Artwork worth a name

In the quad outside the library, one can often see towers of stones stacked one on top of the other. Some rocks are stacked at unnatural angles, seemingly defying gravity. They’re a striking part of campus that impresses anyone who takes a moment to look at them.

“I love seeing the latest rock stack creations when I walk through campus,” said Principal Michael Wood ’99. “They get more creative and even impossible looking each year.”

Oscar Econome ’19 is the artistic thrust behind these ephemeral towers. They tend to fall apart quickly, so they have to be rebuilt often. According to Oscar, however, that’s the point.

“The idea behind the rocks is really just how things fall apart, but the beauty of it is that I allow it to fall apart,” Oscar said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

Oscar expresses himself through art beyond stacks of stones. He sketches and paints, trying “to get something out of [his] mind and try to abstract — define something that’s not very concrete and get it out on paper.”

Oscar’s work has been published on the front cover of “Moorings,” Jesuit High School’s literary and arts journal. His work has also been showcased in the Crocker Art Museum.

Oscar uses his phone to take pictures of his paintings and shares those photos with other people. That’s usually the extent of others’ interactions with Oscar’s art. Last March,  however, Oscar took a big step forward as a professional artist; he sold his work for the first time.

Oscar started painting just before his sophomore year. He credits Jesuit’s studio art course with fuelling his interest in art, but the studio art teacher, Mr. Edward Novinsky ’72, believes Oscar’s motivation is more internal.

“Oscar is a great student,” Mr. Novinsky said. “He is open to suggestions and understands the amount of work and effort it takes to become proficient in studio art.”

Beyond class, Oscar learns from his peers, nature, and other artists. He has taken inspiration from ripples of water, the growth of a mushroom, and the work of one of his favorite painters, Van Gogh. He hopes his art will inspire and teach others as well.

“I really like to awe people, and also, awe myself actually,” Oscar said. “I want people to look at [my work] and feel something […] or maybe get a better understanding or appreciation of life.”

After he graduates, Oscar plans to keep painting, hoping to find a way to support himself through his artwork.