Lynnwood teens rock self-portraits at Schack

  • Tue Jan 17th, 2012 7:24pm

By Theresa Goffredo Herald writer

Hey man, remember those rock posters from the ’60s and ’70s, like the one of Jimi Hendrix with crazy colors and his hair all wild?

Well, kids from the Lynnwood High School life skills program got to rock some of this same kind of art.

Their poster-size self-portraits will be on display in the exhibit “We Rock” at the Willits Gallery in the Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett.

A free public reception to meet the young artists is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 19.

Lynnwood High School life skills teacher Kris Wetzsteon said this kind of out-of-the-box project is a great way for these students to express themselves.

“Sometime these kids don’t get the same chances as other kids, and it’s great to do this and have them feel special,” Wetzsteon said.

The life skills program is a special education program that serves students at the secondary level who have mild to moderate developmental disabilities.

The students who participated in the “We Rock” project are age 14 to 18. Some were able to draw and write while others needed “hand over hand” help to hold their pens and paintbrushes.

But all laughed a lot as they saw their faces transformed into larger-than-life poster art.

“It was kind of like in the Jimi Hendrix style of poster back in the day with crazy hair,” Wetzsteon said. “We encouraged the students to use whatever colors they wanted to use and be creative.”

With the help of volunteer Mary Peterson, the students looked at rock posters from the 1960s and ’70s. That sparked discussions ranging from favorite colors, to what it is that “rocks their world,” Wetzsteon said.

After photographing the students, their pictures were pasted on poster paper and then a gesso-type wash was applied to lightly obscure their faces. The kids then traced their prominent facial features and drew their idea of crazy hair.

The project helped promote imagination and artistic abilities, self-awareness and problem solving.

Public exposure with an exhibit at Schack goes a long way to enhancing the students’ awareness that they are part of the community.

“We’re all about including the kids with the general population and to pass the word that there are these kids out there who are very creative,” Wetzsteon said.

The “We Rock” exhibit will be up at Schack through Feb. 3. For more information call 425-259-5050 or go to www.schack.org.

Participating students are: Waleed Aslam, Cristian Benitez, Vanessa Diaz, Faith Fitch, Heidi Hansen, Amberly Parker, Jessica Peterson, Naomi Peterson, Daniel Primm, Kody Reed and Paulette Sialer.