Prompted by our vision of inspiring people through art to look at their world in new ways, the Frist Art Museum invited teens to submit their artwork for this third edition of Teens Take the Frist! The resulting selection features more than 180 artworks in a variety of mediums—including over fifty in this online exhibition—created by emerging artists from Cheatham, Davidson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson Counties.
This exhibition, along with other Frist initiatives like Teen ARTlabs and the Teen Arts Action Group, is intended to give individuals ages 13–19 a safe space to express themselves and participate in activities with art professionals. With many students having to adjust to the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions, art has become more important than ever as an avenue of communication and connection.
We extend special thanks to our artists and adult mentors for their guidance and enthusiasm in creating nurturing spaces for our youth to grow.
All works © the artist and appear courtesy of the artist.
Our teen programs receive funding from the William N. Rollins Fund for the Arts of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Supported in part by
Aaliyah, Untitled – Portraits of Brother, 2020. Chromogenic print, 6 x 7 in.
I made this piece in a study of the parallelism between me and my brother’s childhood despite our disparities. I believe that childhood is much more universal than we believe it to be across generations. I want to convey the aspect of animosity and variable-yet-singular identity as well.
Addi Gerlach, Cookie, 2020. Charcoal on paper, 18 x 24 in.
This is my great-grandmother, Cookie, as we called her. This picture was taken while she was sick in the hospital and so ready to go home. She passed away in 2020 at the sweet age of ninety-three. Grandma Cookie always had sweets at her house that she would offer to anyone who came in her door. I love the deep expressions of sadness, weariness, and homesickness portrayed in her face and posture in this photo, and made this as a memento to her in 2020.
Adrianna Cadena, Funky Bassist, 2020. Digital print, 7 x 7 in.
This is a digital piece of an alien with so many eyes, grooving it up on a bass.
Alli Caudill, All They See, 2020. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 9 x 12 in.
All They See is a traditional art piece inspired by the life of a circus animal. Initially, the viewer is naturally drawn to the striking red markings, similar to those of a clown, on a tiger’s face. Their attention is deliberately drawn away from the detailed wild animal lying underneath.
Allie Cunningham, Tucked Away, 2021. Colored pencil on paper, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.
Hidden beneath lush greenery, a miniature world resides in this piece. Mushroom hideaways peek from shrubbery, as fantasy pulls one from reality to explore the lives of the creatures we cannot see . . .
Alvin Aligbe, Crystal, 2021. Digital photograph, 9 x 12 in.
In this work, warmth is shining through the cold icicle. It displays how comfort can be found and how that comfort can radiate through people.
Anaya Robinson, Floral Escape, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 in.
The year 2020 was chaotic, with COVID-19, the tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the loss of my uncle on September 2. As a young Black girl living during these times, I wanted to depict imagery that symbolized a desire to escape reality.
Anna Snader, Voces Fuertes, 2020. Graphite and marker on paper, 9 x 12 in.
Voces Fuertes represents a collaboration of powerful Latinx heros who have used their voices to amplify the stories and voices of marginalized people—their work has personally inspired me. From Cesar Chavez, who advocated for fair working conditions for farmers, to Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies, each individual has used their voice to change and impact their communities.
Anne Matlock, Polychromatic, 2021. Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
I fell in love with this piece because of the myriad of colors reflected on the face. She possesses an ethereal glow from within that paints a thousand words.
Annie Le, Shrimp, 2021. Acrylic on canvas board, 9 x 12 in.
My artwork is inspired by a shrimp I saw on Pinterest. I really like the colors and pattern of it, but I didn’t want to draw a shrimp, so I put some of the colorful features of the shrimp on a person. Then I put squiggly lines in the back to make the painting look more chaotic and relaxed to contrast the serious look on her face.
Avery S., Cluttered Mind, 2020. Gouache and acrylic on paper, 18 x 24 in.
This piece is a representation of the attachment that teenagers have to tangible items in their rooms. I used the concept of messy rooms and hoarding to create a sense of “organized disorder” and how seemingly meaningless items can affect how a person views both themselves and the items.
Bert Echols, Powerplay, 2020. Linocut, 8 x 10 in.
I took photos of myself and edited them. Then I carved the piece. I was inspired by Japanese culture.
Cates Spitzer, Lost in Thought, 2021. Digital photograph, 8 x 10 in.
I took this photo for my photo class, and I was trying to take a picture where the subject looked natural, but I think I caught her kind of off guard where you could see her true emotions.
Chase Kirk, Fling, 2021. Graphite on paper, 10 x 10 in.
This piece is a self-portrait of me about to fling my mask across the room at my friend, hence the title. A fling is also defined as being a short, enjoyable period, which I felt was also fitting.
Christy Youssef, Eye, 2020. Graphite on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 in.
