SSAE Online Exhibit: Pinellas County 2024

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January 13, 2024 – Indefinitely

student surrealist art exhibit online: 2024 pinellas county

“Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic”

Initiated in 1985, this annual juried art exhibition presents work by Florida middle and high school students invited to explore ideas inspired by the work of Salvador Dalí and Surrealism. Students are asked to experiment with such surrealist techniques as visual transformation, dislocation and symbolism.

This year’s theme, “Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic,” encourages students to explore the irrational, the spontaneous, the marvelous, the enigmatic and the dreamlike. The Fantastic is a genre characterized by monsters and demons, dreams and temptations, the fragmented body and the supernatural.  Artists associated with the Fantastic stretch back to the 1500s and include diverse figures such as Hieronymus Bosch, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Francisco Goya, Paul Klee and Salvador Dalí. 

Several key themes of the Fantastic are monsters and demons, dreams and temptations, the fragmented body and the supernatural. The Fantastic creates a moment of doubt or confusion for the viewer, making one unsure about what is being seen; it is the familiar made strange. Dalí once said, “…I try to create fantastical things, magical things, things like in a dream. The world needs more fantasy.” With this exhibit, our student artists now join this tradition. 

The Museum’s juried student exhibitions and receptions are funded by a generous gift from an anonymous donor and in part from a program endowment fund established by the Craig and Jan Sher Philanthropic Fund.  Additional support for this educational program comes from our Museum corporate partner, Bloomin’ Brands.


Middle School
Alphabetical order by school
(Click images to enlarge)


“Trapped To Never Return” by Mildred Mcallister

Mildred McAllister
Trapped to Never Return
Digital Art
Academie Da Vinci
Art Teacher: Wendy Stanziano
Grade 6



“No Vacancy” by Jane Pullin

Jane Pullin
No Vacancy
Mixed Media
Academie Da Vinci
Art Teacher: Wendy Stanziano
Grade 8



“Skull of the Universe” by Zayan Chowdhury

Zayan Chowdhury
Skull of the Universe
Digital Art
Bay Point Middle School
Art Teacher: Lisa Stefanik
Grade 6



“Overlooked” by Nayomi Vassas

Nayomi Vassas
Overlooked

Mixed Media
Bay Point Middle School
Art Teacher: David Smith
Grade 8


“Veil of Silence” by  Araina Dey Sarkar

Araina Dey Sarkar
Veil of Silence
Drawing
Carwise Middle School
Art Teacher: Lori Manning
Grade 8


“The Reality of Expectations” by Truitt Herrington

Truitt Herrington
The Reality of Expectations
Drawing
Carwise Middle School
Art Teacher: Lori Manning
Grade 8


“Stardust Serenade” by Sydney Karczewski

Sydney Karczewski
Stardust Serenade
Drawing
Carwise Middle School
Art Teacher: Lori Manning
Grade 7


“Under the Sea” by Chloe Stein

Chloe Stein
Under the Sea
Digital Art
Clearwater Fundamental Middle School
Art Teacher: Karen Santangelo
Grade 7


What inspired me the most was my art teacher, Mrs. Santangelo. Also, the gorgeous ocean in the Turks and Caicos is beautiful, which is what made me want to include water. Most people are fearful of sharks, so I thought it was appropriate to include one in my artwork. My waterfall contains many things which are representational of fascinations, including my fish and mermaid!


“Human Fishing” by Kyleigh Gower

Kyleigh Gower
Human Fishing
Drawing
Dunedin Highland Middle School
Art Teacher: Tom Schreiber
Grade 7


What inspired me is the effect of the Uncanny Valley. The Uncanny Valley is the feeling of uncertainty that someone may feel when looking at an object that looks human but not fully. I responded to the theme with humans mixed with fish, which provokes feelings of discomfort. My work deals with the Fantastic by creating an unnatural mix of creatures.


“Chilling On the Beach” by Norah Lange

Norah Lange
Chilling On the Beach
Mixed Media
Dunedin Highland Middle School
Art Teacher: Tom Schreiber
Grade 8



“Unlocking Personal Heaven” by Lilly Kunce

Lilly Kunce
Unlocking Personal Heaven
Mixed Media
James B. Sanderlin K-8 IB World School
Art Teacher: Erin Kivett
Grade 8

Unlocking Personal Heaven is an elegant yet random take on finding yourself through religion. Each part describes an emotion or piece of that process, like the sweetness of a cheesecake or the keys for when you know you’ve got it all figured out. I used watercolor and colored pencils to create this piece, which are mediums I am familiar with. It’s primarily watercolor for the base and colored pencils to bring in detail and texture.


Static (Oxymoronic) by Adrianna Xheka

Adrianna Xheka
Static (Oxymoronic)
Painting
James B. Sanderlin K-8 IB World School
Art Teacher: Erin Kivett
Grade 8

My artwork is called Static (Oxymoronic), and I used watercolor and ink. The figures represent past and present, symbolized by the style of TVs on their heads. The title was inspired by the fact that ‘Oxymoronic’ means two contradictory things together, like the past and present that are next to each other in my painting. The second part, ‘Static,’ connects to the fact that there is nothing playing on the TV heads.


“Piercing Visions” by Erin Asselin

Erin Asselin
Piercing Visions
Photography
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Sara Black
Grade 8

The person who inspired me to do this artwork is Lola Dupre. Her work is incredible and interesting. Thanks to her ideas, I was able to create this masterpiece. My work relates to the theme with the fear of being a nobody and having no identity or even a split personality. The rearrangement of facial features is surreal as the viewer can tell it’s a person, but one has to look longer to understand the identity.


“Thalassophobia” by Fletcher Becker

Fletcher Becker
Thalassophobia
Drawing
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Sara Black
Grade 8

I was inspired by my fear of deep, dark, large bodies of water. I responded to the exhibit’s theme by making a list of my fears and picking one. The element of my work that connects with the Fantastic is the giant sea monster that is based on extinct and deep-sea fish.


