It’s official! The Mayor of Miami has officially declared today to be YoungArts Awareness Day. It’s a great way for artistic-minded individuals to support the arts organization, National YoungArts Foundation, whose store is on Zazzle. Any purchase made will help benefit this amazing nonprofit organization. It’s time to get excited because events are taking place today in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. There will be pop-up performances on the street in these cities – so keep an eye out! Zazzle loves to support young artists, and you can read our earlier interview with Vanessa Leitman, head of communications. Today we are fortunate to speak with Lee Pivnik, a 2014 Visual Arts winner, who is about to enroll in the Rhode Island School of Design.
Tell us about yourself Lee. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida.
We enjoyed looking through your portfolio. What is your artistic training?
A lot of my artistic training is based on trial and error. I went to Coral Reef Senior High, and was in the Art Academy there, where I received 4 years of art classes from Mr. Scott Mckinley. He was superb, and taught me everything from painting to sculpture, and was always open to letting me experiment with whatever media I wanted. I was also a student at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Pre College Program, and I interned for Lucinda Linderman, a sculpture artist here in Miami.
How did you first hear about the National YoungArts Foundation?
YoungArts sent a vivacious representative named Deborah to our school for a couple years, and it became a huge part of our curriculum to apply every fall to YoungArts. When my friend Martin Gargalione was a Youngarts Finalist in 2013, I started going to their events, and really got to know the foundation better.
It’s so great that you created this artwork to sell on Zazzle with the proceeds to benefit the National YoungArts Foundation. What was your inspiration?
I’ve been working with superimposing images and overlays since 2012, after I was inspired by old double exposures in film cameras. The portfolio I applied to YoungArts with was based completely on overlaying abstract paintings on faces. So I kind of see this as a natural continuation of my work. I also wanted to portray the spirit and diversity that YoungArts is so focused on recognizing, so the basis of this work is that the people pictured are actual YoungArts Alumni representing different disciplines.
You’re going to the Rhode Island School of Design! Congratulations! I’m sure you had plenty of choices about where to go to school. Why did you pick RISD?
Everyone knows New York is the contemporary art hub of America. So I originally looked into schools there. But to be honest, New York was intimidating, and I wanted to focus on improving my art, rather than selling it at least while I was in college. RISD was the perfect answer. Its classes and professors are some of the best in the world, and with a 30% international student body, you get an incredible world view. And New York is only a short train ride away, so I can always stop by on the weekends.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
This is going to contradict my last answer, but probably New York! After I finish school I want to have a studio and focus full time on making art, and – hopefully – make some money as I do that. I would love to get my work international attention.
Any advice for other aspiring artists?
Yes! Are you 18 or under and still in high school? You should apply to YoungArts! It’s incredibly cheesy to admit but YoungArts seriously changed my life. And I’m only just starting to work with them. Other than that, apply to all of the contests you come across, and just get your art out for the public to see it! A large part of making the art is getting it seen by others. Don’t forget that. Be dedicated and professional, no matter how old you are.