It is telling perhaps that Buffalo High School junior Sydney Hall describes her latest drawing as being “a little bit like an eye.”
After all, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho once wrote that “the eyes are the mirror of the soul.” And this eye provides a glimpse into Sydney’s soul.
In the center of the circular drawing — the pupil, if you will — are the words “WYO High School” in big, bold pen strokes. Surrounding the pupil is the iris — featuring both the words “Art Symposium” and a collage of images that exemplify the state that Hall calls home — Devils Tower, Old Faithful, a bison, even a UFO.
“I think of it kind of like an eye,” Hall said. “There are circles inside of circles, and on the top are different things that people would recognize. There’s Old Faithful and Devil’s Tower, and I threw in a UFO as a joke. I tried to make it very evocative of Wyoming but also reflective of my personality. It’s Wyoming as I see it.”
Hall’s fresh take on Wyoming landmarks earned her a rare honor earlier this month when her drawing was selected by the state’s art teachers as the winner of the Wyoming High School Art Symposium’s annual design contest. The drawing will serve as the logo for the 2021 art symposium, which is scheduled to be held at the Casper Events Center in April, and will be printed on hundreds of T-shirts and promotional materials for the event.
“I think it’s pretty neat,” Hall said. “I didn’t know if I would win or not, and I’ve never had something go statewide before. I think I have a new appreciation for my own art because other people are enjoying it.”
According to Buffalo High School art teacher Steven Heil, Hall is the third BHS student in 13 years to win the design contest. She won a close contest by just one vote.
“Her work ended up raising some eyebrows among statewide high school art educators and was a very close contender, beating out another quality student design by only one vote,” Heil said. “I am excited to see her drawing printed on hundreds of T-shirts that will be available for sale at this year’s art exhibition.”
Hall said that her statewide honor is the culmination of a lifelong passion for art. While she often chooses collage as her preferred medium of expression, she has also used colored pencils, charcoal and oil paints.
When taking pen to paper as she did for the art symposium piece, Hall’s artwork balances the realistic and abstract with a unique artistic style.
“Everything I draw is very circular and motion-oriented, and you can see the motion through my use of lines and texture,” Hall said. “My style is not very realistic and not very abstract – I try to do something in between because that’s what I find the most fun.”
Hall spent roughly four weeks on the art symposium drawing – first tracing it out in pencil and then inking it in pen.
“If someone tells me to draw something, I usually have an immediate picture in my mind, and that’s what happened this time too,” Hall said. “I added different details and texture and stuff, but the main idea didn’t really change. I just kind of built on it over time.”
Heil said that he was proud to have Hall represent Buffalo High School on a statewide level and said that this was just the beginning for a promising artistic talent.
“Sydney Hall is not only a strong, excitable young artist; she is a brilliant, charismatic, kind and thoughtful person,” Heil said. “I feel privileged to have Sydney as my student and given the conversations we have had, I know that moving forward she will be an increasingly positive force in the world.”