“Finger Food” by Emily Bowie

Emily Bowie
Finger Food
Mixed Media
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Kathy Talbot
Grade 6


“Nocturnal Beasts” by Lily Claudio

Lily Claudio
Nocturnal Beasts
Digital Art
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Jenna Hasbrouck
Grade 7

What inspired me was the violence of war and tyranny relating to the characters featured in my artwork. I responded to the theme of fears of war and death and fascination with alien worlds, which would also be fantastic. The elements of my work that connect to the Fantastic are the characters are from some post-apocalyptic alien world.


“Into the Deep” by Ava Glenn

Ava Glenn
Into the Deep
Colored Pencil
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Sara Black
Grade 8

My artwork is inspired by my own setbacks. I had made another piece of artwork for Surrealism, which I disliked. It wasn’t really me; it felt rushed, and it didn’t meet my expectations. This loathing encouraged me to make something better. When I first heard about the exhibit’s theme, I was very puzzled. I had no clue what I was going to do. The usage of positive and negative space connects with the Fantastic.


“The Rapture of Enlightenment” by Emeline Kirby

Emeline Kirby
The Rapture of Enlightenment
Digital Art
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Sara Black
Grade 8

I was inspired by numerous surrealist works relating to the topic of death. I feel that I responded to the exhibit’s theme by selecting the subject of mortality, something humans have been dreadfully intrigued by since the dawn of our existence. My work connects to the Fantastic because the objectivity of death contrasts so starkly with the concept of complete immortality that is present in many religions that both ideas seem almost fantastical when presented together.


“Burnout” by Holland Newman

Holland Newman
Burnout

Drawing
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Jenna Hasbrouck
Grade 8

I was inspired by the constant middle school feeling of burnout, sacrificing your mental health for grades and school. It connects to the theme with the idea of being burnt out and being trapped in other people’s reflections of yourself. I’ve always enjoyed fire and candles, and I think human skin melting is pretty fantastic.


“Split In Two” by Joe Reynoso

Joe Reynoso
Split In Two
Digital Art
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Sara Black
Grade 8

I experienced divorce at a young age, and losing things or changing things became a massive fear of mine. The event is also stressful as a child, and being separated from one of your parents makes you feel split in two. I decided to express this feeling in a more literal fashion: the child experiences a divorce and is being pulled by his parents, who do not know the harm caused by their anger.


“67 Bleeding Keys” by Jaelyn Russo

Jaelyn Russo
67 Bleeding Keys
Digital Art
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Jenna Hasbrouck
Grade 7

My love for playing piano is what inspired me to create this piece. I responded to the exhibit’s theme by taking it on with caution and considered how each characteristic of fear, fascination and fantastic flowed into my art. I connected with this piece with all the time I put into it and made it a horror of fear.


“Putridum Somnia” by Annabelle Capri Seward

Annabelle Capri Seward
Putridum Somnia
Mixed Media
John Hopkins Middle School
Art Teacher: Jenna Hasbrouck
Grade 8

I was most inspired by the process of decomposition. I responded to the exhibit’s theme by portraying my fear of dying and all the ways the human body can be re-arranged. I find the process of life to be a beautiful thing; the fact that we follow the cycle of living and dying is truly a fascinating experience.


“Acatalepsy” by Milo Pots

Milo Potts
Acatalepsy

Painting
Madeira Beach Fundamental K-8 School
Art Teacher: Kurt Schuster
Grade 7

“Acatalepsy (noun): The ancient skeptical view that no more than probable information is available to humans.” I was inspired by the fears of people. As humans, it is natural to be afraid. In fact, it was and still is necessary in keeping us safe. Yet many people have a morbid fascination with fears. The thrill of knowing anything could kill you was the same thing giving you motivation to live. It was this idea I wanted to explore. The blindfold allows people to place themselves in the work and consider themselves as “fantastic.” On the other hand, the spider, ants, and snake are all also a part of that group. They themselves are fantastic creatures. Lastly, the title ties to the theme by the fact it shows how little we know about fears and life in general, how everything can be fantastic. That is truly fascinating.


“Cake Head” by Cadence Davis

Cadence Davis
Cake Head
Mixed Media
Meadowlawn Middle School
Art Teacher: Edith Sorensen
Grade 8

Hello! My drawing is in the museum. That’s pretty cool! My drawing was inspired by desserts n’ stuff. Desserts like Ice Cream, Waffles, Gum Drops, Gingerbread and other various sweet things. I bet you didn’t know that! My response to the exhibit’s theme? Well, I’ve heard and seen what Surrealism is. It is very cool. I like things like that. I knew it would be a little hard for me, though. I’m not very good at realism, ha-ha…so I tried my best.


“A Heavy Purse” by Amber Johnson

Amber Johnson
A Heavy Purse
Drawing
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Art Teacher: Daniel Kervin
Grade 8

The creature walks, but why? The simple act of walking in our world is eye-opening and refreshing. People who drive to their 9 to 5 or stay-at-home jobs don’t get that experience. Walking in the community is really all we should do, in downtown, or the park, or the suburbs. If you’re short enough, then you could see this thing next to you minding his own business because the path you walk is not reserved to those who are like you. The Fantastical is outside, out in the world, and even exists in your office building.



“The Soul of Forest” by Yara Jones

Yara Jones
The Soul of Forest
Sculpture
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Art Teacher: Daniel Kervin
Grade 8

Dalí said, “…[I] create fantastical things, magical things, and things like in a dream. The world needs more fantasy.” I was inspired by two things: Goddesses and Nature. Nature is the place where you can find both fear and the Fantastic. I want to reconnect humanity with the unknown part of the forest, to understand that all spiritual and physical worlds coexist and interact. The forest is alive, just like any of us. It is there where you can find your soul, essence, courage, endurance and immortality. I give the Forest Spirit a face for humanity to dream about, a physical presence of this energy. We are all one in this universe, connected through energy from the beginning.



