Artists and Youth: A Dialogue is a series of public programs organized by teens for teens where contemporary artists are invited to participate in open discussions about their work. Youth Insights teens hosted Artists and Youth: A Dialogue with Robert Gober, Chakaia Booker, and Fred Tomaselli.
I am Alison, a first generation Korean American. I was born in Chicago. Literature and art history are two of the many things that stir my heart. My poetry has been in several publications, and I hope to publish a fiction piece in the near future. I think literature and art both exist in the world to serve the same purpose: to inspire thoughts and emotions, whether it be with a mix of words or color, to create a perfect image. I think an artist of any time period or background makes his or her thoughts and visions into a physical manifestation. Youth Insights gives me the chance to learn about contemporary artists, and then share that knowledge with many different communities. I hope to work as a curator in a museum or similar institution urging all types of people to appreciate art. In the near future, I see myself studying at a liberal arts university, majoring in a humanities subject such as art history, English, or sociology.
My name is Charles (a.k.a. "Chucky"), I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I am African American, and my family comes from the southern United States. Right now, I am interested in animation, film, and writing. I feel that I need to explore my creative talents. Art is more than just paint on a canvas. I feel that art is about people and the way we live and think in this world. This is my third year participating in Youth Insights. So far, I have learned to overcome my fear of speaking in public and learned to work with others. I still enjoy the program because I have a lot to learn about life and those around me, and I believe Youth Insights can help me achieve that. Working with older people is exciting because you learn how to communicate and develop a dialogue with people. Working with little kids is challenging. The task of having a conversation with a young child allows you to gain experience and become more aware of the people around you.
Hi, my name is Danielle and I'm sixteen years old. I was born and raised in Queens. My ethnic background is Irish and African American. I love reading books because they take me into another world and let me experience the characters' emotions. I also love painting and dancing. Painting allows my imagination to shine and be creative. I like art because it allows people to express their own views on certain subjects. Dancing is another way for me to express myself; I can let myself go, once I hear the music playing. Youth Insights interests me because it's an experience in which I learn about art. I am also beginning to understand how artwork relates to a certain time period, and how to research various artists. Leading tours helps me get over my shyness, preparing me for a career in acting. I like working with older people because I learn from their experiences and stories. I also like working with younger people because it keeps me motivated, and it is nice to know that what I say makes an impact on them.
Hi, my name is Elivette and I am sixteen years old. I live in Manhattan and was born and raised on the Lower East Side. My ethnic background is Dominican. Math is interesting to me because I am good at solving problems and equations. I'm also interested in dance, which I think is my best talent. I like art because I think it is intriguing how artists use various media as tools to express themselves. Youth Insights is giving me the opportunity to work with older and younger people, and show them different types of art. It also helps me work on overcoming my shyness. I think working with older people helps me relate to people and learn about life. Working with younger people is fun and it feels good to have people look up to me.
I'm Emily and I am seventeen years old. I am a senior in high school. I live in Manhattan where I was born and raised. My interests include painting and just hanging around in the East Village. In art, I like the variety of responses that people have to a painting or a photograph. People bring their own experiences to the artwork. I am a second year Youth Insights participant, and I like it because I benefit from knowing how to communicate and compromise with people. I enjoy working with older people because I like hearing what they have to say about the artwork. I like working with younger people because they have very vibrant minds and see things that older people don't necessarily see. I plan to attend college and explore new things in life. I am pretty much open to different things.
My name is Eric. I live in the Bronx, and all my friends are there. I feel no shame that I come from the Bronx, because it has been the home of many creative movements in our society, such as hip-hop. People respect the Bronx for its urban culture. It has influenced many other cultures around the world. My ethnic background is a little mixed. I am Dominican, African American, and British. It is amazing, but half of my family is missing, so much of my heritage is unknown. Sometimes I wonder who I really am. I am interested in becoming a great graphic artist with a successful company. If I accomplish this goal, I would have everything I would ever need or want. It would be my fantasy-come-true. I would also like to experiment with computer animation.
My name is Eva, and I live in Queens. I was born in Bangladesh and I came to the United States when I was six. I love playing tennis, swimming, and sketching. Tennis keeps me motivated and in shape, and swimming helps me relax. As for sketching, it provides an outlet for my feelings that might not surface otherwise. I believe art is the only creation for which an individual can take credit. An artist captures inspiration and manifests it so that everyone can share the experience. The Youth Insights program offers a unique opportunity for a very diverse group of people to come together on a level plane—the world of art. I think it is imperative to learn from the elderly as much as we can because they can provide insight into our future. I really appreciate the fresh perspective younger people can offer. There is a misconception that only children can be innocent, but from being around them, I realize that there is purity inside all of us.
Hi, my name is Jasmin and I live in the Bronx, where I was also born and raised. I'm Puerto Rican, though I consider myself a New Yorker. I'm interested in writing, reading, and meeting new people. I am also interested in drama and performing on stage. I am currently the editor of my school newspaper, which helps me experience the world of journalism and editing. Youth Insights is an excellent program to be a part of because I feel it helps me develop my communication skills and interact better with people. I always look forward to meeting new people and enriching my knowledge of American art. I am interested in art because it is so expressive and unique to each artist. It is a way for artists to express themselves creatively without using words. I think that working with senior citizens, as well as with children, teaches me a lot, not only about myself, but also about those around me. I respect senior citizens and learn from them, just as they learn from me. The best part about being with children is that they always make things more interesting and fun.
