When I was younger, it was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that art could be a form of self-expression rather than just colors on paper. I was born in Brooklyn, and my neighborhood was not the best. I could not really go outside because of the constant gang violence and other potential dangers on my block. Staying inside was my only option, so I turned to drawing. At that time, art was the only thing in my life that I felt I could control completely, and it was comforting.
As I grew older, I started writing, too. I felt that words could help people better understand the many thoughts stampeding in and out of my mind. Before the pandemic I would write all the time, trying to find different words to best convey the image I had envisioned. Now, I do so even more.
I also began to dabble in photography, an art form that I felt was more about capturing than creating. The pandemic helped me to better recognize the beauty around me. I felt the pictures I took were a window into my mind, projecting what I saw every day. My pictures helped me gain artistic control over the things I could not physically control. All the forms of art I have previously explored have led me to where I am now with photography and reinforced that I have a keen eye for what pleases me aesthetically.
—Tyler Mitchell, Wilbur Cross High School