Beyond Labels and Meds – Statements


Aurora Ramos
She/Her, Age 16

I have my own set of problems but that’s normal– what I’m truly worried about is when my peers let emotions control their actions negatively when I could’ve done something to help them. I enjoy any form of artistic expression including visual and musical.

Vern Gordon
They/Them, Age 15

At my core, I am an artist. My art is a reflection of my mind, whether that means illustrating fantasy worlds that live in my head or expressing deeper emotions that I have difficulty putting into words. I began my artistic journey in dance at age 3 and have since explored drama and many different types of visual media since. All three artistic expressions make up my artistic self.

Gabi Fues
They/Them, Age 17

I am a junior in high school at the Chicago Academy for the Arts in the music department. My main instrument is bass and I am interested in songwriting and production.

Denise Kamgaing
She/Her, Age 16

I am a first-generation immigrant. I moved to the United States when I was young, so I don’t remember much about Cameroon. I’ve grown up in the US, with a supportive family, playing sports, making art, and getting an education. Recently I have been to visit Cameroon and the difference in lifestyle was a shock that really put things into perspective for me. Many people in America have taken for granted the privileges that they have including me. A free education was one thing I knew was a privilege, but I never really understood it because I didn’t like school. That was until this year I went back to Cameroon and met a teenage boy that lived in my family’s neighborhood. He was always working, but one afternoon while he was off work, my sibling and I had a conversation with him. We talked about traveling, the US, and other things. We then got on the topic of school and he asked what grade we were, then we answered and asked the same to him. He told us that he was currently not in school. So we asked if he had already graduated to which he replied with no, two years ago his father ran out of money to support him in going to school so now he is working so he can pay. He mentioned how he really loved school and missed his friends. That really stuck with me, and it has made me think about how many people go through the same thing. We all have problems but compared to the boy I met mine seemed minor. This experience made me have a more positive outlook on life and it made me want to raise awareness of strong teens in LDCs through my art.

Marcus Bui
He/Him, Age 16

I am Marcus Bui, who resides in NYC and enjoys the art of photography. Currently, I am attending high school at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan. I find photography to be a form of memoir in the same way an author writes his memoir as the connection and memory to the past, a mirror to the artist, and the feelings, people, and places held in the moment. When I’m not photographing or in school, I enjoy reading a lot of books, participating in sports, and spending time with valuable friends. At the moment, I find myself interested in pursuing a career in the medical field with regardance to psychology and psychiatry. Such an interest prompted such a strong desire in participation for this photography submission.

Ella Kemmerly
She/Her, Age 18

Art is a way I explore my emotions. My art is influenced by all the experiences, images, and art I have absorbed through my life; and each piece of art I make is shaped by my current emotions, the things I want to convey, and ideas that come to me during the creation process.

Through my art, I have delved deep into my experience with having ADHD. Not only did this process help me understand myself better than ever, but it also helps to bring awareness to the realities, and even joys, of being neurodivergent to whoever views my work.

Emotion is everything to me when it comes to art. Working in the moment, letting my art form before me, is the best way I create. Not only does this serve as a snapshot of my emotions, but it allows my emotions to be pure, going straight from my subconscious to the paper.

Sophia Byrne
She/Her, They/Them, Age 15

I like to hang out with my friends, I also like listening to music and create art pieces to show the people around me. All my life I’ve been surrounded by art, whether it be through drawing, literacy, or photography; Which I inherited my eye for photos from my dad.

Leah Guevarra
She/Her, Age 18

I am a senior in high school, I love photography, I have taken 2 photography classes in school, and drawing

Shawn Daniel
Age 17

I like sports, food, cars, games, watching shows and movies, and fashion. My favorite sport is basketball. One of my favorite shows is Breaking Bad.

Emily Szemiot
She/Her, Age 17

Hi! My name is Emily, and I’m a 17 year old living in New Jersey. I love photography and graphic design, which is what I will pursue in the future. I love being able to express my imagination and emotions through art, enabling me to show my creative side. My friends would describe me as kind, funny, loyal, hardworking, and artistic. Outside of school, I am a dancer, an avid book reader and music listener, and a part of my school’s marching band, where I play flute. I also love spending time with my friends and family, playing with my cat, and taking photos of everything around me. However, there are some days where anxiety can take control over my life. As an AP and honors student, sometimes the work makes me overwhelmed, causing me to feel panicked. My anxiety, also known as the voice inside my head, also causes me to question everything, including my worth and future. There are many times where I hide my anxiety from others through a happy exterior, which is what inspired me to make this piece.