“Prince of Darkness” by Tatianna Moore

Tatianna Moore
Prince of Darkness
Sculpture
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Art Teacher: Daniel Kervin
Grade 8

The personal supreme spirit of evil represented as Christian belief and as the temper of mankind. He is the leader of all apostate angels.




“Behind the Mask” by K’den Surls

K’den Surls
Behind the Mask
Drawing
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Art Teacher: Daniel Kervin
Grade 8



“My Fascination of the Heart” by Mikayla Casale

Mikayla Casale
My Fascination of the Heart
Digital Art
Osceola Middle School
Art Teacher: Dwayne Shepherd
Grade 8



“Aaah! Wake Me Up From This Nightmare!” by Julie Anne Dador

Julie Anne Dador
Aaah! Wake Me Up From This Nightmare!
Drawing
Osceola Middle School
Art Teacher: Dwayne Shepherd
Grade 8


“Aaah! Get Them Off of Me!” by Alice Nguyen

Alice Nguyen
Aaah! Get Them Off of Me!
Drawing
Osceola Middle School
Art Teacher: Dwayne Shepherd
Grade 8



“My Worst Fear Is Coming True!” By Jayden Rivera

Jayden Rivera
My Worst Fear Is Coming True!
Drawing
Osceola Middle School
Art Teacher: Dwayne Shepherd
Grade 8



“Gives Me the Creeps! Out of This World!” by Jesse Tetrault

Jesse Tetrault
Gives Me the Creeps! Out of This World!
Drawing
Osceola Middle School
Art Teacher: Dwayne Shepherd
Grade 8


“Candle Water” by Lilya Hamdi

Lilya Hamdi
Candle Water
Painting
Pinellas Academy
Art Teacher: Ariana Myers
Grade 8

For this piece, I was inspired by a photo I saw online of a candle burning underwater. I painted a base with watercolor and added details with pencils and markers. What makes this art strange and surreal is that the hands and part of the head are candles, and they are underwater, which can’t make sense because candles can’t be lit and melt underwater. I also added an eyeball inside her mouth and made her nose bleed for added drama and to make it a bit more surreal.


“The Harvester” by Violet Markley

Violet Markley
The Harvester
Digital Art
Pinellas Academy
Art Teacher: Ariana Myers
Grade 7

I named this The Harvester because, in the artwork, there are plants, steaks, human flesh around the neck, and an eyeball. Those items have all been “harvested” by the spider in her eye socket and used for decoration and fashion. The spider is using the girl’s body as a nest and will continue to find more peculiar things to decorate its nest to its liking. For this piece, I used complementary colors. I thought they looked really cool together.



“Her” by Roselyn Baxcajay-Corona

Roselyn Baxcajay-Corona
Her
Drawing
Pinellas High Innovation
Art Teacher: Nancy Flannery
Grade 8

I drew my inspiration for this drawing from the story of Adam and Eve. The story details god instructing Adam and Eve to enjoy all of Eden except the fruit from the “forbidden tree.” Eve was tricked by the serpent (the devil) and convinced to eat from it. In my representation, Eve has become part of the four hands, tree in the background, and the doorway (drawn as his cloak) leads to hell, where the serpent was sent forever.



“Layered Curiousity” by Natalie Pagan

Natalie Pagan
Layered Curiosity
Drawing
Pinellas Park Middle School
Art Teacher: Sandra Robinette
Grade 8



“Insecurity” by Emily Nguyen

Emily Nguyen
Insecurity
Drawing
Pinellas Preparatory Academy
Art Teacher: Aimee Wickstrom
Grade 8



“Flight of Fancy” by Sienna Ruiz

Sienna Ruiz
Flight of Fancy
Digital Art
Safety Harbor Middle School
Art Teacher: Karen Haraminac
Grade 7


“Fantastic Service” by Sophia Drewke

Sophia Drewke
Fantastic Service
Mixed Media
Tarpon Springs Middle School
Art Teacher: Gabrielle Medina
Grade 8

Fantastic Service was influenced by diners in the late 50s. The bright colors, checkered floors, and an unnecessary number of pictures hanging on the walls give a sense of uniqueness paired with nostalgia that makes diners feel surreal. I wanted to capture these aspects in my art but add a twist. As ironic as this situation is, we can all agree that this is some strangely fantastic service!



“Floral Fantasie”s by Daphne Norton

Daphne Norton
Floral Fantasies
Painting
Tarpon Springs Middle School
Art Teacher: Gabrielle Medina
Grade 7

I was inspired the most by having a very broad spectrum of things I could create in my artwork since it is in the Surrealist style. I then responded to the exhibit’s theme, including mostly subjects that were out of place or just could never be there in real life, like the two rabbits in space. Lastly, the elements of my work that I connected with the Fantastic were the rabbit skulls, the flower planets, the ginormous mask pinned to Earth, and finally, the two rabbits in the space environment.



“Still Listening” by Lianna Crossley-Ward

Lianna Crossley-Ward
Still Listening
Drawing
Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School
Art Teacher: Nina Caruso
Grade 8

When I heard the prompt, “Fears and Fascination of the Fantastic,” I instantly thought of a ton of ideas for what to draw. I drew thumbnails of three ideas that I thought were good for this prompt, and I even had one that sort of fit the prompt better, but the thumbnail for this drawing just spoke to me. In my dreams, how I look is always warped to look terrifying. I thought I could finally put that on paper and see it in real life for not only me but hopefully others. Bugs and gross things always creep me out, and if I ever look at myself and find my face looks warped, I know I’m in a nightmare. I love listening to music and bright colors, and I love long hair and drawing long hair.



“Fascinated by My Greatest Fear” by Emily Fernandez

Emily Fernandez
Fascinated by My Greatest Fear
Drawing
Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School
Art Teacher: Nina Caruso
Grade 7

The idea of worlds beyond Earth and the limitless universe we live in has always fascinated me. However, while pondering the vastness and complexity of the cosmos, I’m often frightened by my own thoughts. I conveyed this by drawing a door representing knowledge, a clock representing time passing within the universe, and a nebula representing space. A figure stands before the door, hesitating, wondering if she should proceed or if ignorance truly is bliss.


