Well, I am Hudson Kahler. I am a 101 here at TCS [The Community School]. Mostly I am a musical theater kid, a singer, an actor. I am not really like a good drawer or good sculptor but I guess I put it all together into this art piece imagining as like the human, like the human spirit, like everyone put together. Right now there is a lot of greed which is like the stuff on the outside. On the inside is the fire, the hope and the joyfulness and all that good stuff about the human soul shines through no matter how much it gets icky on the outside with all the free and stuff. I guess that is just the basic message, and I think it is really cool.
Well, I started out and Matthew my teacher was explaining what you are going for and as I was watching him explain there were like pictures on the projector of stock photos of different pieces of art and there were the cool Chinese lanterns.
I was like ‘maybe I can do something cool with a lantern?’ So I decided to find a structure which are these Kabob sticks that I put around it. I was going to wrap the structure into some kind of paper and take crayons and spray the color on to it. As I was glueing it together the [glue gun] strings would come out and connect and I was like ‘ha, maybe that works?’ I started stringing it together, and I was like ‘how does this represent a human and a human spirit?’ I decided it looks kind of gunky and icky so that could be like the evil and the not so good stuff. Then I need the other part which is the flame, the hope, the joy, the charity, so I decided to put that in there, in the middle and the outside which is kind of what people see when they look at another human, they see the gunk and they do not quite see the good but it is still always there and shining through
Dante Sellgren and Caleb Hoffman
So our piece is basically, we use popsickle sticks and just any piece of wood we could find, affirming.
We kind of wanted it to resemble someone embracing the world as it is, that’s why he has his arms out in a V form just embracing the world as it is. The colors we chose for the bottom is black and purple for the dark planet he is on and his upper body is kind of white as in plain and then his arms are transitioning from life because he is embracing the world and just not caring about what people think about him. And just like thanking for like what he has, just embracing what he sees and not caring for it but caring for it at the same time, affirming.
I see myself as someone who does that. I try and impact other people around me by making their life feel better and making them forget just the hardship of life.
Yes, I really try to like put everybody else before myself like making sure everybody else feels good before I kind of take my own, like take my own stuff I want to do in life you know, like taking the initiative, like making sure that before my needs are met I want everybody else’s needs to be met. I want to make sure they feel happy, they are being cared for.
Whenever there is a chance to open a door for someone I don’t even know I’ll do it and they usually either thank me or not thank me. I really don’t care either way as long as I just open the door, affirming, I just feel good about myself doing that thing for them, affirming.
Or if I take the bus so there are some people that talk to me on the bus, I just think like when people get talked to on the bus they usually think it is weird affirming and they do not want to have a conversation with them. I’ ll be there like sit and talk with them like ‘how was your day?’
When my energy is low I usually just slip down onto a slope of just ‘I do not want to talk’ , ‘I don’t really want to do anything.’ I just sit there in my own world affirming and don’t really focus on anything else. I just try not to waste energy, get throught the day affirming.
For me like I just when that happens I sort of drift away from everything else you know, not necessarily have as much contact as I would. I’d say let it go and then come back eventually later, maybe in a day or later another day in the week affirming.
I just like want to thank everybody in the world just for having a great community and just supporting everybody that supports me personnally through like my struggles, my high and lows. Thank you.
I would like to say when you are feeling down just don’t look at it as if it’s a bad day, look at it as if’ it’s a day that’s bad and it can improve affirming. Don’t just quit and stop having a good day, continue on and push forward.
