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Wehn uses charcoal as medium of expression

By Roan Enright ’13, Aakash Jain ’14 & Brett A. Mejia ’13

Photo by Roan Enright ’13 Gus Wehn ’13 works on a charcoal drawing in Mrs. Debbie Cronin’s AP Studio Art class.

Gus Wehn ’13 meticulously scrapes the flaky black charcoal over his newest piece of art, a unique interpretation of “Under My Thumb” by The Rolling Stones.

Intently focused, Wehn’s eyes never waver for longer than a moment from the task at hand.

Such dedication is not exclusive to this specific instant.

Wehn has sought all year to hone his skill with charcoal, an art form he has found to be a strong suit.

“When I draw, I typically just put the pen or pencil down on paper and hope for the best,” Wehn said. “When it gets to be looking almost complete I try to look at where my piece can improve and how I can make it more unique and my own.”

Wehn began taking art classes at Brophy during his sophomore year with Mrs. Debbie Cronin, and has since taken several more.

“His work ethic is that he is very committed and is able to isolate himself and work on that one piece,” Mrs. Cronin said.

This year, as a student in AP Studio Art, Wehn said he appreciates the canonical works of the masters, such as M.C. Escher and Vincent van Gogh, though he finds artistic inspiration all around him.

“Typically I’ll see something done by some no-name artist and think of how I can add my own twist to their style,” Wehn said.

Though charcoal is his forte, Wehn said he also enjoys experimenting with colors to turn bland objects into images that spark interest in people and that he often utilizes colored pencils in his drawings.

“He always pushes the contrast. He has a lot of real light lights and dark darks and even in his cactus piece he had complementary colors and that created tension,” Mrs. Cronin said.

Wehn said his most challenging piece this year has been a charcoal drawing of one of his friends, Greg Goulder ’13, playing a trumpet.

“I was really surprised by how much interest and how many things he got out of that one resource where the student was playing the trumpet because the photo was not as exciting as his artwork, so I was very surprised at that,” Mrs. Cronin said.

Inspired by a photo captured by Jordan Bruner ’13, Wehn used charcoal and white pastel pencil to complete the drawing of Goulder.

“It was really difficult getting all the reflections in the trumpet to make it look like a piece of metal,” Wehn said. “I also had a difficult time deciding what to do with all the negative space
surrounding Greg. I really struggled getting myself to like the final of this piece … but Mrs. Cronin assured me that I did a good job, so I’ll take her word for it.”

Wehn said he is proud of the fact that his art pieces are unique, even inimitable.

“I think he has changed artistically over the years and that he has gotten to have a more sophisticated understanding of composition and of the balance between positive and negative space and the importance of creating energy between darks and lights,” Mrs. Cronin said.

Wehn said he tries to convey his own perception of the things around him through his artwork.

“How people perceive my pieces is totally subjective,” Wehn said. “However, I hope … they see them as more than just simple and ordinary and more radical and gnarly.”


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