“Exit?” by Kelsie Harrison

Kelsie Harrison
Exit?

Drawing
Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School
Art Teacher: Nina Caruso
Grade 8

Some might refer to this artwork as hopeless, bleak or even despondent. And yes, it is all those things. My artwork is about not being able to find the exit in life, like trying to find an escape route from homework. With colored pencils, pencils, and markers, this artwork tries to convey hopelessness, worthlessness, or fear to the viewer. Some influences and inspiration that went into this artwork are liminal spaces, those places that are empty/abandoned and may spark some sort of nostalgia. The word “liminal” means occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold—the space between one place and another place.



“Smile You're on Camera” by Ethan Dye

Ethan Dye
Smile You’re on Camera
Painting
Tyrone Middle School
Art Teacher: Karissa James
Grade 8

I wanted to combine the retro aspects of both videotapes and clowns with an added horror element. I feel the title is straightforward, as it is included in the art, but it has a deeper meaning, considering the character is wearing a smiling mask with eyes akin to black holes with nothing behind it at all. To me, this piece feels like the idea of putting on a happy face for others. I felt very confident creating this piece, and I feel the happy, yet sorrowful mood comes across well.



“Keeper of the Paintings” by Jenna Springer

Jenna Springer
Keeper of the Paintings
Drawing
Tyrone Middle School
Art Teacher: Karissa James
Grade 8

One of the things I have always gotten inspiration from is a dragon, which I decided to make exciting with anticipation and thrill. The Fantastic can be a surreal place where you don’t know entirely what to think. This can spur curiosity about what might happen. In this artwork, what do you interpret? Is it excitement, awe, curiosity? Or something darker, such as fear, danger or despair?


“Stuck In Jelly” by Natasha Viera-Fonseca

Natasha Viera-Fonseca
Stuck In Jelly
Mixed Media
Tyrone Middle School
Art Teacher: Karissa James
Grade 8

The inspiration for my artwork was a reference image of jelly. I thought of how surreal it would be to add someone stuck inside the jelly. I wanted my artwork to give a dreamlike fantasy feeling to the viewer, mixed with a feeling of fear.


High School
Alphabetical order by school



“Disease And Wellness” by Mariah Macmullin

Mariah Macmullin
Disease And Wellness
Mixed Media
Boca Ciega High School
Art Teacher: Mark Villinger
Grade 12

I was inspired by how, over two time periods, similar roles in the medical field could change so much in terms of tools, practices, and uniforms yet still keep their similarities to each other in those same categories. I responded to the theme by portraying the connectedness of both time periods. Using watercolor and charcoal, I depicted the “separated yet connected” through the mediums to the Fantastic.



“No More” by Olivia Skinner

Olivia Skinner
No More
Drawing
Boca Ciega High School
Art Teacher: Mark Villinger
Grade 12

I was given the prompt to create work based on fears. My biggest fear is dependency. I don’t like feeling permanently attached to anything that feels so temporary. I showed this by creating a subject whose decaying body was made almost entirely of an empty pill bottle with the girl floating above him, waiting for him to get better. Dependency shows itself in different ways, and it felt important to me to capture that.


“Fantastic Life And Fear of Death” by Alannah Bayly

Alannah Bayly
Fantastic Life And Fear of Death
Drawing
Clearwater High School
Art Teacher: Clayton Burkey
Grade 11



“Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” by Kaylee Burton

Kaylee Burton
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Digital Art
Clearwater High School
Art Teacher: Megan Hoffman
Grade 11


“We Glorious Three” by Chloe Busch

Chloe Busch
We Glorious Three
Drawing
Clearwater High School
Art Teacher: Clayton Burkey
Grade 11


“Time” by Trinity Mckee

Trinity Mckee
Time
Drawing
Clearwater High School
Art Teacher: Clayton Burkey
Grade 9



“The Inverted Experiment” by Alana Lewis

Alana Lewis
The Inverted Experiment
Drawing
Countryside High School
Art Teacher: Allyson Leja
Grade 11

One of the things that inspired me was discovering “body suspension.” Video games have also inspired me, specifically the sheep that played the role of scientists in the game “Catherine.” Fear is the element that strongly connects with the Fantastic. The body suspension, hooks tearing your skin off, would be a fear. Another fear scenario would be the retaliation for animal abuse, of animals having the ability to reverse roles and treat us how we’ve treated them.



“Hypnotic Escape” by Willow Barron

Willow Barron
Hypnotic Escape
Sculpture
Dunedin High School
Art Teacher: Sal Gulino
Grade 12

Nature has been a major inspiration for me throughout my artwork. I have loved observing the interaction between urban human culture and the natural environment we have derived from. The theme this year allowed me to take these elements and enhance them in a surreal and obscure way. I think, as a society, we can get caught up in the routine of a demanding profession, which leads us to dream of unique representations of the Fantastic.



“A Doll's Fear” by Alicia Marcial

Alicia Marcial
A Doll’s Fear
Digital Art
Dunedin High School
Art Teacher: Sal Gulino
Grade 11

What inspired me to create this piece stemmed from fears, which developed into the concept. I knew I wanted to express something mesmerizing that held clear meaning behind the warmer colors and tones used. The elements most connecting to the Fantastic are the various recognizable dolls and toys, and of course, the main subject being a seemingly living doll as the viewer looks down at them.



“Strings of Addiction” by Katelyn Martin

Katelyn Martin
Strings of Addiction
Mixed Media
Dunedin High School
Art Teacher:
Anne Marie Shaughnessy
Grade 12

My inspiration for this piece came from my fear of being susceptible genetically to becoming an addict. I felt that it fit the prompt of “Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic” because that is exactly how I feel about addiction, to a degree. It is one of my fears, and fantastic people could be roped into disease.