Amahra Barnes and Aliyah Reidburn
I feel like there’s definitely tons of reasons to start playing an instrument. Personally, I started playing out of a necessity. I always have been musically involved in my life. I played piano when I was younger. I kind of got tired of it because it felt a little bit repetitive, like not too simple, it is obviously very complex. I think I started really playing guitar though because I had almost an addiction not only like chemical dependencies those definitely go hand in hand with musical ability. I think that to some extent playing music is an addiction. There is no way to really know if you have that until you try to like dive in to. I tried to dive into piano and it just didn’t really work. I got kind of okay at it and I can play some cool stuff but I wasn’t passionate about it. I had these guitars in my closet and I just picked them up and that was it. There was no special time or like a person that said ‘hey, you should pick the guitar,’ no. Even when I was pressured into playing guitar as a kid, I never picked it up. It was my own volition that just said ‘yo, you should start playing and make something sound cool,’ so, I did. I think that in order to play an instrument you have to have just something like that, an incling, to tell you ‘hey, you should do this.’ Right now where I am at musically it’s a hundert percent derivitive inspiration from other artists. I might be manipulating riffs or sounds that I heard elsewhere and just like implementing them into what is effectively their riff but rewritten in a different context if that makes any sense. It is almost imitation art. It’s like if I really like this artist so how can I not only sound like them but create something that they would have made. It will be like this person, this sounds like something that Jack Boyle would have made, not to be super pretentious touting my own horn, be like he definitely would release this on his album, because obviously he wouldn’t have. You can say that this is something similar enough to his sound that is original. I think that’s where like you kind of come up with inspiration being able to derive originality from like other sources, if that makes any sense. There is this whole collection of music right and it is all derivative of one another, of these specific genres, blues, whatever, pop, it’s all derivative of other stuff. No matter where you go you always come back to that. ‘What did this person sound like?’ ‘Well, maybe I can sound a little bit like them and can come up with my own thing’ I think that’s where the heart of it is. I feel like most artists sort of are kind of at a point where they don’t, they are afraid to copy that, they are afraid to rip someone off. They would never, it’s a disrespect thing as well. If you are an artist and you say you are an artist than you don’t directly rip people’s stuff
I like cooking and making food items, yaa, more baking. I like making sweet things because it curbs my cravings for them. It started actually when I got to this school, when I started working at the coffee shop here. It was like ‘man, I never knew I liked coffee until now and I like sweet things, so let’s try cooking at home.’ I think, I have brought them (sweet baked things) in before for my exhibitions but I haven’t like brought things that I typically make after school here because I feel, I feel weird. Typically I do it like after school if I am really hungry too
So, I am really bad at public speaking, like very bad, I know right and I get really nervous, so I like to, I like to bring something in to distract people while I am talking like “hey, I brought cookies, please pay attention to these and how great they are instead of me, you know
I want to start a business when I am older. I was thinking a coffee shop so I probably would incorporate that [baking sweet things] into something with my business. Harris, ‘I better be customer number one.’ Max, ’if you are in Pitsburgh, you can be.’ Harris, ’I’ll be there. Don’t worry about that
My whole family loves to cook
My whole family loves to cook and especially my grandpa. We would do Thanksgiving at his house every year, and he’s the greatest cook I have ever eaten from. He makes this huge dinner for tons of people like for my whole extended family, and I have a very very large family. It made Thanksgiving my favorite holiday because we all would just go over there and just hang out with family and eat all this like amazing food and a lot of it. My dad loves baking and my mom loves cooking so we always have a good balance. My dad would be baking bread on the weekends and my mom would be cooking dinner at night. I totally fell in love with cooking. Every time I had the chance ‘let’s make something,’ when I go to my friends house we have cooking competitions. My specialty are omelets. I am very good at it. Max: ‘he is so good, oh my God’. There is this thing I like to do if I am home alone or I just got home from dance. I’ll do a little game called improv cooking. That’s what I like. Max: affirms. I open the pantry. I open the cupboards. I open the fridge. I am like ‘alright, what can we do with these items?’ No recipe, no nothing, I’ll just ‘let’s see if they taste good together.’ Every now and then if I still have some left over when my family gets home, I’ll be like ‘alright, try it, let’s see what you think.’ They can be tough critics but I usually can get it done. We all know cooking so well that we will be honest with each other and be like ‘ehh, it could use some of this a little bit less of that’ and it’s really cool. I think it has really improved my cooking over the years. I think that has actually helped me become more of a healthy person because I am actually seeing what’s going into the food I make. I am picking the ingredients. It helps me make healthier decisions instead of just grabbing some meal you are putting into the micro wave from the freezer. I can make it fresh and fire up a pan. It is way more satisfying too. I love just cooking and something else I love doing is cooking with family and my friends because when you just have that flow in the kitchen of like everybody is doing their thing, it just smells amazing. It’s warm. You are all having fun making jokes. You are just making this great creation. Then when you are eating it, it’s way more satisfying ‘wow, look at what we made’ and you just have great conversations and it’s always a great time.
I found my own way to express myself and bring joy to other people
My family is super into theater and stuff and they like to express themselves through acting, singing and using their voice. I tried it for a while but I didn’t really like it. Then my mom put me into dance, and I realized, I liked expressing myself through movement and with my body. For me it was really fun because I found my little way to express myself that was different from the rest of my family’s. You can express yourself in unbelievable like crazy different ways. You can express any emotion you want and any feelings or stories. For me I like it because I don’t have to say anything. I can get really nervous when I have to talk. I do get nervous when I have to dance especially before I go on stage but it’s easier for me to control my nerves and use them for my advantage and use the exilerated heart rate to make it through a long dance.
