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    • Rawald’s sequel piece features masking tape circles that form shadows.

    • Rawald made her first creation in Studio Art with acrylic and masking tape.

Artist of the Issue: Alix Rawald

Shriya Sakalkale ’24 Lead Arts Editor Olivia Yu ’26 Campus Correspondent
For as long as she could remember, Alix Rawald ’24 has been surrounded by art.
For as long as she could remember, Alix Rawald ’24 has been surrounded by art. Whether it’s looking at paintings and sculptures in museums, admiring her role models’ art, or crafting elaborate pieces herself, Rawald has truly made her mark on the Hopkins Arts Community.

Having grown up in London, a city imbued with a vibrant cultural scene, Rawald credits the city for her
introduction to the art world. As a child, Rawald admits that, “I didn’t really appreciate how much history was
around me.” Yet it was during “school [arranged] field trips to museums once a week” that Rawald truly learned “how valuable art is in culture, and how important artists are.” Spending hours moving from room to room,
looking at “statues from the Parthenon” and “ see[ing] pieces from East Asia,” Rawald describes these moments as “incredibly overwhelming...but in a good way.”

For Rawald, one museum in particular stood out from the rest: the Tate Modern. With frequently changing exhibitions, she remembers “often go[ing] [to the museum] on the weekends to see what’s new.” Rawald
remembers the museum’s several abstract exhibitions, with some of her favorites being “huge commissions like the Weave of Textile Language or Empty Lot.” In Rawald’s opinion, these installations “had the biggest impact on my. current art” especially because “see[ing] such a variety in modern art encouraged me to experiment with more materials.” Now as a senior in high school, Rawald still visits local museums, as she
wholeheartedly believes that these trips “had a really big impact on the way I learned about my surroundings and learned about different cultures. It was kind of like learning the [artistic] language.”

An equally important influence in Rawald’s artistic development has been her family — her siblings all being
artistically gifted in their own right. Growing up nearly a decade younger than them, Rawald admits that at times “[they] weren’t so much of sibling[s] as they were purely role model[s],” and that given their vastly different personalities and interests, “art seemed like one of the only things that [they] could relate to.” Rawald’s eldest sister created a piece while she  was in high school that Rawald remembers to date: “[She
made] this huge ceramic tower of three cupcakes that had icing that looked like Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I was so impressed and proud– it made me want to do something like that.” Later on, when her eldest sister came home to visit from college, Rawald recalls doing various art projects with her, with one memorable endeavor being, “[the] trick where you’d melt crayons on paper with a hairdryer.” Rawald’s other sibling, currently studying for their masters at the Pratt Institute in New York, has “had the biggest impact on me as an artist.” Rawald describes her sib- ling as, “[especially] talented, [and] always best in their class.” A piece of theirs that Rawald has always admired is. “a ceramic beetle with metal gears and bits, [whose] body you could take apart into three pieces.” In Rawald’s mind, creative expression has always brought her closer to her siblings, as she adds, “Art has created a really strong bond between us. I think [that’s] because even when we’re fighting, art is like an unspoken truce.”

Rawald’s personal growth as an artist has come from the risks she has taken, especially during her art classes. In Studio Art 3, she recounts her first day of class, remembering when Derek Byron, the Visual Arts Teacher, “introduced the class [saying] ‘I don’t want you to be inside your comfort zone.’” Rawald concedes that the statement was off-putting, as she says, “I have always stuck inside my comfort zone. I have always been drawing and painting strictly.” Still, far from discouraged, Rawald took her first steps outside of her safe zone. Deciding to deviate from drawing, she started “using all kinds of materials.” Admittedly unsure what path her
art would take, in her exploration of different mediums Rawald eventually came across the one she would use to create her first piece for the class: masking tape. A seemingly unlikely medium, Rawald jokingly shares that, “I didn’t have an idea what I was doing at all... but [I know] it looked like a picture.” She later explains her thought  process using, “just masking tape and acrylic,” with her primary aim to “create different values.” In her prior pieces, Rawald admits that she was merely “drawing to get a picture out” but by “[leaning] into the idea of [shaping the piece around] a material to use... [I worked] deeper with the material.” Among many pieces she would go on to create in that class, for Rawald this one holds a special place, being “the first time I could experiment with my art.”

From there, Rawald started to explore other mediums, leading her to arrive at some of her favorite pieces to date. Given the success of her previous project, Rawald wanted to create another piece that “focused solely on the material.” With this goal in mind, Rawald picked crepe as her medium of choice, which she explains is a paper material that shares a resemblance with “white chocolate.” Rawald describes working on the crepe creation as “very repetitive, but [fun] to make,” so much so that she created a “sequel” to this piece — this time made from “acrylic and masking tape circles.” For Rawald, this sequel piece was incredibly enjoyable, and allowed her to continue her growth as an artist. She shares, “There wasn’t really a subject [for the piece], [and] I just wanted to embrace the material in a very organic way.” Delineating her artistic process in great detail, Rawald concedes: “[At first], I didn’t know how it was gonna turn out. I was kind of pushing it out. [But] once I finished [and] held it up against a wall [the masking tape circles] made shadows.” This end result took Rawald by surprise, but for her that “made it even better.”

Being such a vital aspect of her life, and an in- valuable way in which she can connect with the world around her, Rawald wants others to be afforded the opportunity to explore art for themselves. Having had the opportunity to explore art in depth in various classes, she wishes “that more schools would incorporate art into
their curriculums.” For her, “it’s been a way to connect with a bunch of different people without having to say
anything.” Rawald also emphasizes the incredible significance art holds in everyday life: “[It] is so telling of
what society is going through, and how people respond to their environment. If there’s war, famine or a burst of
a religion... I think it’s so important that we know that we’re able to connect art to facts because it’s so personal.”

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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
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