“Sound Asleep in a Roach Motel” by Liberty Pelno

Liberty Pelno
Sound Asleep in a Roach Motel
Drawing
Dunedin High School
Art Teacher: Sal Gulino
Grade 12

This piece was heavily inspired by the surrealistic imagery in the novella The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. But my piece also uses the ability of the cockroach’s resilience as symbolism. To be a survivor but perceived as so grotesque. The fear of waking up one day and suddenly seeing yourself change into some creature that repulses and scares people.


“Let Me In” by Taylor Russell

Taylor Russell
Let Me In
Sculpture
Dunedin High School
Art Teacher: Sal Gulino
Grade 12

Our subconscious is the perfect home of the Fantastic. Nothing is quite right, yet every piece has a place, a purpose of being, no matter how obscure. In our dreams is where all that strangeness comes together to weave an intricate story or message to tell. So, for this piece I took inspiration from a dream of my own.



“Genesis” by Micah Carwile

Micah Carwile
Genesis

Painting
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Eileen Iacobucci
Grade 11

The growing awareness of overpopulation is a recently gained fear—fear of what will happen when all resources run low. This depressing milieu of thought stems from increased lifespan and a decline in mortality rate, seemingly positive conditions. Our fear of excess contrasts with the love of lifestyle. The two-faced being in my piece is the creator. Unable to stop creating life, they watch helplessly as their love ends in our destruction.



“Watchful Eyes” by Mia Hipolito

Mia Hipolito
Watchful Eyes
Digital Art
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Eileen Iacobucci
Grade 11

In Watchful Eyes, I created a surreal setting of a typical bedroom with the juxtaposition of enlarged, disembodied eyes inspired by themes of horror. Trying to create a sense of world-building with the interaction between an average house cat with the extreme eye, I also alluded to the existence of a world overrun with these fantastically large eyes by depicting more through the window in a blue, somber evening sky.



“No Yeah I'm Just Chilling” by Katie Horton

Katie Horton
No Yeah I’m Just Chilling
Drawing
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Rob Golombek
Grade 12

I was heavily inspired by the idea of the Fantastic as “the familiar made strange.” I used bugs and insects to represent my own paranoia because they are a tangible symbol of fear for myself and many others. In the drawing, I position myself face to face with discomfort in a manner I would typically avoid. Fear itself is personified, grotesque, and physically inescapable, aligning with the illusory and bizarre nature of the Fantastic.



“Fantastic Nature” by Emily Manns

Emily Manns
Fantastic Nature

Sculpture
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Nate Greenwood
Grade 12


“Sweet Dreams” by Mikayla Mickelsen

Mikayla Mickelsen
Sweet Dreams
Sculpture
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Nate Greenwood
Grade 12

My piece represents the childhood fear of your toys coming to life while you’re asleep. The girl I sculpted fears that the teddy bear she threw away has come back to take his revenge. My goal for this piece was how to take a cute item, such as a teddy bear, and make it very eerie and unsettling for the viewer.


“Deadly Fascinations” by Taylor Naegele

Taylor Naegele
Deadly Fascinations
Digital Art
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Eileen Iacobucci
Grade 12

Fears and fascinations inspired me to confront the fears and anxieties within me. Death has always terrified me; thoughts of losing someone you love are suffocating. Throughout this process, I’ve learned that you can’t let your fears stop you from living your life to the fullest. Even when faced with them, keep pursuing and claw your way out even if it may eat you alive.


“Suppression of Emotions” by Dziyana Rolik

Dziyana Rolik
Suppression of Emotions
Ceramics/Glass
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Nate Greenwood
Grade 10

My work illustrates a person who does not show the feelings and emotions that accumulate inside him. This topic was inspired by my personal experience. My suppression of emotions is associated with my difficulty with communicating in large groups of people in English. It is difficult to express my feelings and convey fleeting emotions. When communicating, understanding and answering a question simply lacks speed and confidence in the correctness. There is a desire to communicate and be part of a team, but there are not enough resources. That gives rise to great desire to make people around me to see that even though it’s hard for me to show my emotions, I have them.



“The Taxedermist” by Asalyn Schrotenboer

Asalyn Schrotenboer
The Taxidermist
Drawing
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Rob Golombek
Grade 10

My inspiration was my fascination with Surrealism, but also my interest in dramatic irony—the gruesome or unnatural side of the world that writers and artists express. I responded to the exhibit’s theme with a pencil-drawn piece depicting a fascinating universe where the roles of predator and prey are switched. We observe from the viewpoint of the ones hung on a wall, the ones massacred for decoration. To me, the thought of humans being the prey in an alternate universe creates a sense of fear but also thankfulness. The human heads on taxidermy plaques next to the deer wearing a suit are important elements that connect with the Fantastic. As Dalí had done, the elements in the piece challenge societal norms, that “what if” factor.


“Angelic Possession” by Jenna Taylor

Jenna Taylor
Angelic Possession
Digital Art
East Lake High School
Art Teacher: Eileen Iacobucci
Grade 12

Animals come to us as guides throughout our lives. At times, we attach spiritual meaning to a few, believing their presence brings luck or wisdom; it’s too perfect for it to just be a coincidental meeting. Angels, misinterpreted because of the monstrosity of their true nature, send animals to guide us with a physical manifestation that we can comprehend, suggesting that, at their core, they are truly divine beings.


 “Open Wide” by Madeline Leonard

Madeline Leonard
Open Wide
Digital Art
Hollins High School
Art Teacher: Heather Shell
Grade 10



“Breathing Under Water” by Nancy Meas

Nancy Meas
Breathing Under Water
Digital Art
Hollins High School
Art Teacher: Heather Shell
Grade 12



“Barometz” by Valerie Mercado

Valerie Mercado
Barometz
Digital Art
Hollins High School
Art Teacher: Heather Shell
Grade 12


“In Another Reality” by Jacqueline Reyes

Jacqueline Reyes
In Another Reality
Digital Art
Hollins High School
Art Teacher: Hoolie Rowe
Grade 12

I was inspired by the idea of a person falling in love with a fictional character that doesn’t exist in this reality but in another. I responded to the exhibit’s theme with a dreamlike piece. The element that connects with the Fantastic is the artist in the top right corner, who is the creator of the ballroom and the cabin. The cabin is where she meets her love, and in the ballroom, the artist and her creation are dancing. The red string is connected to the dancing couple in the ballroom and then back to the artist’s neck.



