Prize-winning artist blossoms
Zoe Lopes never expected to take the top prize in the BSoA student art competition.
She'd actually created the winning portrait, of a young woman in watercolour, pen and ink, for her GCSE last year.
Her former art teacher at Berkeley Institute, Christine Wellman, entered it in the student show.
“She told me she was going to put my work in the show,” said Zoe. “But I didn't know about the people's choice award until she told me I won. I think growing up I have always had something in a school show, but never any big show.
“I was very proud of the piece that won and I was proud that it did get some recognition.”
The 16-year-old was even prouder when she learnt the awards were chosen by visitors to the Hamilton gallery.
Her work took the top prize in the senior student category. It also scored her an A with her GCSE; she sat the British examination two years early.
“The problem was after I did the GCSE in art, there were no more higher level art courses at Berkeley,” she said. “I really want to be a graphic designer. There was no point in being there if I couldn't take art.”
She took the Bermuda College entry examination and was accepted into their dual enrolment programme on the basis of her exam grade, her high school grades and her artwork.
She is now the only dual enrolment student focused on art. She's taking four art courses plus maths and English. The only course she still does at Berkeley is physical education.
“Berkeley did start offering an A-level art course,” she said. “But by then I'd been accepted to the Bermuda College and I wanted to go.
“At first it was a little intimidating being in a class of older students, because I am shy in general. But in the Bermuda College art programme, everyone is like a family. It didn't take long but I have become really close with everyone.”
She especially enjoys that the other students are also interested in art careers. “It's nice because at Berkeley while there were other students who enjoyed art there weren't many others I knew who wanted to be artists,” she said. “It's also nice because I am learning new techniques and trying new media.”
She's inspired by her mother, Andrea Lopes, a graphic artist.
“She is always there to help me and give me advice,” said Zoe. “Sometimes I don't want her advice, but it is really helpful. She is always there to help. I'm lucky, because I know some parents aren't as supportive of an art career. She is supportive because she followed the same career path. She has her own business.”
Zoe said her biggest challenge was being too hard on herself. “Sometimes I feel I am not good enough at art,” she said. “Sometimes I ask myself why am I getting attention for something when that person is so much better. Sometimes I get frustrated when I have a vision of how something should look and I can't achieve it. But my mother keeps pushing me.”
Zoe officially graduates from Berkeley in June 2017, and is working towards her associate's in arts.