(2nd Place – Painting)
Title of Art Piece: Death And All His Friends
Student/Artist’s Name: Jessa Montoya
School: Eagle River High School
Artist Statement: A few years ago, one of my best friends recommended several novels, and I had set them aside for quite a while to collect dust among my belongings. After struggling through the first three, I picked up the fourth and didn’t set it down again.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a richly detailed story about the life and times of a girl during the Holocaust, from Death’s point of view. Throughout the novel there are many references to the battles that take place both in Germany and in Russia, one in which Death is visiting at the end. The chapter ends with the quote “500 Souls. I carry them on my shoulders and in my hands like suitcases, but it’s the children I hold in my arms.”
I chose to illustrate this quote because of the unlikely morals and deeper thoughts in the meaning. It implies Death is not pleased with his job, but deeply remorseful of his duty. He cares most for the innocent and the lives that were unnecessarily taken by the war and shows them comfort by holding them in his arms, a final display of compassion.
I chose the colors in the painting because of the thick emotions that are tied to them; the darkness insinuates the fact that death can’t really be seen. The image is also particularly gory because that’s the way battle is in my mind, unrelenting and unforgiving to everything and everyone. Also, I chose to layer all the paints, rather than taping things off, to add dimension to the image and give the effect that death is always there.