Two South Lake students win Gold Key Awards in Scholastic Art and Writing Competition
Mary Dupuis ’19
Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019
The recent Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for 2019 resulted in two South Lake students, seniors Dayle Bennett and Tyler Sarden, receiving the prestigious Gold Key Awards–making it through the first round of competition.
Winning these awards did not come easy, but with countless hours of work and dedication. Bennett received the award for a mosaic that she was working for months to create.
“I chose to submit my mosaic because I worked for so long on it. It’s made of glass and plastic and I worked for about four months on it. People kept telling me ‘Oh it looks really nice, you have to submit it,’ so I submitted it in and I won an award for it which is really cool,” says Bennett.
While Sarden won the same award, it was for a drastically different art piece that took many steps to create. Sarden explains that first the students were shown a set piece from art teacher Erica Phardel and were then told to sketch it, outline it with chalk, paint inside the lines with layer after layer of paint, and cover it all with black paint to be taken off in the end.
“I thought that it was a good idea to do wacky colors because then maybe they would bounce off of the art piece better so I just put a bunch of random colors down I don’t know what I was thinking when I was doing it. Then you put a bunch of layers of black ink over it and you kind of just wash it off. That way, when you wash it off the different layers will start showing,” says Sarden.
Just as these two students’ award winning pieces differ in style and technique, Phardel has very different ways of describing them as artists.
She describes Sarden as an artist whose imagination flows from his mind into his artwork.
“Tyler is super into animation, almost obsessively. He’s super creative as far as creating stories and he’s imaginative and I think that love of animation and this sort of storytelling ability he has is what’s going to sort of direct him as he moves forward in his career,” says Phardel.
On the other hand, she describes Bennett as someone who is always making more art to put into her art.
“Dayle is kind of like a mad scientist of art. She’s always making at least four things at the same time. She can make anything. So if she asks me for something and I say I don’t have it she’s like ‘Oh I’ll just make it,’ and she does,” says Phardel. “She snoops around my room all the time and she finds weird things and she’ll turn them into things. There’s this constant, constant energy that she’s putting into her art,” adds Phardel.
Now that they have received these awards, the next step on their agenda will be going on to the second round to compete for National Medals.
But, for these two artists it is about more than the awards that they receive, it is a way to express their innermost feelings and emotions.
For Sarden, his source of inspiration varies but his purpose of expressing himself always remains the same.
“When I see things that have a message behind them sometimes it just inspires me and motivates me and it’s like I wonder if I could do something like that or if I could do what they did but in my own way or better,” says Sarden. “I can express myself through art. I can put my emotions and my thoughts down and I can basically do anything I want with it because it’s really limited to your imagination. So, it’s kind of endless if you can think of enough stuff to express yourself with,” adds Sarden.
Bennett agrees, and feels that art is the best way for her to speak without actually speaking.
“Art inspires me because I can express myself in different ways and then show people my emotions without having to explain it out loud and without talking. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy it,” says Bennett. “Art makes me happy and brings me peace,” adds Bennett.
Not only are these students’ purposes for creating art nearly the same, but their backstories each started with being given things from their parents to draw.
“My mom and dad have a big influence on my artwork because my dad sends me pictures and will say ‘Oh can you draw this for me’ and my mom also pushes me to submit more art to competitions and stuff,” says Bennett. “The thing that got me into art was when I was in kindergarten, I drew a picture of my first car and it looked really weird. But then I was like ‘Oh this is really nice, maybe I should do this more,’” adds Bennett.
While Sarden did not draw cars, he did draw superheroes.
“When I was young I used to watch a bunch of cartoon TV, I still watch all cartoons. I was watching stuff like the Ninja Turtles cartoon, Justice League, stuff like that and I really liked the superheroes. So, my dad used to give me a few comics when I was little and I used to try to draw them because when you’re that young your imagination is endless,” says Sarden.
Phardel says that the energy, dedication, and enthusiasm that sparked when they were children has created the artists that she sees daily, and she is excited for them to represent South Lake and to see what their future holds.
“I’m really proud of them and I’m proud that they’re going to represent South Lake and knowing they both want to go into art I’m happy that they can now add that to their resume,” says Phardel. “Both of them are headed to very successful futures and it will be interesting to watch what comes next for both of them,” adds Phardel.