Logan Newcomb looked tiny when standing next to his entry into the Manteca High School Art Show Wednesday evening.
But that’s what happens when you tackle a sculpture project on a whim and end up producing an 11-foot-tall replica of Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s iconic “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. It is an effort that earned him a Best of Show award and a whole lot of well-wishes from fellow students and parents alike.
While he stood in the shadow of the spindly design – made of PVC piping, paper mache and a beach ball, taking three days to complete – Newcomb answered questions and chatted with friends that were in awe of what had become the biggest draw of the event.
It was more attention than he was expecting, especially for a project that he admits “isn’t his favorite” of all of the things that he’s done.
But having people come up and express their interest in something that he created – especially one from his favorite movie – was something that he definitely didn’t mind.
“I love art because it gives you freedom – it allows you to do whatever it is that you want without caring about what anybody else thinks. There aren’t a lot of things out there like that,” he said. “I wasn’t quite expecting this, and it’s not my favorite of all of the things that I’ve done.
“But I love this movie and it’s a character that just sticks out in my mind. I guess I was just bored and this is what came of it.”
Adaeze Nkwocha looked at the event from a different perspective.
With a tuxedo-style shirt pressed and ready for her choir performance, the junior browsed through many of the submissions before she had to get ready – paying close attention to the detail and the intricate nature of some of the work on display.
While she “draws some,” Nkwocha said that she appreciates the open nature of art and the expression that it allows.
“It’s something that allows you to be free,” she said. “There doesn’t have to be something that’s guiding you. You don’t have to follow something – you’re free to do what you want and that’s what I like.”
The displays inside of the Dr. Robert C. Winter Gymnasium - a safe haven from the torrential rains and thunderstorms of Wednesday afternoon – exhibited everything from paper mache masks to woodworking projects.
With a table behind him showcasing some of the submissions from his advanced art class, teacher Matt McDonald smiled as he talked with doting parents and students that were thrilled to see their work on display and getting recognition. They are the sort of projects, he says, that sometimes fly under the radar.
“I think that it’s great to see the parents coming out tonight to support the students – that’s always an important thing in whatever it is that they do,” McDonald said. “And it’s a chance for the students to get some recognition for what they’ve created. It’s something that we talk about in class from almost the first day and they start striving right then and there to create something for the art show.
“They get to show their parents and their friends and it’s good to see that level of excitement.”