Isabella Castillo
She/Her, Age 17

I am in 11th grade and I am apart of my high school Dance team. On the weekends I work at Playa Bowls near me. I am apart of 3 honor societies, and I plan on becoming a nurse in the future. Throughout my life time, I have always felt invisible by many people. I have had “friends” leave me from left to right. I have always felt like something was wrong with me. This picture represents the feeling of what it felt to be “invisible”. I know many teenagers go through this with different experiences. I wanted to submit this photo, so others are able to see what we feel like when we are not able to describe.

Zoe Robinson
She/Her, Age 17

Hi I am Zoe and I am in 11th grade I like to spend time with my family and friends.My favorite subjects are art,Digital photography, history, english, Spanish, and tv production.My favorite sport to play is basketball.I like watching basketball, racing, reality tv shows, horror movies and shows, and thriller and suspense movies and shows. I like to try new things and eat different foods.My favorite foods are Italian and Mexican foods.

Eleanor Gondek
She/Her He/Him They/Them, Age 16

I’m a smalltime artist who enjoys telling stories through their works. I run a couple webcomics on the side most notable “The Mansion with 1000 Rooms” which I’ve been working on since sometime in summer. I’ve been experimenting more and more with digital art though am looking to maybe dip my toes into film in the future. Generally I’m just a all around experimental type of person who has a lot of thoughts and ambitions all the time.

Aaralyn Ellison
She/Her, Age 17

I’m a highschool senior looking forward to attending an art and design college next fall. I like to paint, draw, create graphic designs, and play with my dogs. I normal day for me is going to school, listening to music, and working on any art pieces I’m excited about.

Eunice Cho
She/Her, Age 13

My favorite hobbies include creative writing, drawing, and playing tennis. I started going to an art studio at the age of 3, and continued my passion all throughout elementary and middle school. I hope to keep pursuing art in the future as well.

Juni Park
She/Her, Age 14

I like to go to the park with my friends and when I am at home, I spend time drawing or practicing the piano.

Robbie Sheridan
He/Him, Age 17

Submitted by Robbie’s Aunt, Wendy Sheridan: As a child I was fascinated by the concept of infinity. I loved math and science but had difficulty concentrating without my pill. My goal was to be a civil engineer. Later, I didn’t want medication anymore and would stop. I’d play my guitar, paint, write songs and poetry. I fell in love.

I had trouble playing songs until the end. I rarely completed an artwork. Trouble staying focused led to frustration, depression. I dropped out of school.

I traveled and saw more of the world and loved it. I jammed onstage and finally played songs to their end. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” – the simplicity of the music and depth of the words appealed to me.

I continued resisting medications.

They didn’t mask the pain or stifle the voice inside me, “DO IT.” Finally I hit a wall, I caved. That came in the form of  rope.

Those who loved me know I loved them back. As my 5 year old self used to say, “I love you more than infinity.” I’m sorry I hurt you but I know we’ll dance together again in the cosmos.

Alanna Oh
She/Her, Age 14

I’ve started art as a hobby since I was 9 but when i reached 7th grade I began to take it seriously and now it is my dream to become an artist.

Claire Ryu
She/Her, Age 14

I really enjoy playing golf and hanging out with my friends. On weekends, I wake up late and stay in bed. I like painting a lot because of feeling of the smooth brushes on the paper. On a normal school day, I tend to wake up late for school and put on whatever I find in my closet.

Seoyeon Kim
She/Her, Age 15

I am a 10th grader at NVOT high school. I was born in Korea, but I have lived in America for most of my life with a younger brother and two loving parents. I absolutely love art, whether it’s painting, pencil drawing, or just sketching on my homework sheets. Music is also one of my strong suits, as I enjoy listening to music and playing instruments, like the violin and the guitar. I used to play the violin competitively, and won many awards from it. Some of my other hobbies are playing video games, reading, photography, volleyball, and Tae Kwon Do. I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do since I was in 4th grade, and I am a 2nd degree black belt. Also, my school life is pretty challenging because I take all honors with 2 AP classes, but I am able to manage my workload well; I got straight A’s last year. My current long term goal is majoring in medicine at Brown University, and if possible, I want to take classes in, or minor in, art. So, I am very passionate about what I do, and I am very persistent in reaching my goals. I have very strong morals and I stand by them in everything I do. They include trust, loyalty, and persistence; I value my family, friends, and the things that I love doing.

