THE WALL - art exhibit at Seaquam Secondary

May 28, 2015

THE WALL - art exhibit at Seaquam Secondary

Students, parents and staff at Seaquam Secondary School are in for a treat this week. For a brief time, until Wednesday, June 3, they get to catch some of the best student artwork on display at The Wall. This FREE exhibit matches the quality of many university displays, and the students in the IB Visual Arts Program did everything from producing their individual pieces to the curation of the entire display.

"My students are encouraged at every turn to engage in collaborative approaches to their work. Whether it is during the planning phase for a project or in its production, the studio projects require these young artists to share ideas and work together," explains IB teacher Bruce Emmett. Bruce has been teaching the IB Program for almost 5 years, and has been with the Delta School District since 1997.

The Youth Arts Program has been running at the West Vancouver Museum for a decade and has received awards from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for their contribution to architectural education. In 2011, it was the first time that the program has run outside of the museum, here at Seaquam with the IB Program. The West Vancouver Museum has been partnering with the District for over 3 years to enhance the program.

For more information about the IB Program, please visit:

"During my time as an IB art student, I’ve had a great opportunity exploring many new and different aspects of art that I’ve never attempted or known before. First year, I solely focused on drawing and painting as central mediums for my artwork. My portfolio showcases my passion for creating art revolving around the foundations of nature and living creatures in unusual shapes, matters and form. I believe nature is the backbone of our existence, and I draw inspiration from it, as an expression into the deeper, more emotional and personal spaces in my mind. Throughout senior year, my perspective in expression and the figurative grew. With my newfound perspective, I also learned to stretch beyond my comfort zone and take on risks with materials and techniques that I previously dwelled little in. Currently, I’ve been in love with using collage as my main medium and incorporating everyday materials like hole reinforcements, stickers, buttons and nail polish to create three dimensional aspects in them. My influences and inspirations are collage artists Hollie Chastain and Naomi Vona. We all tend to incorporate complex shapes, patterns and sketches in our collages. Ironically, in the past year, I wasn’t too comfortable with collage. Before, the medium of collage was a challenge and fear of mine. However, as I dabbled into its element, I found passion in its simplicity and freedom. Through my collages, I have been able to feature emotional and mental themes of adolescents through my choice of unique magazine pieces and composition. They exemplify a multidimensional space where a variety of personal thoughts and ideas coexist. Overall, my time in IB Art has challenged me as an illustrator and I hope to further my imaginative growth while studying next year at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design." -Sabrina Lam



"In art we ask questions that strip away the false sense of comfort associated with life as leisure, not a grind. Having grown up in a family of artists in their own right, IB visual arts has been my outlet, my comfort, and my home for the past two years. By taking a critical view of social, political and cultural issues, I am able to realize the potential in conflicts and the disastrous effects of being content (such as the suppression of freedoms in Mao’s China). Through my investigations into nature, lights and modernist architecture, my work approaches familiar issues with a new outlook that provide a hypothetical proposal into social issues such as entrapment and fear. These themes are often rearranged into installations that juxtapose technology with nature. During the past few months, I became interested in the symbiotic relationship between what is perceived to be natural and manmade[1]. This investigation has made me realize that often, I am guided by the materials I work with, without having a clear intent or purpose behind the process[2]. I strongly believe that art, as realistic as it is, can only act as a reference into social issues that the viewer must explore for themselves. My projects thus far have been formed on the pleasure of aesthetics and the satisfaction of the process. Most of the time, a discovery of material is made and the desire to get to studio work right away almost always overpowers any sensibility I have. Having gone through this experience, I now carry a suspenseful eye and a wrenching conscience, to never, ever, accept things as the way they are. This is my artistic rigor. This is Ting Lai."

[1] Prevalent in works like, Skye, 2013, influenced by Andy Goldsworthy.

[2] Such as Process art and Arte Povera.


"The photographic image is a major aspect throughout my work as photography is one of my strengths and passions. Through my experience in the IB visual arts program I found myself applying and expanding my ideas about photography beginning with concepts of architecture. My art then began to involve the manipulation of the viewer’s perception of photographed objects, such as Circuit City (2013), by skewing their sense of scale and perspective. When creating our own exhibit with the West Vancouver Museum, I chose to present my photographs in a light box to create a serene ambience and natural glow for viewers to experience as they see my work. Similarly to the photographs of Rinko Kawauchi, my photographs later on attempt to create a mood with the surrounding and the point of view with a rather mundane subject, particularly in Soft Metals (2014).  I also found myself taking a departure from what I was used to by exploring film, collage and painting. This was quite challenging for me as I wasn’t used to using these types of mediums. For example, Pixel Paintings (2014) was challenging as I was not as comfortable with a paintbrush as I am with a camera. However, by discovering street artist Kelly Goeller and thinking about her pixel interventions I was able to come up with a project where the process was very much part of the art next to the painting itself. As my work took a few surprising turns, the presence of the “found” subject has been consistent through my artistic process whether it be objects or points of view.  As a photographer, my pictures are a result of not only what I find but also how I see the world around me."  -Lauren Smart



