Anna Robertson's Digital Art
"I've always been interested in photography and my computer is filled with pictures," says Jefferson High School student and artist Anna Robertson.
At first glance, Robertson's artwork can look like photographs of three-dimensional acrylic paintings. The texture, colors and shapes all come together to create a surreal, impressionistic image of her world. But Robertson's medium isn't actually painting — it's photography. And with a little inspiration from the natural world and support from a local organization, she has found a personal outlet for her artistic expression.
While attending Jefferson High School, Robertson discovered Self-Enhancement Incorporated (SEI) and its in-school project. SEI's partnership with Portland Public Schools supports incoming freshmen at Jefferson by tracking grades, attendance and participation during the school year, as well as after school and through special summer programs where Robertson got involved.
"SEI provides opportunities and exposure to children who may otherwise thought the dream of being an artist impossible," says Jeanette Lewis of SEI.
"When I heard about the photography mentorship, I knew I wanted to do it," says Robertson. Through this program, she was connected with skilled mentors who exposed her to the advanced digital photo editing tools and techniques that she uses in her art. For example, Robinson uses programs like Photoshop to manipulate multiple images and blend visual elements in different ways. She says that most of her work incorporates themes of nature, though she also tries to access the humanity of the different individuals in her art.
"I try to look at what people feel inside. One of my pieces I named, 'On The Surface.' I show who they are and show a different story that other people who see the work can make for themselves," Robertson explains.
And other people have certainly found something in her work. She has already sold some of the art she created during the mentorship program. In addition, her work was featured at SEI's annual Art and Soul fundraiser where it was auctioned off to raise money for the very program that lead to its creation.
"When I first signed up, I didn't know that my work was going to be sold. So when I found out, I was overjoyed. It's more than I can ask for. I hope that people enjoy it," says Robertson.
"The [Art and Soul] event celebrates not only our children’s skills, but serves to inspire people to donate to our organization so that we can expose and educate children to professions that they may not have considered," says Lewis.
As for Robertson, she has her heart set on the Ivy League and thinks that her artwork will help her achieve that goal.
"I'm hoping to continue doing it as a side thing. My goal is to go to Harvard. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."