Justin Mezzapelli is a high school student who recently wrapped up a co-op placement with the education team. He got to experience a wide range of activities and events here at SG. We asked Justin to chat about what he liked (and maybe didn’t like) and what he learned during his time at Station Gallery.
Just a single step into the studio was all it took to send me into a colourful whirlwind of peppy music, intrigued young students and art-in-the-making. I will not deny – it was quite daunting! A room filled with excited little bodies half my size was not anything that I was used to. But it was a creative environment nonetheless, and I quickly began to feel like a part of it.
Station Gallery automatically made me feel like one of its own. It was more than a privilege to work with and create art for such an enthusiastically warm group of people. Everything from designing and creating posters and display boards, to splattering paint across paper have been valuable experiences that I take to heart as an artist. Just trying to recall everything that I did is a struggle. So much has happened to make my time at the gallery exceptional.
However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows. I will never be able to forget those two infamous electric pencil sharpeners (if you could call them that). I prefer to see them as living entities, since they chose, at any given time, to stop working for me. After sharpening a dozen buckets of pencils, they practically haunt me. Okay, I exaggerate, but believe me when I say that some objects simply have minds of their own. And of course, I mustn’t leave out that paper cutter, a beautiful creation, but riddled with bitter-sweet memories it is. I’d go so far as to say I’d be able to rebuild an exact replica of my home with the amount of paper that I cut over those few months.
But beyond the occasional blister or cut, and the dreaded task of numeracy, I cannot deny that my experience as a member of the Station Gallery community has been exquisite. Prior to my co-op placement, I had only created art for myself; I was never in a position where I could actually do what I love for others. SG gave me that opportunity. To a great extent, I was fortunate to be able to use my artistic abilities for the promotion of art. To see and hear about so many students enjoying the artwork I provided was something I would not have had the pleasure of doing in grade twelve – I can only thank Station Gallery for that.
My experience here was my first official step into the professional art world, a first step for which I am eternally grateful. The Station Gallery is a tiny place, but it runs on talent and dedication of vast proportions.