Tyler teen portrays social issue through artwork, wins national - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Tyler teen portrays social issue through artwork, wins national honor

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -  More than 255,000 high school students submitted their art work to the scholastic art and writing awards. A 17-year-old Bishop Thomas K. Gorman student's digital artwork received medals on the national level this week. Now, the high school junior, Alex Berne, will represent East Texas in a New York art show.

If you take a look at Alex Berne's digital artwork "symbolic hunger", you can see the dog is healthier than the child.

"The child is extremely thin; emaciated. The dog is corpulent; he's a big dog," Berne said. "The point of doing that was to basically highlight contrast between the dog and the human to show that the human has less priority in our modern world than the dog does."

Berne wanted to depict the social issue of income and equality through his artwork.

"I decided to elaborate on that theme and try to point out in sort of a subtle way the hypocritical nature or the way the world goes about dealing with such a problem," Berne said.

The 17-year-old feels this is an issue the world is dealing with.

"In East Texas and in the United States, generally we're very good at treating the poor I believe," Berne said. "I know this because I just recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic and there were some extremely poor children there."

The young artist says he had no idea when he drew this and turned it into a digital image it would win national awards.

"When I made this piece actually I was very depressed. I wasn't quite sure where I was going with my portfolio," Berne said.

The humbled teen had never taken an art class but decided to give it a try last year. Through trial and error his teacher says he has perfected his technical skills.

"People should allow themselves those opportunities because you never know how you might grow in a situation when you try something new. I mean it's been really neat to see that happen," said visual arts instructor Lisa Mcgehee. "This is our first time to have a student be recognized on the national level and it's an amazing feeling. He's a very intelligent and talented young man. He's filled with ideas and filled with love in his heart."

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards has been honoring artists since 1923. Out of the 250,000 submissions only 18,000 are awarded on the national level. Only two students from Texas received national medals. Berne will represent the East Texas area at a national awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June and his art will be displayed in a show.

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