By Jennifer Kotila
DASSEL, COKATO, MN The 2015 Dassel-Cokato Senior Visual Artist of the Year is Elisa Burgstahler, who has taken nearly every art class offered at the DC High School.
“This was a very easy choice to make,” said DC High School Art Instructor Geoff Welles. “Time and time again, Elisa has shown the highest quality in all aspects of the art courses she’s taken, and in the classroom as a leader.”
“It’s expressive; I can get a lot said in art,” Burgstahler said of why she enjoys art. “It’s really fun. It doesn’t even have to say anything it’s just fun.”
Her latest project was “The Mangled Mannequin,” for which she had the idea for quite a while, she said.
“To actually get it done was super cool,” Burgstahler added. “It is probably the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken. It was a good challenge.”
The sculpture, which was a bridge from 2D painting to 3D art for Burgstahler, took four weeks to complete.
“I really enjoy special effects makeup,” Burgstahler said, noting she wants to pursue the 3D building of wounds.
For the last two years, she has used special effects makeup to create elaborate costumes.
“The choices that she makes reflect a drive to create the best work and, at the same time, challenge herself to achieve a higher level each time she puts pen to paper,” Welles said.
Burgstahler is attending the University of Minnesota, majoring in biology. She said she will also take art classes, and would like to be in one musical ensemble each year.
“I’m looking at making a business out of cosmetic and special effects makeup, and plan to learn more about it,” Burgstahler said, noting it would allow her to make people look either beautiful, or horrendous.
Burgstahler will always work on her art, whether it turns into a business or not, she said.
“It was really touching to get this award,” Burgstahler said. “I really love art, and I am looking forward to trying new things and expanding my art career.”
The 2015 Ceramics Leadership Artist of the Year (C.L.A.Y.) is Makayla Gustafson
“Makayla is a wonder in the ceramics room,” Welles said. “Her continuous excellence in her work exemplifies the high level that she has achieved in ceramics.”
Gustafson has taken all the ceramics classes offered at DC in the last two years.
The most time-consuming pieces she has worked on have been a three-piece casserole, and a sculpted bowl with a wheat design.
“I like trying my hardest on a piece. It’s really cool when it turns out nice,” Gustafson. “It’s nice to take a piece of clay and mold it into something you can use.”
She noted working with ceramics takes a lot of patience. “A lot of pieces crack,” she said. “You just have to take your time.”
Gustafson is also a leader in the classroom, giving advice and assistance to other students, and always helping with cleanup.
“Makayla is an all-around example of what it means to receive this award,” Welles said.
To gain experience with the art form, Gustafson plans to take ceramic classes at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she will be pursuing an early education or speech pathology major.
Look for more 2014-15 Dassel-Cokato Arts in Review stories in the Monday, June 8 edition of the Enterprise Dispatch.