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Ella Comer: old-school artist, new-school attitude

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There is this one special scene in this one abdomen-achingly comical movie, where this one guy has something of an existential outburst in the midst of a showing at a pish-posh art gallery. His proclamation of love and desperation was coldly rejected by his ex-longtime girlfriend, neither his ballet skills nor extensive knowledge of art-interpretation impressed her, and he aggressively accused another guy of vying for her affections.

It is worth noting that this other guy was the ex-girlfriend’s boss.

And was gay.

And was wearing a shirt that explicitly stated so.

Anyway, all of the bored, artsy hippies and their rich groupies at the showing started to enthusiastically critique his emotional tantrum as if it were another piece in the gallery up for over-analyzation, thus ending with the guy screaming, “I AM NOT A PIECE OF ART!”, followed by ecstatic, clueless applause.

Here you have seen a representation of the pretentious modern-day artist as depicted by the film The Other Guys. Here you have seen individuals hungry for philosophical superiority, willing to devour the table scraps of the everyday just to stumble upon some hidden, greater meaning they can share with the world via confusing splotches of madness on overpriced canvases, probably crafted from something like synthetic sheep’s wool and speckled with Tiffany diamonds.

Enter Ella Comer, junior, and an artist, but not like the detached ego-factories above. Ella’s thoughts on art are that of an alternate breed.

You know how certain persons seem to project an immediate vibe of somethingness (whatever it may be) when you meet them? Well, Ella has one of those vibes, more specifically, a mood of serenity. Relaxed, and comfortable in her own skin. She claims to be an introvert, but the clear, easy going cadence of her voice and her obvious and excited passion with art suggests her persona is that of an ambivert; not necessarily shy by any means, but also without the tendency to want to live in the limelight simply for the sake of attention. And definitely void of any pretension.

Medium-wise, our easy, breezy covergirl is a jack-of-all-trades. In the collage of Ella’s art, you can spot pencil-borne checkerboard easter eggs, a sunset-colored man’s face sketched in highlighter (the marker, not the makeup), and a Philippine Eagle intricately drawn from an average, everyday pen. Side note: the Eagle will be transposed into sculpture-form for an assignment in Ella’s AP Sculpture class.

Meanwhile, some of us can’t even draw stick figures that don’t look like someone stuck a pear on top of the letter “k” à la “Lord of the Flies”.

“As a kid I used to play around with drawings. I would always draw and cut out dragons and give them personalities; I have a box full of them at my house!” said Ella, on her artistic origins, which point to the early roots of her piece whimsicality.

Stylistically, Ella tends to lean towards the ever-upbeat aesthetics of Pop Art. Pop Art was at it’s height in the 1960s, following the end of the Abstract Expressionist movement (which is acknowledged as an artistic period characterized by it’s surreally depicted reflections on the post-WWⅡ cynicism of society). And while Abstract

Expressionism was a revolution of gloom and loss, Pop Art posed as a sort of memory-block to, or distraction from the melancholy with its idolization of pop culture and mass-everyday-icons. Some of the more recognizable pieces from this movement include Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, and the Comic Book creations of Roy Lichtenstein. The emergence of Pop Art can be considered a time of forgetting, but what makes it so successfully forgetful, is the relaxed, bubbly, sunshine and daisies feel of it. Colors are vivid, medias are mixed, and anything goes.

This is what draws Ella into its luster: the outright spontaneity and lack of seriousness. The interpretation of the movement as a backlash to the blueness that preceded doesn’t hold the same level of significance as to the pure enjoyment she gets from its visuals. The underlying message may have been, and still is, a subject of debate, but it’s unproded surface beauty is obvious. Pop Art is her aphrodisiac simply because of it’s fascinating quirkiness.

“I like to take it to the extreme with expression,” says Ella.

No complex messages.

No paintbrush vigilance.

All illustrations of the self.

The picture blows with the wind.

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Ella Comer: old-school artist, new-school attitude