Hi, my name is Jennifer. I was born and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens and I am Bengali. I like psychology because it gives a lot of insight into people's personalities and their actions. I have learned a lot about myself while taking psychology courses. I also like to watch old movies because the plot and acting make them great, rather than the special effects. My fascination with the past is another reason why I like to watch old movies. I am interested in Youth Insights because I have never worked in a museum, and it gives me chance to learn more about art. What I like about art is that no one can be wrong. Art gives people a variety of ways to express themselves. I like working with older people because they have experienced so much. I would love to know what life was like in the sixties and seventies, and only my elders have lived during those times. I like working with younger people because they are full of energy.
Hi, I am Kamira. I live in Brooklyn, but I was born in Nashville, Tennessee. I am African American. My career interests are in law and criminal studies. I want to be able to study the minds of criminals, to understand why they do the things they do. I am also interested in art. I have to take time to think about "What is art?" and "Is what I'm doing artistic?" I like Youth Insights because it helps me grow as a person. I am used to getting my way all the time, and Youth Insights allows me to interact and compromise with other people. Working with older people is fun. Usually older people think they know everything, but yet they still want to know what you know. I like working with younger people because they want to know everything. But, sometimes it's hard trying to explain things to them. So, it's usually a learning experience breaking complex information down for them.
My name is Lauren and I am African American. My grandparents are from South Carolina, but my mother was raised in Brooklyn. I love all kinds of music, performance art, poetry, and sculpture. My main visual interests are graffiti art and avant-garde fashion. I think art expresses innermost feelings in ways that people can see, feel, hear, and touch. It makes things that are intangible, tangible. I want to go to art school and major in art history. Working with younger people shows me a more uninhibited way of thinking and seeing the world that opens my eyes to see things I have not noticed before. Working with older people shows me the good and bad things about the times before me, and allows me to decide what lessons I am taking with me into the future. In the future, I see myself becoming a more worldly person, more fabulous, more confident, and punctual. I'll be more in touch with my own creativity and fabulousness, and I'll be surrounded by people that I respect and value and vice versa.
My name is Nahid. I was born in Bangladesh, and I now live in Queens. My ethnic background is Bengali. I like playing the flute. I love music, and the flute is one of my favorite instruments. I have been playing for a year. I also like playing tennis because it is a fun game, but sometimes I'm hindered by the weight of my racket. Participating in Youth Insights helps me develop my artistic side. I like working with older people because I feel secure when I am around them. Also, they have more knowledge about life than I have. I like working with younger people, because it feels good when you know that they are listening to you, especially when they look up to you and consider you a role model.
Hello, my name is Rafael. I am sixteen years old. I was born in the Dominican Republic. I came to New York when I was four years old, and I presently reside in the Bronx. I am very interested in computer graphics and comic book illustration. I am a second year Youth Insights participant. I have so much fun and it is such an exciting program, that I had to return. As I further enhance my tour-giving skills, I am also helping first year Youth Insights participants develop their skills and tours. I like working with older people because it gives me a chance to learn more about what life was like at another time or even at the beginning of this century. Older people also have a lot of experience with many different things and their advice sometimes helps me through a problem. I like working with younger people because it lets me remember what it was like to be a kid and how much I have changed.
Hi, I'm Rita. I'm a high school sophomore. I was born and raised in Queens (yes, all fifteen years). I'm very Italian American. When I'm not in school or at the Whitney, I'm watching sitcoms or listening to the radio. During the weekend, I like to go shopping with my friends. Even if I don't buy anything, I still have fun. I also like to draw (actually, it's more like doodling) and cook. I only draw when I'm bored or nervous. When I get the urge, I draw on everything from paper napkins to homework, and even myself. I absolutely love art because there are so many possibilities. I'm not exactly a genius when it comes to facts, so art class was where everyone would say "Hmm . . . interesting." However, now I think there is a lot more behind art than a pretty picture. I love the thoughts and ideas that go behind the work, especially conceptual art. I joined Youth Insights because I love art and I want others to enjoy it the way I do. Working with younger and older people gives me an opportunity to meet new people that have different perspectives on art. Older people give me their knowledge that I can hopefully share with younger audiences.
Hi, my name is Shahrina. I live in Queens. My main interest is in archaeology. I have found old artifacts to be fascinating since I was a little girl. Someday, I hope to become an archaeologist and make a big discovery. To me, works of art have an intense power all by themselves. An artist has the great power of turning the simplest materials into something that has a tremendous effect on its audience, both physically and emotionally. We express our deepest emotions through art, which can't be said with words. It also helps us identify who we really are inside. I gain a lot of knowledge by working with older people and they provide important insights into how our future may be. Their point of view teaches me what life really has to offer. By working with children, I can remind myself of how I thought when I was their age. I like Youth Insights because I have a special interest in the arts. I am learning to become a better speaker in front of a large crowd, which is helpful now and later on in my life.
My name is Stella. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and my parents are Haitian. This is my second year participating in Youth Insights. I am working on becoming more of an advocate for my space and beliefs, and I'm looking forward to further developing my communication skills. Understanding the diversity in others and my own diversity is really important to me. Art has many definitions for everybody. To me, art is the freedom to express oneself without harming others. To depict what reality is, even in an abstract or surreal form, shows some form of what the world looks like through the artists' eyes. The elderly are so experienced with history, that when you give a talk on works of art created during their time period, they provide so much input on what they have seen and experienced. Younger people are bright and imaginative. They see things grown-ups don't see because they look at art in their own funny ways. Never underestimate a child's mind.
My name is Steven. I was born and raised in Queens. Both my parents emigrated from Eastern Europe, and my siblings and I are first generation Serbian Americans. I love photography, painting, writing poetry and short stories, swimming, and playing tennis. I love photography and painting because they let me share my individual views of the world in a creative and imaginative way. I like writing because it allows me to caress souls that would normally be out of my reach. Swimming and tennis allow me to challenge myself physically and help me manage my aggression. I love art because it allows everyone to express a different view of the same world. I have always loved American history, and enjoy seeing how it has influenced American art.