A young Bronx artist’s award winning works illustrate the meaning of being ‘Bronx strong.’
Ethical Culture Fieldston School senior Maya Dixon is one of 16 students selected to receive top honors in the 95th annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards known as the ‘Gold Medal Portfolio.’
This prestigious honor includes a $10,000 college scholarship.
As a Gold Medal Portfolio recipient, Dixon, an Allerton resident, will have her work publicly displayed in the Art.Write.Now.2018 National Exhibition.
She will be formally recognized on Thursday, June 7 at Carnegie Hall as part of a week-long national celebration in NYC.
Her nationally recognized portfolio, ‘Essence of Soul,’ features gouache paintings exploring the Boogie Down’s inherent strength and resilience.
Gouache is a method of painting utilizing opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance.
According to a Scholastic spokeswoman, a record-breaking 346,000 visual and literary works were submitted for this year’s competition.
The awards recognize student achievement in 29 categories including editorial cartoon, poetry, graphic design, fashion, science fiction and video game design.
Dixon joins such notable Scholastic Arts and Writing Award illuminaries as artists Luis Jiménez, Philip Pearlstein, Kay WalkingStick, Andy Warhol and Charles White; filmmaker Ken Burns; novelists Truman Capote and Stephen King; filmmaker and actor Richard Linklater; HBO ‘Girls’ actress, writer, producer and director Lena Dunham; photographer Richard Avedon; poet Sylvia Plath and fashion designer Zac Posen.
Since seventh grade, Dixon has been fascinated with the arts and has dabbled in creating large-scale oil paintings, graphite and charcoal drawings.
She has attended Fieldston since pre-k and throughout the years has noticed the stark contrast between her Allerton neighborhood and her affluent school community.
This contrast inspired her award winning pieces, ‘Chocolate Children,’ ‘Crispy Cuts,’ ‘Slim Trim Kids,’ ‘The Boogie Down,’ ‘These Fingers Snatch Souls’ and ‘Wild Style.’
“One woman who saw my work told me that she lives in the same neighborhood and attended the same high school as I do,” shared Dixon. “She really connected with what I represented in my art and that was an incredible feeling for me as an artist.”
She cites Nigerian-born visual artists Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Toyin Ojih Odutola and American artist Kerry James Marshall as her artistic muses.
Representation is the major theme of all three artists.
Crosby illustrates the differences between her adopted home in America and her native Nigeria, Odutola emphasizes the sociopolitical construct of skin color through her multimedia drawings and Marshall depicts real and imagined events from African American history.
Dixon will attend Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art this fall.
She expressed excitement for her future and dreams of a career in art.
Dixon shared advice for any budding artist willing to undertake this adventure.
“For students or parents who notice a creative streak in themselves, their friends or their children it’s important to support that creativity,” she explained. “I wouldn’t have gotten this far in the arts if it wasn’t for my parents supporting me all of these years.”