Longing for Escape Leads to Creative Boom within Venice Community


Eric Lee, Reporter

There has been an increasing longing amongst teenagers and adults alike for some form of distraction during these chaotic times, which has led to a creative and artistic boom within the Venice community, rooted primarily in the visual arts.

To escape the chaos of the world we live in and to combat the negative emotions and stressful feelings that are side effects of the modern academic environment, some Venice students have made the most of their time stuck inside and turned to artistic expression, which temporarily transports them to another world where the problems and struggles of daily life no longer exist. 

Art teacher Tyler Fister recognizes the positive effects of creative activities on the mental and emotional state of those who partake in them.

“The visual arts allows for the mind to check out of the rational, thinking part of the world,” he said. “Any sustained practice where your mind is quiet and only focuses on one activity will relax both your mind and your body and give you a chance to reset or step back from the stresses of the world.”

Fister speaks from years of past experience, in which he says that the visual arts have been of great benefit to him.

“Art for me has given me so much. It gives me an opportunity to express my opinion and values and work through my emotions. Artwork and having a creative practice has helped me survive and adapt to the current state of the world, and in the past has allowed me to adapt to difficult situations in my life.”

He also sees the many benefits of partaking in artwork manifest in his students, who, he says, have seen it as a relaxing way of expressing emotions and as a coping mechanism. 

“A fair amount of students do feel after taking the class that they have another way of engaging with the world. They have said that this class allows them to relax, allows them to take a step back, and gives them something else to think about that isn’t stressful.”

Among these students is junior Rebecca Halbert, who uses her passion for illustration to develop her talent, get creative, and make a profit. 

One of Halbert’s illustrations. (Provided by Rebecca Halbert)

I really like to draw and improve,” she said. “I’ve always been ‘the art kid’ in school, but I started taking it seriously about two and a half years ago, and just opened commissions a few months ago.” 

Halbert sees her time spent illustrating as an escape from stress, and unlike other idle tasks, provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfies her free spirit. 

“It is my healthy stress relief from school,” she said. “I don’t feel guilty when I pull an all-nighter to draw like I do when I play video games. I get to draw whatever inspires me at the moment. It is rewarding.”

She also says that being able to draw is what has kept her energized and in good spirits throughout this ordeal. 

“At the start of the pandemic, the thought of isolation hit me really hard,” she said. “But drawing daily just helped me mentally and gave me an outlet to keep my creative juices flowing and my brain working. I have been able to burn time while feeling productive. Art is definitely therapeutic and healing. It has kept me sane.”

Halbert’s driving force is ambition, but for now, she’s content doing what she does. 

“I’ve always thought of art as a hobby and still do, even though I take commissions occasionally,” she said. “I just want to improve with every artwork and hopefully work on bigger projects in the future.” 

Senior Yareli Lorenzo, an artist and entrepreneur, has also taken advantage of the current situation by starting her own small business selling jewelry, which provides her with a source of expression and relaxation. 

“Making jewelry has become my stress reliever, especially since school started,” she said. “Everyday after I finish homework, I always look forward to getting my orders done. It benefits me and my community because in a sense, this business of mine has brought my family closer than ever.”

One of Lorenzo’s jewelry designs. (Kayla Leon)
One Lorenzo jewelry designs. (Kayla Leon)













The business has also offered Lorenzo a source of income for her family.

“I never really saw how much support my parents could give me until now, and it’s honestly such an amazing feeling,” she said.

Lorenzo has this advice for anyone considering taking up some form of art. 

“Be confident and dedicated,” she said. “Confidence is key. If you don’t trust your work, then who will?”