“Duality of Man” by Selena Vuu

Selena Vuu
Duality of Man
Digital Art
Hollins High School
Art Teacher: Heather Shell
Grade 11



“How Weird? (Howard)” by Eden Burrows

Eden Burrows
How Weird? (Howard)
Mixed Media
Lakewood High School
Art Teacher: Adam Turkel
Grade 10



“Gooberville” by Samantha Delucia

Samantha Delucia
Gooberville
Digital Art
Lakewood High School
Art Teacher: Sandra Bourne
Grade 12


“Where Do We Go from Here” by Azreaha Fogle

Azreaha Fogle
Where Do We Go from Here
Sculpture
Largo High School
Art Teacher: Jayce Ganchou
Grade 11

Where do we go from here? The question of ignorance, my piece represents the unknowingness of where your steps will take you. Fear represents the uncertainty of life, and the Fantastic represents adventure that awaits you on the other side. Elements of my piece, like the keys and spiral, connect to the Fantastic and show that you never know where you might end up or go as life continues to open endless doors.



“Little Pieces of Me” by Akira Howard

Akira Howard
Little Pieces of Me
Sculpture
Largo High School
Art Teacher: Jayce Ganchou
Grade 9

I came up with this piece while I was binge-watching the Saw movies, and I was really inspired by the Venus flytrap from Saw II. I thought it was cool that you had to sacrifice/cut out your eye to keep yourself alive. I thought it was fitting because it was October, and I was just getting ready for Halloween.




“Figment of the Imagination” by Bich Thi Mai

Bich Thi Mai
Figment of the Imagination
Sculpture
Largo High School
Art Teacher: Jayce Ganchou
Grade 12

I was inspired by how vastly different we all perceive life and how it is even more bizarre for those with a mental disorder like Schizophrenia. In their own world, they see figures we could never imagine. This dreaminess of the imagination connects to the Fantastic, full of things out of this world.



“Monarch's Requiem” by Abigail Owens

Abigail Owens
Monarch’s Requiem
Printmaking
Largo High School
Art Teacher: Gavin Jones
Grade 10

For this piece, I was inspired by horse riders and fanciful elements like fairies. I was focused on the theme “Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic,” as my piece is a peaceful glimpse into a fantasy world. My entire premise is focused on the Fantastic with the uncertainty of People-sized Bugs or Bug-sized People.


“Artist's Vision” by Ashley Rose

Ashley Rose
Artist’s Vision
Printmaking
Largo High School
Art Teacher: Erik Nordstrom
Grade 9

I was inspired by the technique of scratch art. This new method motivated me to display shadows and highlights in a way that was perpendicular to what I was used to. With this exhibit’s theme, I was inspired to create my own surrealistic and dreamlike vision that shows artistic passion in a realistic fantasy scene.


“I'm All Ears” by Joanna Schechter

Joanna Schechter
I’m All Ears
Ceramics/Glass
Largo High School
Art Teacher: Erik Nordstrom
Grade 12

This piece is my interpretation of the idiom “I’m all ears.” In the English language, the accepted meaning of this idiom is “I am eager and ready to listen.” I decided to depict the literal meaning: a person completely covered in ears. With the metallic green coloring, I wanted to capture the essence of the surreal aspect of the abundance of ears and convey tarnishing, representing an age-old idiom.



“Fear of Trains” by Isobel Keyser

Isobel Keyser
Fear of Trains
Painting
Northeast High School
Art Teacher: Kevin Olis
Grade 12




“Fear of Astroids” by Denitsa Koleva

Denitsa Koleva
Fear of Asteroids
Painting
Northeast High School
Art Teacher: Kevin Olis
Grade 10



“Don't Control Me” by Alany Ortiz Matos

Alany Ortiz Matos
Don’t Control Me
Drawing
Northeast High School
Art Teacher: Kevin Olis
Grade 10



“Fear And Religion” by Monserrat Hernandez Alamilla

Monserrat Hernandez Alamilla
Fear And Religion
Digital Art
Osceola Fundamental High School
Art Teacher: Julianna Guccione
Grade 11



“Voodoo Town” by Jayla Nguyen

Jayla Nguyen
Voodoo Town
Painting
Osceola Fundamental High School
Art Teacher: Julianna Guccione
Grade 10


“Presence” by Maryssa Osborn

Maryssa Osborn
Presence
Painting
Osceola Fundamental High School
Art Teacher: Julianna Guccione
Grade 12



“Île De Rêves” by Paige Williams

Paige Williams
Île De Rêves
Painting
Osceola Fundamental High School
Art Teacher: Julianna Guccione
Grade 12

My piece was inspired by the artist Hieronymus Bosch, as well as the loose style used to portray female figures in Pre-Raphaelite art. My goal was to develop a scene that expressed both fear and fascination by juxtaposing a calm woman sitting on the beach with strange creatures in her surroundings. Although the woman is in a strange situation, her tranquility suggests that she has seen these fantastic creatures before.


“Fantastic Momento Mori” by Orion Pearce

Orion Pearce
Fantastic Memento Mori
Painting
Palm Harbor University High School
Art Teacher: Amanda Swisher
Grade 11

The inspiration for this artwork derives from my fascination for biological sciences. The intricate structures of the human body inspired me to find new interpretations of their functions and to portray them as part of a botanical ecosystem. This concept relates to the theme because the human anatomy used symbolizes death, pertaining to fear, but also symbolizes rebirth, pertaining to fascination. Human structures depicted in an unnaturally occurring setting make the scene from the Fantastic.