Sophie Yoo
She/Her, Age 15

I’m a freshman in high school who was born into a Korean household. On a normal day, I would usually go to school, hangout with my friends, and go to art class.

HoJin Kwak
He/Him, Age 14

I moved to New Jersey in July and started high school a little while later. I like reading and drawing (mostly small doodles). I wake up 6:30-ish in the morning and leave for school at 7:30. Most of my classes are boring besides Biology. Biology is fun because I like figuring out how life works. After school, I have private lessons and homework. I don’t go out with friends a lot because I don’t have that many. Most days, I go to sleep after twelve. I’ve lived in Korea, South Africa, Nigeria, Poland, California, and now New Jersey.

Tamar Berkowitz-Henkin
She/Her, Age 16

I am a junior at Bard High School Early College Manhattan and I have lots of different hobbies. I have been playing violin for almost 11 years, and I recently took up guitar as well. I have been painting and drawing for many years as well. My school doesn’t have the greatest art program, so I’ve taken a few art courses outside of school. Columbus University offers a pre-college art course over the summers, so I’ve taken that course twice. I am also intellectually curious and academically driven so I care a lot about my studies and work in school. And that’s a little about me!

Kimin Kang
She/Her, Age 16

I’m a junior in Northern Valley Regional Highschool and I started art in 8th grade but due to covid, I stopped for a while and restarted in 9th grade. I like painting with blue, drawing with graphite, and mixed medias.

Joy Kim
She/Her, Age 13

I enjoy things like taking a walk with my dog, reading a fun book, and calling my friends. I’m currently reading a sci-fi book that a friend recommended.

Johanna Lee
She/Her, Age 15

I like creating from my imagination, whether it be writing, painting, or crafting. Listening to music, sketching, reading classics, and playing video games (rhythm games, tactical games, platforming games, rogue-like games, and puzzle games). I’m also good at whistling.

Seoyeon Sohm
She/Her, Age 15

During the quarantine, I was insecure about myself. Every time I saw those k-pop idols in TV, I was not happy with me. I started to go on a diet, and the result was bad. I was content about my outside self, but my health situation was already messed up. I tried to fix it, but it did not cure in a day. From then on, I regretted. As I was getting depressed, I realized that drawing cured me. I also realized that animals relaxed my mind. Now, I am a normal student who has a dream to become an architect and build my own house by myself. This dream has been in my mind since I was a child. As a child, I loved art. I loved to go to museums and draw. This is one of the reasons why I started to draw and paint. By participating in this teen art project, I feel like I am getting closer to my dream.

Zoby Miller
They/Them, Age 15

I am an individual who draws, read, watches youtube/cartoons, writes, or plays video games all day long. A few of my favorite games right now are Minecraft, Splatoon 3, and Deltarune. I dont really do much, but go to school and do the things I listed on ocasions. I am also a queer individual, I identfiy with the labels of Agender, Aromantic, and Poly.

Madeline Aliah
She/Her, Age 16

I am a 16 year old trans fem who’s been on estrogen for a little under a year, and is loving the changes. I became a writer to cope with the complicated emotions I was contending with at my former Christian school as my disabilities (chronic pain, dysgraphia, etc.) and Queerness caused me to drift apart from my peers, teachers, and our shared God. Leaving this school, I was faced with a world bigger, scarier, more depressing and far more dangerous than the one I had left behind. In the place of a shared God and religious text, I have been forcefully given the privilege of finding light within myself and my own literature. I would like to say I have met the challenge and then some. I started publishing my poems in our local college’s literary journal when I was 11, and since then, have been empowered to read my work publicly and see it published in many venues. Having brought stability to my own life through my writing, I am now trying to use it to bring comfort to the world as my new school is full of teens who struggle more than I do. When I die, I want to leave this earth better than I found it.