Tallulah Cartalucca: An Artist in the Making
By Anahi Anaya
Art is the application of skills and imagination to create an expressive physical piece. It allows for the combination of beauty and emotion, which come together to make a unique visual form. At Northside, art allows students stand out and make connections with the art world. Many of these students continue to make pieces and pursue an artistic identity, balancing both academics and creative pursuits. A prime example of Northside’s artistic talent, Tallulah Cartalucca, Adv. 910, was awarded a Gold Key Award on Mar. 10 for her senior portfolio from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at the awards event in Iowa. She received the “Visionary Artist” award and over $325,000 in scholarships for her portfolio from the Illinois High School Art Exhibition in February. Her work was also featured in the CPS All-City Senior Portfolio Exhibition at the School of the Art Institute. Cartalucca was also awarded the Presidential Scholarship for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Art is a driving force in my life,” said Cartalucca. “I’ve always loved creating, and I’ve felt certain that I was going to be an artist since I was about 7 years old. In my lower school years, my teachers quickly identified me as a ‘visual learner’ and taught me from that vantage point. Perhaps they reinforced what was there all along because as a student I always create pictures or visuals to help me focus and to learn new material. It’s during the past few years that I really recognized how integral the creation of art is to my joy.”
Growing up in a household where art was both appreciated and practiced, Cartalucca said that she has “always been surrounded by art since both my parents are artists who actually met in a college art studio.” She emphasized to the HoofBeat that she wanted to thank her parents for nurturing and supporting her interests in art, taking her on family trips to art museums and galleries, and learning from their studio time. “Without [my parents],” said Cartalucca, “...I probably wouldn’t see art as a viable career option.” The artist’s first memory of wanting to be an artist was when she saw the piece “Sky Above Clouds” by Georgia O’Keeffe, and immediately thought “I hope I can make something like that someday!”
This desire came to life in the various pieces she has created. Cartalucca knows that her history with art is what motivated her to practice it; what pushes her to continue, however, is school. Balancing academics and extracurriculars can be difficult but is definitely possible. In Cartalucca’s case, it is a motivation and the purpose behind most of her artwork. Cartalucca said, “I’ve been an artist forever. However, I didn’t seriously consider art as a career option until high school. That’s because my passion for science, math, history, English, and Latin seemed more ‘important’. But, in the past few years, I’ve found ways to express my enthusiasm for academic topics through my art. I was thrilled to realize that creating fine art provides me a way to combine my love of history, science, and art. I’m deeply motivated to utilize my artistic skills and my academic strengths to shed light on the very real hazards of species endangerment and climate change. I am dedicated to sharing my excitement about art with others through everything I do.” Cartalucca has done just this through her 20-hour projects because each have followed the same theme - endangered species.
Cartalucca likes to work with all mediums, but she tends to lean towards drawing and painting. However, with the guidance of Northside’s art department, she has had the chance to work with other media, allowing her to make a greater variety of art and explore her skills. Cartalucca said, “Most recently under Ms. Minyo’s guidance, I made a sculpture out of a VCR; a pencil sharpener out of cardboard, and right now, I’m working with a team to create a giant alien pig. In other words, I’m realizing how much I love sculpture. Working on 3D forms that relate my story about environmental issues is thrilling to me.”
When questioned about the future, Cartalucca assured the HoofBeat that she will continue making art and displaying her work. She will pursue art in college and graduate school and she hopes to become a working artist, making and selling her work to be displayed in galleries. Although this will not come easy, Cartalucca has years of experience under her belt. Cartalucca has dedicated three years to co-teaching art classes to children at the Lillstreet Community Art Center. “My work at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Lillstreet have really fueled my excitement about sharing art with teens and children,” said Cartalucca, “so I will always find a way to continue this work.”
In addition, Cartalucca was selected to join the Teen Creative Agency at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is a group of 25 teens from Chicago and surrounding suburbs that creates public programs for teens, with the goal of removing the hesitance or intimidations that can stop teens from visiting art museums and becoming involved. The group creates exhibits, concerts, parties, and other events to excite teens about visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art. Cartalucca says, “I love this work; creating exhibitions of art is like creating another kind of art. Working in a museum with people that love art, art research, and collaboration to create public art has been an incredible work experience for me. I was also honored to be sent by the MCA to lead a workshop at the Building Brave Spaces conference in Boston last year. There, I spoke to employees and leaders of teen groups in museums from around the country, leading a discussion about youth/adult collaboration and facilitating agency for teens in spaces that are generally considered to be for adults.”
In the near future, she will be in “21Minus” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The “21Minus” is an annual event where the Museum of Contemporary Art showcases art, workshops, dance and musical performances led by artists that are 21 and younger. You can propose to have your project showcased in “21Minus” here: https://mcachicago.org/Learn/Youth/Call-For-Proposals
If you do not feel confident about displaying or sharing your work yet, that is okay. Cartalucca said, “I think a lot of aspiring artists are critical of their own work, and that stops them from pursuing opportunities that are available to them. My best advice is to grasp any opportunity to showcase your art. Apply to show your work; apply for contests and scholarships. I’m really passionate about youth arts organizations in Chicago. Seek them out. There are so many teen groups focused on working with art and music. If anyone wants advice on pursuing art opportunities in Chicago, working in museums/art centers, applying to art school, or creating an effective portfolio, they can email me email@example.com.”