I spent hours trying to get the shapes and different values to be perfect. For the eyelashes, I wanted to make sure that they looked like hairs and not spider legs, so I practiced a lot before I felt ready to commit. Overall, I was very satisfied with the results!
Elena Ruiz, Presence, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
This piece is about fading in and out of history. Is this a picture of a girl that’s slowly fading away and being forgotten, or is she coming forward?
Eli T, Strike, 2021. Mixed media, 9 x 12 in.
Strike is a depiction of a sorcerer striking down an evil robot with an iridescent arc of energy. The scene is from my fictional animated universe Baby King Superstore.
Emilie Head, Two Faced, 2021. Ink on paper, 9 x 12 in.
This work shows the way people can truly be. The face to the left shows anger and disgust, but the face to the right shows affection and happiness. It shows that people may not be what they feel. They can be two-faced and laced with deception.
Emma Caudill, Rude Awakening, 2021. Charcoal on paper, 8 x 12 in.
These horns of mine, so simple yet divine. They bring me great satisfaction, so I polish and shine; how proud they make me these horns of mine. The growth is slow, too steady to see. Until I can’t. Then can I see: the deadliest things are the things you feed.
Finley Dennis, Rose in the Rain, 2021. Colored pencil on paper, 11 1/4 x 8 in.
This piece is a recreation of a photo that I took at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. The rose was placed on the World Trade Center landmark, where the people that were on Flight 77 are listed. This rose is symbolic of our nation’s unbroken spirit.
Gavin Sellers, Erick, 2021. Digital photograph, 8 x 11 in.
I went to do a photoshoot with my friend Erick, who skates. I ended up getting a really good angle and got some nice pictures.
Grant Silkwood, Floating Box, 2021. Digital photograph, 13 x 19 in.
This work represents the life of a simple box, stranded out on the water, lost forever.
Halle Williams, Avatar, 2021. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
This artwork was inspired by a makeup look. In my painting, I was going for a dramatic and futuristic look through the chaotic use of lines and dots, as well as her eyes being pure white. In the background, I used vivid colors to make the composition pop.
Henry Krumm, Charger, 2021. Linocut, 8 x 10 in.
This is a linoleum print of a Dodge Charger.
Hite Brown, Waiting, 2020. Reduction print, 9 x 12 in.
This is a print of a gargoyle sitting atop the Empire State building. The ink was layered on a plastic piece and printed on paper three separate times with three different colors. I love the way that it turned out!
Jacqueline Frist, Beauty Standards, 2020. Archival pigment print, 8 x 12 in.
This photograph depicts a scene that I constructed. I created this to provide commentary on the effects of beauty standards on young girls, especially with the influence of social media in today’s society.
Jansen Buchanan, Vision of Light, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
Light is supposed to be bright, clear, and happy. In some mens’ lives, light can seem frightening, dangerous, and intangible, but the moment men lose is when they stop trying. My piece is of a Black man who embraces hope into his being.
Jason A. Watkins, Watkins Avenue, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
During the summer of 2009, my family and I attended a graduation at Trevecca University. On our walk back to the car, I decided to walk on the rock wall. Unbeknownst to my family, my mother captured a photo that I had to capture into a painting many years later.
John Montague, Star Glasses, 2021. Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
This is an experimentation with color and texture. I got a pair of sunglasses I really liked, so I wanted to paint them.
Julien, A Fleeting Moment, 2020. Digital photograph, 8 x 8 1/4 in.
This is a photo that I took when the scenario presented itself. Monarch butterflies migrate south every winter, and this butterfly coincidentally landed on a pot of flowers.
Kate Rosen, Masked Face, 2021. Graphite on paper, 8 x 11 in.
My piece depicts a realistic face with a semi-realistic mask. It was done with graphite on drawing paper.
Katherine Groomes, Mask Self Portrait, 2021. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 8 x 11 in.
This was created for an assignment in my Studio 2 class. I like the contrast between colored pencil and graphite, so I drew the eyes in green.
Lauren Cheung, The Pain We Hold Inside, 2020. Ink and highlighter on paper, 7 x 10 in.
We often paint a picture where our darkness is out of view. However, sometimes we must express the painful emotions in order to let them go. This drawing represents that pain, yet also the beauty that follows after.
Lilly A. Thomas, Gym Shoes, 2021. Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in.
I created this painting from a photo on Pinterest. This took me about sixteen hours to complete overall, since I go to art class one time a week. I initially drew this onto the canvas and then painted it with oil paints.
Lily Perez, Sunset Evening, 2021. Watercolor, graphite, and ink on paper, 9 x 12 in.
I love using watercolor. I used a lot of vibrant colors because it reminds me of a beautiful sunset. The beach is my favorite place to go, and it is the inspiration of this piece.
Luke, MASK, 2021. Charcoal on paper, 6 x 9 in.
