Chamblee Students Throw Down at the Columbus Art Throwdown

Rasesh Joshi, Reporter

On November 4th, Chamblee High School’s brightest art students went to Columbus State University to take on some of Georgia’s best art students in the Columbus Art Throwdown. The invitational had workshops ranging from photography to metalworking and the competition lasted for a total of two hours. For many of the CHS art students, the Throwdown was a new experience.

“I wanted to go last year, but because of COVID, only four people could go, and I decided to stay,” said Emily Sharpe (‘23). “This year, I thought, ‘hey, it sounds like a lot of fun, so I might as well go.’”

Sharpe took part in the digital drawing workshop which was centered around the use of Photoshop and digital drawings.

“I was in digital drawing, so I worked in Photoshop and used a Wacom tablet. We were instructed to do a large canvas that took up most of the screen and then draw a scene,” said Sharpe. “I forgot it was a competition. When we were brought in and he started teaching us how to use Photoshop, I thought it was a small demonstration, but it was the competition, so I just drew what I felt was comfortable with.”

For Margaret Mcnally (‘24), the Columbus Art Throwdown pushed her outside of her comfort zone and helped her reach new heights.

“My competition was very abstract and I’m more of a realistic artist, so it made me really uncomfortable thinking about doing it, but once I got into it and was timed and started getting pressure, I took it naturally and what I created I’m really happy with and I got second place.”

Art has always been a big part of Mcnally’s life due to the influence of her family.

“I come from a family of artists, so I have been doing art ever since I can remember,” said Mcnally. “I don’t really have an inspiration. It’s always been there.”

Chamblee students work on their projects at the Throwdown. (Photo courtesy of Chamblee Art Instagram)

Other art students like Elena Vega (‘23) were motivated to pursue art by the world around them.

“It’s a combination of having a good art teacher and also the media that I consume even now,” said Vega. “Online I see a lot of art and I try to take influence from that.”

Vega competed in the ceramics workshop and although she had never worked with clay before, Vega felt that it was a great opportunity to try something new.

“I’ve never worked with a pottery wheel before,” said Vega. “I wanted to try something new. My work definitely reflected that it was my first time, but I learned a lot with it, so I had fun.”

Ms. Landers, Chamblee art teacher, sponsored the trip to Columbus and had many of her students represent the school at the Throwdown.

“There are different events and different teammates chosen based on their strengths in regards to the events that they’re going to have,” said Landers. “The Columbus State one was unique because it was actually a teaching workshop, so a lot of them were doing something that they were comfortable with, but then [others] had some element that was new or different, and they had to learn and grow as an artist in the process.”

Landers found out about the Columbus Art Throwdown through connections on social media.

“I follow the DeKalb School of the Arts on Instagram, and I saw that they were practicing for the throwdown,” said Landers. “I reached out to the guy that was running it because we had just gone down there last spring for something similar.”

The Chiaroscuro Challenge at the event
Photo courtesy of Chamblee Art Instagram

Landers believes that the Arts are integral to helping students connect and unite the world through a common understanding.

“I think that the arts in general are societal watchdogs. We have students that are passionate not only about issues in our world but […] are expressing things in a safe way for people to identify with,” said Landers. “We are communicating in a nonverbal way, in a universal language, [and] in a way that ultimately unifies people because we can all get the message.”