Mixed media

By Elana Zeltser

Over winter break, Daniel Sunshine ’13 invited Avalon Nuovo ’13 to his house so she could experiment for the first time with spray paint cans he had bought but never used. A week later, she went back to Sunshine’s house and created a full-fledged mural on his bedroom wall in the spray paint medium she had tried only once before.

“I didn’t trace it out before hand,” Nuovo said. “I just started painting. It was a gamble for him, so I’m glad he trusted me.”

Nuovo is accustomed to playing with different art forms and materials. With two parents involved in art and design, she has been doing crafts for as long as she can remember.

“My grandpa designs museums and galleries, and I remember in preschool I would go over to his house and we would do craft projects almost every day,” Nuovo said.

While she has continually changed her preferred medium, Nuovo said she enjoys working mainly in acrylics, which she says can paint on practically anything, and gouache, which can be used as both an opaque paint and a watercolor.

“Also, those Papermate pens you can buy in a pack of 12 for like $4 are the best,” Nuovo said. “You can press down hard for a thick black line or use it to lightly shade.”

Doing five to six detailed drawings or projects a week, Nuovo has filled up countless sketch books that crowd storage space in her room or sit on shelves and walls around her house.

However, Nuovo’s art can also be seen frequently around school campus. Nuovo has been asked to do T-shirt or sweatshirt designs for the Jewish Student Union, the Middle School French Club, KHWS, Peer Support, Advanced Dance and the Harvard-Westlake Box Office. Nuovo’s illustrations could also be seen in Foreign Outlook, last year’s yearbook advertisements and on the cover of the “Fiddler on the Roof” playbill earlier this year. These designs Nuovo does on the computer, using her drawing tablet attachment and Photoshop. They can take anywhere from two to six hours to complete, she said.

“I always ask for any specific elements they want in the design, but it is not uncommon for people to not have much of an idea of what they want, so I often have to do some good brainstorming before I get started,” Nuovo said.

On top of that, Nuovo has occasionally been paid to do art or design projects. For instance, a logo she created can be seen on gottaminutemom.com.

Nuovo often makes home-made gifts for friends and family.

“It is frugal, and it’s also something I enjoy that will mean more,” Nuovo said.

Nuovo has gifted miniature sculptures, Converse shoes and tote bags that she drew on and home-made coloring books. She also made Mazelle Etessami ’14 a hand-painted cell phone case for her birthday. When Etessami’s friends saw the cell phone case, they paid Nuovo to make cases for them, too.

“It took me a while to perfect them,” Nuovo said. “I use those plain cases you can buy at Century City kiosks and paint on them with acrylics.”

Nuovo is currently in Drawing and Painting II, where her projects are assigned to her. At home, however, she created a band out of sculpture penguins, painted a guitar and has been working with Kidrobots, pre-made alien-like statues that she can turn into whatever she wants. In the past, she has made a rapper and a Frenchman.

“I have been really happy with the few I’ve done recently,” Nuovo said. “My style has really evolved.”

A tomboy growing up, Nuovo enjoyed drawing monsters, sci-fi creatures and Pokemon characters. Now she likes taking cartoons and rendering them human with different shading techniques.

Nuovo hopes that this hobby of hers will manifest itself into an occupation. She is now looking for an art internship over the summer. Her summer plans also include building up her portfolio for AP Studio Art next year, and updating her Flickr account. Nuovo posts pictures of her art projects each month onto Flickr to show people outside of her home and school what she has been working on.

Nuovo plans on applying to art schools, and she hopes to someday study at the Art Center where her parents went and met.

“I’m interested in illustration in general but not really from a fine arts approach,” Nuovo said. “I’m thinking about commercial or advertising applications for illustration, or possibly entertainment design and even animation.”              

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