Senior Highlight: Student pursues art career at Art Insitute of Chicago

Senior Brogan Drissell’s digital self portrait done on adobe. (Photo courtesy of Brogan Drissell)

Cristina Vasquez-Muñiz 
News Editor

“With visual art, I feel like I can really express myself,” said senior Brogan Drissell, aspiring artist.
Drissell, who has been recognized for several years as one of the top tuba players in the state, is also an artist who is involved and works in very different mediums.

He was recently accepted into School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Famous alumni from SAIC include Orson Welles, Georgia O’Keefe and Walt Disney.  Drissell is currently looking at all of the different colleges in which he was accepted into, including San Francisco, Boston, Maryland and other schools for the arts. 

Last year as a junior, Drissell was chosen as the first chair All-State Orchestra tuba player. Though Drissell has been recognized as a talented musician, he plans to pursue a career in art. “I’m studying art, but I still want to continue with the tuba,” said Drissell. “Since the colleges I’m looking at don’t offer music programs, I’m going to join the community bands so I can keep on playing.”

“Currently, I play in a four piece Dixie land Jazz band with my grandpa,” said Drissell. “We mainly play at retirement homes and places like that.”

Drissell’s fashion design teacher Joyce Unterreiner calls him “independent” and “a historian.” “He’s one of the most artistic students I’ve ever had,” she said. “He’s a very independent person.”

“Brogan’s really interested in how designers present their work,” said Unterreiner.

Andy Throm, Drissell’s current art teacher, uses the words “skillful and talented” to describe him. “He’s really creative, and likes to do a lot of detail on his realistic projects.”

Drissell has contributed much to the high school, including the RRISE Statesmen mural on the first floor by the cafeteria, which Drissell did in his sophomore year using spray paint. Drissell received a grant from the RRISE program to pay for his art supplies. In his junior year, he helped in recreating the new Turkey Day Centennial “Little Brown Jugs,” which are given to the losing team at Turkey Day.

“Right now I’m working on a series for my portfolio, which I’m calling Units of Communication. It’s like a telephone game, and how ideas and concepts get misunderstood,” said Drissell about his current project.

“I’m also planning on selling my art in different places, like the art shows on Cherokee and at the Contemporary Art Museum.” 

“I like to be interdisciplinary,” said Drissell.  He uses different mediums, including paint, sound, graphic design, spray paint and sculpture, but said his favorite is drawing.

“Brogan does well in all kinds of mediums,” said Throm.

Drissell is involved in art programs both in and out of school. “This summer I went to a precollege art program at the Art Institute of Chicago, and it was very inspiring. My teachers were very involved, and I learned about a more conceptual side of art.”

“My mom is an artist, and she would hold summer art camps for me and my friends, and she still does,” said Drissell about what influenced him to become interested in art. “My dad is also an architect, so I’ve grown up around a lot of art and creativity. Both my parents are just really creative people,” said Drissell.

“I’m definitely going to study art,” said Drissell about his plans. “I’d like to become an art teacher for a high school.”

“He’s a hard worker, and he’ll do really well if he applies himself,” said Throm  about how Drissell will do in college.

“I think he thinks he knows more than them,” said Unterreiner about Drissell going to college, “but I know he’ll do well. Everything he does is artistic in some way.”

“I make art for my own fulfillment of being an artist, not for someone else,” said Drissell.  He advised aspiring artists, “Look for art programs and classes outside of school. It’s good to broaden your horizons.”

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