Ella Siepel created a spectacular mixed media sculpture that vied for a spot in this spring’s Long Island’s Best exhibit at the Heckscher Museum. The Huntington High School junior has been working closely with art teacher Ayallah Jeddah for many years and she has developed a style that is uniquely her own.
Mr. Siepel named her piece, “Revolution” and it provokes a series of emotions. “It’s comprised of a variety of things she made as well as materials she collected and manipulated to fit her vision,” Ms. Jeddah said.
Participants in the Long Island’s Best program choose a work of art in the Heckscher Museum’s collection as the starting point for their own creative process. The teenagers then interpret the respective pieces through their own art.
Ms. Siepel drew inspiration from Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso’s self-portrait titled, “Varo’s Moon.”
“Upon seeing ‘Varo’s Moon’ I was immediately enthralled by the themes of entrapment and light,” Ms. Siepel said. “Dellosso draws from Celestial Pablum and Star Catcher where Varo’s use of the caged moon as a female presence is representing the idea of feeling trapped by the pressure of motherhood and the monotonous cycle that women are trapped into in order to fit societal expectations.”
Just like she approaches any subject, project or assignment, Ms. Siepel did her homework when creating her dazzling piece of artwork for the Long Island’s Best exhibit.
“In her painting, I was drawn to Dellosso’s use of the key to show that she holds the means to end the cycle that so many women feel confined to,” Ms. Siepel said. “I also was inspired by the theme of ‘feeding a caged moon starlight,’ giving a trapped object something that it needs to live, but simultaneously keep it confined in a way that is not conducive to its survival. In ‘Revolution,’ through my use of multiple moons juxtaposed with other found objects indicating entrapment, I wanted to convey the tumultuous and provocative emotions of feeling trapped, but also the reminder that entrapment is a finite experience and there are ways to escape.”
The high school junior and her longtime teacher really hit it off with each other. “Ella is a dream student,” Ms. Jeddah said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with her since she was in eighth grade and I have been able to really watch her grow as a person and artist. She’s creative, talented, a hard worker, enthusiastic and always willing to bounce ideas around, which makes working with her a lot of fun. The work she produces is always unique and beautiful.”
Ms. Siepel is not only a gifted artist, she’s a skilled athlete, too. She is one of the top Blue Devil cross country, indoor and outdoor track runners. She’s so good at so many things and art is one of them.
“I think I’ve always been interested in art to a certain extent and art was often one of the classes I enjoyed most in my early childhood,” Ms. Siepel said. “Some of my earliest memories involving art include attending a summer camp during early elementary school where I got to explore many different types of art, including painting, drawing and even ceramics.”
Ms. Siepel is an exceptional student who comes awfully close to acing each of her classes. But the time she spends in her high school art room is incredibly special to her and breaks up her day quite nicely.
“Though I only moved to Huntington in sixth grade, my experience with the art program here has been nothing but positive and over the years, but I have formed a special bond with one teacher in particular,” Ms. Siepel said. “Ms. Jeddah, my ceramics teacher for the past two years and my studio art teacher from eighth grade has been a wonderful mentor for me and helped me reach my full potential in many of my craziest projects. I look forward to another year with her. I’m always excited to see what else I’ll be able to create.”