There is this exercise we like to do where we’ll get in groups and will have to come up with a story. We’ll create a dance using that story line. Then they give us a reign of piece of music that we haven’t heard before. We have to try and do the dance we create. The short can be anywhere from thirty seconds to a couple of minutes. We have to do this dance with whatever music. We have to try to still express the story we are trying to do but sometimes not necessarily to music that would go with it. So we have to try and show certain emotions and the music is trying to give a different one. It’s really complicated to like try and plan it out, it’s really fun. When you are working with certain choreographers they are not always super clear with what they want and sometimes they want the dancers to help add to the story and add to the dance. So some leave it super open and we can try and put our own stories into it and kind of add our own feelings. There are certain dances where they purposely don’t have much of a story line or they are kind of hard to understand so people can add whatever storyline they feel it gives them. I think that is really cool that like a dance that could be seen as like really happy to one person it can be more emotional than for another. It is one of the craziest moments when I am backstage or out in the auditorium and someone would come up to me and be like ‘that dance that you did really touched me.’ A few weeks ago this lady came up to me and brought up this dance that I did years before. She was like ‘I’ve remembered this dance for years and I’ve always wanted to talk to you about it and it just really touched me and it was amazing.’ They are creating another dance to the same movie, it was from the movie ‘Schindler’s List.’ She is going to create a dance based on ours to honor it in one of their performances coming up.
I have been dancing for years and it can get really hard and it takes up a lot of my day and just like week after week of dancing and dancing and dancing and dancing. It does get hard sometimes like ‘man, do I want to keep doing this?’ There are so many careers I can do that way easier like physically and mentally but it’s moments like that when someone comes up to me and says ‘ this really touched me’ or they liked my performance that it gives me that spark ‘okay, there is a reason I am doing this.’ ‘I am touching people.’ ‘I am helping people through situations’ or ‘I am just entertaining people for a little while.’ It is really motivating to hear that kind of stuff.
It does get hard sometimes when trying to balance school and dance because I spend all mornings until the afternoon at school and then go straight to dance every day. I am there until pretty late at night. In class they give us breaks and stuff where we can stretch and drink water and all that. Those breaks are really nice, because you are dripping and sweating, you are like ‘groan’ and they are like ‘Okay, take a break’ and everyone is just on the ground, it’s really fun. For food a lot of people think that dancers are super healthy which some are. For a lot of the guys, especially guys in dance we actually have been told by nutritionists ‘just eat everything. With the amount of stuff you are doing you just need to constantly be eating whenever you can.’ I do that. I eat a lot. I try and stick to the healthier foods when I can but I don’t always do it.
It does get really mentally draining sometimes like when you are rehearsing a heavier piece like the one Schindler’s List. It is a serious topic and you are in this same room with the same people for hours rehearsing it over and over and over again and trying to express those deep emotions and stories. It can be really stressful, so it’s nice to take breaks and every now and then they will give us a break where we can just have fun and joke around and relax. When I am at home, I try just to relax and take that time to decompress and let my body relax especially because of all the physical stuff I have to do.
It’s really just the joy that it brings me and it can bring other people. When it starts to get hard and stuff I just think of all the people I’ve touched in my life just by dancing. I don’t have to express myself through talking like the rest of my family. I found my own way to express myself and bring joy to other people and show people a way to express feelings and emotions and stories. Even in everyday class I know that I am working to make that ability to express myself even better and it will bring more joy to more people. I would say just to go and try it. Find a studio near where you are and just go to a class because you are not going to know unless you try it. And this doesn’t necessarily just apply to dance. If there is something you have been wanting to do and say there is pressure from like friends or family that say ‘no, you shouldn’t try it or something,’ you should try it because you never are going to know and if you don’t, you’ll regret it and if you do, you will know whether you liked it or not. For dance, I did not like it at first. My mom put me in and I was like ‘what, are you crazy?’ but then I was at my first class and I just absolutely fell in love with it. I had no idea. Since then I always try and do things that I wouldn’t necessarily like and things that scare me or other people like ‘oh, you shouldn’t try this.’ I always try to do these new things because you never know if you are going to like it. I didn’t think I would like dance at first and then I went to it and I absolutely fell in love with it. Now it is like my whole life.
The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword
So, I am going to be honest with you. I drew this because this is the only thing I know how to draw. It’s just a phrase I have known all my life. The pen is mightier than the sword, I head that probably in second grade and I just always remembered it from there on out. It’s supposed to be a symbol, I always think of it as like pen is like peace talks and the sword is like war or conflict. I believe the pen is mightier than the sword. I want to be an author when I grow up. So, I think I might always use a pen instead of the sword. I found emotion. Emotion encourages me to fight, to be productive, to do what I want to do but I am not always emotional like that. So I haven learnt not to rely on inspiration. Habit is much better. Habit, my habit is to every day sit down and write something no matter what it is. It could be a poem, a paragraph, could be a joke, as long as I write one thing every day. That’s my habit.