“The Unknown Rises” by Nela Shenk

Nela Shenk
The Unknown Rises
Painting
Palm Harbor University High School
Art Teacher: Wipoj Huse
Grade 12

I have been terrified of the ocean for years. It holds hundreds of unknowns and creatures that have never seen the light of day and have lurked beneath the waves far before we began sailing them. This creature of leviathan proportions is a conglomeration of what may exist out there and the cosmic horror that such a being would evoke.



“The Tables Turned” by Tyler Stepler

Tyler Stepler
The Tables Turned
Drawing
Palm Harbor University High School
Art Teacher: Wipoj Huse
Grade 9

My inspiration comes from nature. While fishing, I imagined how strange life would be if roles were swapped in the food chain. My work shows what life would be like if the tables were turned. The size of the fish and characters in the boat are disorienting. The fish is a monstrous beast. Characters are familiar, but their size and position create confusion. The towering black wave evokes fear. The locust is inspired by Dalí.



“Fearful Limitations” by Isabelle Still

Isabelle Still
Fearful Limitations
Drawing
Palm Harbor University High School
Art Teacher: Amanda Swisher
Grade 9

In this piece, I depict the reflection of memories as well as the reconciliation of past and present. I used black and white coloration to depict an older woman’s face to represent the fear of aging, with black eyes to show how important it is to have a positive outlook on things and to be non-judgmental. The birdcage represents how we think that as we age, our creativity is limited.


“Why So Serious?” by Trevor Stinson

Trevor Stinson
Why So Serious?
Drawing
Palm Harbor University High School
Art Teacher: Wipoj Huse
Grade 12

My piece brings up ideas of identity and the unknown. Dalí’s ability to challenge reality resonated with me, so I explore the mysterious and surreal in my own work. In response to the theme, my piece presents a mysterious face with a concealed identity. The hidden face adds an element of ambiguity, allowing viewers to project their own fears and fantasies onto the serious-faced character. This disrupts the expected and invites a unique interpretation from each viewer. My work connects with the Fantastic by shifting between the familiar and the unknown. The hidden identity of the figure is intriguing. The surreal nature of the piece lies in the mysterious subject but also in the flow of colors in the space in which the face lies, inviting viewers to explore their own fears and fascinations within the realm of the Fantastic.



“Dodo Birds And Sand Puppies” by Samantha Abbot

Samantha Abbott
Dodo Birds And Sand Puppies
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Ted LoCascio
Grade 9

My surreal drawing depicts two creatures I’ve never seen and never will. One is a naked mole rat (also referred to as “sand puppy”) emerging from a woman’s neck. A dodo bird, which is now an extinct species, also appears behind her. The hand of an older woman is reaching out in an attempt to save them.


“Scourge”  by Evelyn Allen

Evelyn Allen
Scourge
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Ted LoCascio
Grade 9

The surreal image I created depicts a city being overrun by a deadly disease. Everyone in the city has been infected and they are attempting to evacuate. In order to make the scene appear nightmarish, I intentionally chose to draw the image monochromatically, using only black pen on paper.



“Medusa's Dream of Redemption” by Abigail Barrete

Abigail Barrette
Medusa’s Dream of Redemption
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Steve Beverage
Grade 11

I have extreme social anxiety. I was taught as a kid that I shouldn’t be vulnerable in public, so I learned how to hold my anxiousness in. I get thoughts of people or voices in my head telling me awful things about myself. They constantly make me feel like a burden to everyone around me. So, this piece shows those thoughts as people being held into my head to represent the anxious feelings I hold in. I pretend I am Medusa and can turn the terrible voices to stone, quieting them forever.



“Decomposure” by Lilyin Butler

Lilyin Butler
Decomposure
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Ted LoCascio
Grade 9

This surreal portrait depicts a woman whose body is decomposing, yet she appears to be still alive and acting as if nothing is wrong at all. She is surrounded by maggots, which are emerging from her mouth, wounds, and coffee mug; however, she doesn’t even seem to notice they are there.


“Maneater” by Gabriel Detone

Gabriel Detone
Maneater
Digital Art
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Brian McAllister
Grade 12

This prompt specifically resonated with my interests as an artist because my work is focused on speculative extraterrestrial biology. The artwork depicts a desert planet where an explorer riding a mount native to the area is ambushed by a giant centipede. Despite the imminent danger, both the rider and his steed slow down to look back at the creature in both awe and terror. The outcome of this encounter is left up to the viewer’s interpretation.


Insection by Adyson Evans

Adyson Evans
Insection
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Amber Quimby
Grade 10



“Drowning in Self-Realization” by Natalie Galan

Natalie Galan
Drowning in Self-Realization
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Steve Beverage
Grade 11

The constant fear of regret and the realization of mistakes made in the past can leave you feeling like you’re sinking underwater, unable to speak, and drowning in your thoughts. The mind can become attached and fascinated by what could have been done differently, unaware that this will only sink you deeper into the trench of self-loathing, keeping you from moving on and returning to the surface.



“Momento Mori” by Olivia Harkins

Olivia Harkins
Memento Mori
Printmaking
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Amber Quimby
Grade 10

Memento Mori, “Remember death must come.” This piece is a surreal self-portrait portraying the stereotype of death in a positive light. Expressing the growth that can flourish from death. The fantastic parts of life are often the most feared and fascinating things in our culture. To live a complete life, it isn’t enough to just survive. You must let endings come and pass; you must spend your time doing things you enjoy.


Twilight of The Chupacabra by Paige Lewallen

Paige Lewallen
Twilight of The Chupacabra
Painting
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Steve Beverage
Grade 11

I’ve always been interested in the unknown and the discomfort and fear of finding something in the wilderness—or worse, it finds you. I wanted this piece to feel like it sees you, so I focused on the moons becoming goat-like eyes, along with the muted tones of the creature, making it seem like it could blend into the environment and watch you for hours without your knowledge of it.



“Next Stop, Nightmare Avenue” by Toby Murati

Toby Murati
Next Stop, Nightmare Avenue
Digital Art
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Steve Beverage
Grade 11

Within the desolate confines of an abandoned train station, bathed in a moonlit haze, a nightmarish creature stirred—a bat hybrid dragon, its leathery wings casting eerie shadows. As a lost soul stumbled upon this ethereal horror, the air grew thick with a haunting melody, and they realized they had stepped into a realm where dreams and nightmares converged, their very sanity teetering on the edge.



