Massachusetts art exhibit to include piece by MHS junior


By Cindy Zomar, Education Coordinator

Marlborough High School Junior Aiden Grocki shows his piece entitled “Self Identities” which will appear in the Massachusetts Amazing Emerging Artists (MAEA) Recognition Juried Exhibit.

Marlborough – Marlborough High School Student Aiden Grocki has secured a spot for his artwork, titled ‘Self Identities,’ in the 2021 Massachusetts Amazing Emerging Artists Recognition Juried Exhibit, Superintendent Mike Bergeron told the School Committee, late last month.

Inspired by learning in his AP 2D Art and Design course, Grocki’s piece combines a variety of artistic mediums to depict himself holding his cat, “Poppy.”

“I was able to combine a lot of mediums and even did some digital layering,” he said in a recent interview. “I am pretty excited to get it into the exhibit.”

Competing in a blind juried exhibit

A blind juried art exhibit is different from an art fair at a library or local school in that a panel of ‘jurors’ pre-judge applications to see if they are worthy of entry.

Grocki’s AP2D teacher Valerie Sophos first submitted Grocki’s piece, alongside that of another student, after getting a notification in December. 

Grocki’s work, indeed, then cleared that aforementioned juried review.

“We were very pleased to hear that Aiden’s piece had been accepted,” Sophos told the Community Advocate, last month. “Aiden is a very hard worker in his very rigorous AP Studio Art class at Marlborough High (MHS) and I’m very proud of him. He is a shining example of a dedicated and incredibly creative artist.”

Work perfecting various techniques pays off

A close-up photo shows Marlborough High School Junior Aiden Grocki’s piece entitled ‘Self Identities’ which will appear in the Massachusetts Amazing Emerging Artists (MAEA) Recognition Juried Exhibit.

Grocki, currently a junior at MHS, admitted he spent much of last summer perfecting his art techniques. He experimented with combinations of colored pencil, white charcoal, gesso, and watched YouTube videos on various artistic styles. 

His mother, an art teacher in Swampscott, also tutored him on using Photoshop for photo editing. 

“I really liked the outcome,” Grocki said of the process.

Beyond that, Grocki’s artistic subject bears personal significance. Part self-portrait, this image also shows Grocki holding his beloved cat, Poppy. In place of Poppy’s eye, though, he’s substituted the eye of his now deceased cat, Shadow. 

“I decided to stick with similarities,” he said.

Marlborough High School Junior Aiden Grocki’s cat, Shadow, enjoys some sun. As Shadow has since passed away, Grocki’s piece “Self Identities” primarily depicts his new cat, Poppy.

Yellow squares throughout the piece serve as a further nod to Grocki’s workplace – the shoe shop Journeys.  

“[This project] represents the different identities of me, and how I like to view myself,” Grocki said. “Why did I do it that way? I liked the way it looked.”

In the artist’s words

Along with the artwork, entries had to include a statement from the artist. Grocki’s statement is as follows: “In this piece, I wanted to incorporate my feelings and struggle with trying to find myself. I feel as if there are so many parts of me: the black and white side, the optimism I set my sights on, the connection to hope I find when with cats, all surrounded by the struggle of finding how my sexuality is included in my identity. I worked with watercolor, colored pencil, graphite, collage, and digital, in order to convey my difficulty of finding the right me within a pandemic.” 

This year the event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Art Education Association, will be virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions. It can be viewed online, today.