Art expressed through effects of drug usage


Art is a passion of many students around campus, and among all of the students involved in the art programs at Perry, junior Julia Allen gives her art style a new twist by expressing her art through the effects of drug usage.

Allen began drawing at a young age and was influenced by her dad and grandma to perfect her artwork. “My dad, I think he majored in art his first few years in college… and he’s not the type of person to [tell you as a kid] oh great that’s fantastic, like he will tell you if something is bad and also, he will do it better than you,” Allen mentions. Having that friendly competition between her and her dad has helped Allen improve her artwork over the years, “that kind of made me want to be as good as him,” Allen explains. 

Allen began taking her first art classes her sophomore year at Perry High School, taking Drawing and Painting one and two her sophomore year, skipping three and is now taking AP Studio Art her junior year, one of the five AP classes in her schedule.

For the six projects that must be completed for her AP Studio Art class, Allen chose her concentration to be about the effect of drugs. Allen says, “basically it’s drugs and how they affect a person, and whether they have positive or negative effects.” Allen shows these affects through her art and focuses on the not so typical drugs that tend to be heard about.

For example, Allen did one of her projects on the drug caffeine and used coffee in replacement of water color to paint her painting.

Along with her caffeine painting, Allen has also done an acrylic paint and watercolor project on Xanax, which was hung up in the front office for show, and projects on Adderall and Antidepressants.

Completing the projects is not as easy as artists like Julia make it seem to be, in fact, there is a lot of planning and patience that is needed in order to successfully complete a sustained investigation.

Allen says it takes her about two to four weeks in class to complete her artwork. The students in class get the whole class time to lock in and work on their projects, and even then they still take a few weeks to finish.

“You have to plan stuff out… it’s like if you write an essay, you need a draft,” Allen says.

She mentions how there is much more preparation, mess ups, and behind the scenes planning to a single project that us viewers do not see, “you mess up, and you make mistakes, no one else sees the mistakes but you know exactly where they are.”

Allen plans on taking art her senior year with hopes of submitting in one of her projects for a chance to win an award.

Julia does want to continue to make art, but will plan on keeping it a hobby since she wants to pursue a different career path in the future.