“Koi No Yokan” by James Peck

James Peck
Koi No Yokan
Digital Art
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Brian McAllister
Grade 12

I was inspired by past and current experiences with pets. I’ve mostly had cats and fish in my life, so they became the subject matter for this piece. The theme inspired me to visualize the good connections I’ve created with these animals, along with my fears of losing them and being left to memories through a dreamlike composition.


“Spirit Animal” by Isabella Piazza

Isabella Piazza
Spirit Animal
Mixed Media
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Brian McAllister
Grade 12

Spirit Animal is about the symbolism of tigers in Chinese culture. My tiger is protecting the child in a powerful and benevolent way. The danger is from outside, and the tiger stands between it and the child. The piece includes elements of traditional Chinese art.



“Fascination” by Molly Platner

Molly Plattner
Fascination
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Amber Quimby
Grade 10



“Bird Shoppers” by Skylea Poorman

Skylea Poorman
Bird Shoppers
Digital Art
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Ted LoCascio
Grade 9

My digital illustration is a humorous surreal image that depicts two birds—a cardinal and a blue jay—who have taken on human attributes. In this scene, they appear as a couple in a supermarket and are dressed in outfits people would wear. They are shopping for groceries together, just as if they were people.



“Fear The Fantastic” by Finn Reddick

Finn Reddick
Fear The Fantastic
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Amber Quimby
Grade 10



“Recede, Further Dream” by Marcus Rideout

Marcus Rideout
Recede, Further Dream
Painting
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Brian McAllister
Grade 12

I hold Surrealism near and dear to my heart, as it allows a greater nuance in how I express myself than other styles, especially with the Fantastic that occurs in everyday life. Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations occur immediately before falling asleep and after waking up. These visions can be awe-inspiring yet worrying. When these occur, I am falling through an infinite set of windows—of mirrors—as the world distorts around me.



“The/No Cure” by Verity Skelton

Verity Skelton
The/No Cure
Drawing
Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School
Art Teacher: Steve Beverage
Grade 11

In this past year, I have personally dealt with not only my mother’s down-spiraling health but my own mental and physical reaction to dealing with her loss at an important developmental time in my life. This caused growing fears about going to the doctors, hospitals, surgeries, and the possible genetic possibilities her cancer diagnosis could have on me. This piece explores my constant anxiety about my 10% or higher chance of forming melanoma or another form of cancer, looking at my own freckles and knowing that any of them could be life-threatening, still having too much trauma with doctors or hospitals to be able to ease my fears. Although the impact was harsh, it has moved me to explore the science behind cancer, cancer cells, and the medical advancements made.



“Sacrificial Lamb” by Kaylee Rivera

Kaylee Rivera
Sacrificial Lamb
Drawing
St. Petersburg High School
Art Teacher: Rachel Koral
Grade 10



“Forest of Temptation” by Olivia Tucker

Olivia Tucker
Forest of Temptation
Painting
St. Petersburg High School
Art Teacher: Rachel Koral
Grade 11



“Under My Skin” by Lee Chemlen

Lee Chemlen
Under My Skin
Mixed Media
Tarpon Springs High School
Art Teacher: Jessica Marmorale
Grade 12

Prompted to think about my fears made me realize something that intrudes on my everyday life; I was brought to my intense, irrational fear of bugs and infestation. While I cannot express just how intense this fear is to others in my everyday life, I was able to express it through dark, extreme colors. Using just a bit of water in applying color and mixing different colors with black, I managed to demonstrate the dark and grim nature of the work. The messy shading techniques used in the background, utilizing different shades of brown and red, make the environment appear appropriately dirty and dingy. I am grateful that the surrealist approach taken in this work allowed me to exaggerate and contort the expression of the boy as he is overwhelmed by roaches in and around him, replicating the stress and disgust I feel from this fear more often than not.



“(No Longer) Just Like Father” by Sophia Marrero

Sophia Marrero
(No Longer) Just Like Father
Drawing
Tarpon Springs High School
Art Teacher: Jason Hubbard
Grade 9



Stake My Heart by Lyra Mckinley

Lyra Mckinley
Stake My Heart
Painting
Tarpon Springs High School
Art Teacher: Jessica Marmorale
Grade 11

When creating my work of art, I had the thought that we were wrong to think that immortality meant never dying. Those who cheat death unknowingly seek the comfort of its solitude and the embrace of its everlasting silence. We spend our lives creating beautiful things only to destroy them in death. Consumed by our fears of the unknown, we shield ourselves from the beauty of the Fantastic and the limitless depths of its captivating wonder. My work represents the fantastical thought of everlasting immortality.



“Heartstrings” by Leilani Ramos

Leilani Ramos
Heartstrings

Mixed Media
Tarpon Springs High School
Art Teacher: Jessica Marmorale
Grade 10

Heartstrings started from a simple idea with a simple object: the hardships of womanhood combined with a candle. My response to the exhibit’s theme, “Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic,” was to combine the two ideas seamlessly while presenting a spectacle to the audience. The elements of my work combine symbolism, juxtaposition and body transformation into the surreal artwork you see before you. 



“All Those Who See” by Sydney Young

Sydney Young
All Those Who See
Mixed Media
Tarpon Springs High School
Art Teacher: Jessica Marmorale
Grade 10

In my work of art, I used watercolor, colored pencil and marker to fill the page with vibrant contrasting colors. The idea of the Fantastic gave the painting an unsettling, dreamlike quality, with eyes floating and embedded in the heads of the portraits. I tried to create anonymous hands controlling the figures and cages dangling from the ceiling. The painting focuses on the unsettling idea of being trapped within your mind and watched by the world around you without a chance to escape. I chose to show both fears and the fantastical all at once.


Click here for more in formation about The Student Surrealist Art Exhibition.