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Photo Courtesy Elsa Reynolds

Freshman Aarush Gotur received a VASE state medal for his work “The Third Eye”. VASE is a visual arts competition held every year in Texas to recognize distinguished artists.

Aarush Gotur

While watching “Dora the Explorer” as a child, freshman Aarush Gotur would think, “I want to create that” and would take out a piece of paper to depict the colorful cartoon scenes he saw in front of him. Gotur’s artistic journey began with sketching his favorite cartoon characters, eventually leading him to VASE.

How long have you been an artist?

I’ve been making art since I was 3 years old, so for 11 years now. As I watched movies or shows when I was younger, like “Dora the Explorer,” I would think to myself ‘I want to create that’ and would take out a piece of paper out and draw the characters.

How was Junior VASE different from VASE?

I liked that VASE was an established event, rather than a purely online submission contest. It was incorporative, the judges would ask questions in person. My friends and I talked to other artists from different schools and discussed each other’s artworks and our experiences. I’ll definitely be involved in future VASE competitions and other contests as well.

What mediums, colors, themes or symbols did you incorporate into your artwork?

I used Prismacolor pencils because it’s my most confident medium. The artwork features Shiva, and my inspiration came from my Hindu heritage. There are multiple references throughout the work. For example, the trident symbolizes power. The snake wrapped around his neck represe​nts how he has conquered all of mankind’s desires. The third eye on his forehead represents how we ourselves and how we see others and themes such as self-awareness and self-control.

Why did you choose this piece to enter into VASE?

This piece was very personal to me, and it showed a message I wanted to translate into art. I wanted to express this work in a way I wouldn’t be able to depict ​other pieces.

What was challenging about creating your piece?

The main challenge was drawing Shiva’s face and making it look more human. His skin color is blue, so it was hard to make it look realistic, not avatar-like. The blending was tough because I was working with two polar opposite colors, orange and blue.

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