watercolor that I wasn’t previously familiar with.” Zaina also gave her mom a shoutout as she had always been an avid supporter and encourager. 

“This exhibit is definitely something that was out of my comfort zone,” Zaina remarked. “I’ve never really shown my work to people, but for those who are worried about holding an exhibit, I say just do it!” She emphasized that it is super fun and inspiring for people to share artwork and stories with one another. Additionally, she feels that art will continue to be a great part of her daily life in the future. “I was able to do some work with a growing animation company over the summer… I’m really starting to like animation, and I’m thinking that maybe in the future I’ll look into animation or video game art.” Zaina has really gone full circle with her passion for art—whether it is cartoons or holding conversations with fellow artists, her journey in artistic expression is one to celebrate. 

Annecy’s collection, a total of nine pieces titled “Ambiguous Interactives,” boldly illustrates a striking theme: ambiguity can be beautiful, both metaphorically and literally. “I wanted to capture the essence of those around me and what they mean to me,” she explained. “You’ll notice that [the subjects within my pieces] have distorted features. Though I do a lot of unrealistic portrait work, I think it works to my advantage because I can add how I can see people from my unique perspective.” 

Annecy contributes the thinking behind the theme to the environment of free artistic expression Bishop’s offers to student creativity. Having always been an artist, she recounted her past experiences at other schools’ art programs. “I think Bishop’s is actually my seventh school; besides kindergarten, it’s the longest I’ve ever been at one place,” she remarked. “This is a school where I wasn’t forced to do anything, and I really found my own artistic style because I was given that space and encouragement.” She also thanked Ms. Wepsic, who always prompted her to ask herself questions about what she thinks and what she cares about. 

“Ambiguity can be really scary, but when you embrace it, you can create something really beautiful because you are not following the lines,” Annecy noted when asked about how she thinks people will receive her art. “Everyone is going to take something different from my art… I like that because I like to share something with people, even if their ideas are different.” Her friends and parents are also frequent viewers of her pieces. In addition to sharing her visual art talents, in the future, Annecy plans to pair such interests with her passion for writing. Since literature and painting are equal mediums of expression for her, she would love to write something like a short story and create a piece alongside it. 

When asked about what advice she’d give to aspiring student artists and those who plan to do a future exhibit, Annecy emphasized the importance of finding ways to go beyond constraints or creative obstacles. “Be open to anything and try new things,” Annecy said. “One thing that was really helpful for me was when Ellie Hodges told me to go bigger with my canvas, something small like that, and when I did, it changed the whole course of my artwork.” She also highlighted the significance of consistency. “When you don’t feel like [creating art], do it anyways—that’s when I make my best art.” 

As words of support and inspiration echoed throughout the wooden spiral of the library staircase, our artists smiled at their accomplished pieces. It is clear how far their passions go, and the future undoubtedly offers limitless possibilities for them both.