"During the two years of IBVA study, I have found some meaning and reasons behind my artworks that I could not explain before. The intensity of this program helped me realize my focus and interest as an artist. I have become affirmative about my passion for architecture and that I would love to pursue this career track in the future.

In Grade 11, I put my focus mainly on the principle concepts and styles of architecture as I investigated into different architects and modern art movements.  For instance, the International Style[1] led by Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe. Heavily influenced by their work, Mie’s idea of “less is more[2]” in the use of materials and design became a label of my artworks. I started using black, white and grey in my paintings and constructing models based on simple floor plans with open living spaces.

In the summer of 2014, I went to Douglas Coupland's exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I came to the realization that literally, anything could be art. Also inspired by the work of minimal artists such as Tony Smith and Donald Judd, I started thinking and creating simple using everyday materials.

At the beginning of grade 12, I started to work in series based on the idea of framing. During the process, I also explored Marcel Duchamp’s readymade[3] and how juxtaposition is used in art making.

Throughout the two years of IB Art studying, I have researched many different forms of art revolved around modern architecture. I learned to observe better and appreciate all aspects of everyday life.  At the same time, I’m ready and excited to begin my architect journey at the University of Toronto."  -Vi Chen

[1] (Accessed: 03/21/15)

[2] (Accessed: 03/25/15)

[3] (Accessed: 02/26/15)



"For the duration of the past two years in IB Visual Arts, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my interests as an emerging artist and break out of my comfort zone of illustration. With my work constantly developing and changing, I often struggled finding my own style and personal taste in art. In my first year of IB Visual Arts, I had a particular interest in the intersection of the quotidian life and the world of fantastical illustration. I closely studied the world around me; the everyday things I saw or heard would permeate into my work. In December of 2013, our class displayed a show that investigated spatial interventions and the nature of architecture. I struggled to refrain myself from running to the comforts of illustration and break out to experiment other medias. From my exploration of architecture, I made my first installation piece. This piece was the path that helped a completely new territory to emerge before me, leading me to explore more installation pieces in my senior year of IB Visual Arts. I have begun a new investigation of process, conceptual and installation work. One of the most fascinating artists I had familiarized myself with is Andy Goldsworthy, who works with the natural materials that are readily available to him, and often destroys it immediately after its creation. He says that “[his] art is an attempt to reach beyond the surface appearance”, which ties very closely to my ideologies of art making. To me, the process of a piece is just as, if not, more important than the final product itself. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to explore the aspect of process, and I hope to continue my exploration as I enter my first year of Illustration at Ontario’s College of Art and Design University."  -Julia Mathew



"I can safely say my initial experience within the IB Visual Art program could probably be summed up in one word: aimless. I did not necessarily have a very distinct goal of where I wanted to be other than the fact I wanted to draw some pretty pictures, hoping that would get me somewhere. I had thought I wanted to become a concept artist, designing characters and environments for some big video game company, and I had thought that my poor attempts to pass off mediocre illustration to rival that of Martin Deshambaul (senior concept artist for the Assassin’s Creed franchise) and Jen Zee (lead art director for Transistor). ‘Had’ being the key the word. While I have figured out that I do not, in fact, wish to have a career centred on my art, which does not mean I have abandoned it, far from it. Queue my introduction to the lovely and wonderful world of collage. If a person had told my past self that I would be doing collage and handing it in for a grade, I would have probably stared at them, bewildered, before asking them how they got into my house and stating 'I’m calling the police'. Anyhow, I had come to discover collage really is not all that of a boring medium, using found materials and to create new meanings for said materials is really rather exciting. Inspired by the macabre works of Jesse Draxler who creates haunting images to the wonderfully vintage aesthetic of Holly Chastain, I had found a new outlet to express myself, to create new stories to describe my interests and slightly questionable humour."  - Susanne Haupt  


The junior IB students will be working hard over the next couple of weeks to generate exhibit-quality work and a professional-quality exhibition. They will be working alongside Isaac Vanderhorst of the West Vancouver Museum and focusing on architectural methodology when approaching contemporary visual arts. The next show, "UNREGISTERED", begins June 9 in Seaquam Secondary School and it will be one not to miss!