This most likely isn’t the first time you are seeing junior Eli Brandt’s name in a headline. He’s an individual of many talents, setting many records on KO’s swimming and diving team and appearing on the talk show “Better Connecticut” to speak about his small business.
But Eli’s talents don’t stop there. He is also a masterful artist, who has been working with linoleum printmaking since middle school. A greatly accomplished printmaker, he has won several awards for his art, including a Gold Key in the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Competition in 2019.
“I think that as an artist, Eli has become more willing to take risks and to really think about the ideas in his art over the techniques,” creative arts teacher Katherine Nicholson said, who taught Eli at the Middle School. She has worked closely with Eli since the beginning of his artistic career and continues to work with him today.
Despite primarily working with linoleum, Eli has also been painting since elementary school and has loved making art ever since. “[Art] brings me to a place where I can explore new ideas,” he said.
Ever the Renaissance man, Eli enjoys using art as an outlet to promote issues he’s passionate about, such as increasing environmental awareness. “It is a way for me to express my ideas and advocate for sustainability,” he said.
Mrs. Nicholson commented on the fact that Eli always takes his art to the next level. “He takes something that I teach him and expands upon it, explores it, and masters it,” she said.
Eli has already begun to think about the college process and how he plans to pursue art at a more advanced level. A few weeks ago, he took part in the National Portfolio Day. This event gave talented student artists across the country the opportunity to showcase parts of their portfolios to renowned art professors from top colleges and universities.
“I talked to five colleges,” Eli explained. “It was really interesting to talk to the professors about my artwork and get their opinions on how I should build my portfolio throughout the year to prepare to apply to universities that have art programs or art schools.”
In addition to Mrs. Nicholson, Eli is inspired by artists like Andy Warhol, who is known for making bold and captivating choices in his art. “[Andy Warhol] tried to create as much as he could by breaking boundaries,” Eli said. “I think it’s really cool that he had the courage to do that.”
While Eli enjoys diving and art for different reasons, he feels that in diving, he typically needs to focus on one main objective (winning), while in art, he is free to “dive” into many different ideas at once, creating a correlation between both of his passions.
Whether it be through his online Etsy shop or his environmental advocacy, Eli’s art transcends the boundaries of someone who just makes art in their spare time. “He’s pushing the limits of printmaking,” Mrs. Nicholson said. “I am one of his biggest fans.”
We know that Eli is going to do great things in the future, and we are excited to see him continue to grow as an artist!