My artwork is a protest to a forced acclimation to a masked society.
Maggie Adams, mask, 2021. Wire, 5 x 7 in.
This piece is a simplified portrait of a friend I made using wire and my hands to sculpt. It is in two pieces—the mask and the face. The face has been simplified to draw attention to the mask.
Marra Becker, It’s Raining Men!, 2021. Watercolor and colored pencil on paper, 10 x 10 in.
I was able to create a visual representation of one of my favorite songs. This piece is a part of a larger portfolio that has the same idea. I chose some of my favorite songs and lyrics and made images to go with them to show how everybody interprets words differently.
Marshall Wilt, Mask, 2021. Ink on paper, 7 x 10 in.
This self-portrait is a line drawing in pen. For this piece, I drew myself in a mask. To highlight the influence of masks on daily life over the past year, I shaded my face using only the word Mask.
Mary Jane Estes, Alone, 2021. Colored pencil on paper, 7 x 10 in.
This art reflects my recent feelings of isolation. As I grow older, I feel myself outgrowing the comfort of old friends. I desire to make new connections, but I always end up dissatisfied. So I feel alone and unable to rely on anyone other than myself.
Mei Mei Dellinger, Still-Life Nightlight, 2021. Graphite on paper, 8 x 11 in.
This still-life drawing aims to catch the essence of a nightlight through graphite work.
mia, Dream Jeep, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
I love using acrylic paint. It’s one of my favorite mediums. I’ll be sixteen next year and I wanted to paint my dream car, a Jeep Wrangler.
MW, Flowers in the Dark, 2021. Marker on paper, 5 x 8 in.
Flowers in the Dark was originally going to be a drawing of the Tennessee state flower, but that idea was soon replaced by what you see now.
Naomi Hollans, Eye of the Storm, 2021. Ink on paper, 7 1/2 x 10 in.
This ink drawing features a ship being attacked by some kind of sea monster, in the dead center of a dark storm. Certain aspects of the drawing go beyond its designated border in order to create a sense of fantasy escaping into reality.
Nhi-Ha Le, Shitakiri Suzume, 2021. Scratchboard, 8 1/2 x 11 in.
This piece is based on the Japanese folk tale Shitakiri Suzume, a story about a jealous wife who severed the tongue of her husband’s beloved sparrow and later received a box full of monsters. This piece intends to both capture this tale and detail the human capability for violence and its consequences.
Riley McDowell, Space Squid, 2021. Ink on paper, 9 x 12 in.
This is just some sort of squid creature in a space suit done using Sumi ink and water on paper.
Saida, A Woman Indoors, 2021. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 9 x 12 in.
This piece depicts a woman holding flowers surrounded by abstract forms of birds. I included many symbols of freedom or lack thereof in this piece; the birds and the window provide the semblance of freedom or the desire of it, but the woman is sitting holding flowers as if she cannot realize that freedom.
Sam Nissen, Stairway to Heaven, 2021. Intaglio ink on paper, 10 x 6 in.
For this work, I focused on the density of consistent marks, following the natural guide of form to portray an overtly romantic scene.
Sara F Hamilton, BLM, 2020. Digital photograph, 5 x 4 in.
During this year of unprecedented social change and isolation, I have been exploring the question, “Is this the new normal?” through photography. Despite isolation, social issues this year have received a lot of publicity. Even when they weren’t being covered in the news, police responses to protests went viral on social media. When people couldn’t meet in person, they took to social media to organize protests. This photo captures what will be remembered as a historic moment for Nashville when thousands of people marched demanding change. We are realizing that things don’t have to be this way—that the old normal is not enough for us, and that a return to normal is a return to a broken present.
Sarah Cai, Grandmother, 2020. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 18 x 24 in.
My grandmother is shown cherishing things in her life. On the left, she’s walking up the stairs. On top, she’s cooking dinner at home. To the right, she’s walking in the city. Then, she’s at the end of the stairs again, smiling. Her biggest smile is in the middle.
Scout Harding, Bursting, 2021. Mixed media on paper, 8 x 10 in.
This depiction of a woman is a combination of paint pens, regular pens, colored pencils, and paint. I call it Bursting because that was the word that came to mind once the flowers and colors emerged.
Sophia Frist, Covid Giraffe, 2020. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 in.
This piece was painted during full isolation in quarantine last spring. The toilet paper on the giraffe’s head is meant to be a humorous way to show the chaos and material shortage globally as the pandemic affected all nations and ecosystems.
Stacie E., The Lighter Option, 2021. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 in.
Not everyone can find their own path, but others can help light the way. It’s up to them whether or not to follow it.
Tori Mazur, Nashville Traffic, 2021. Digital photograph, 9 x 12 in.
My goal in this artwork was to capture the aspects of night. In Nashville, the energy and nightlife is very lively and upbeat. In my work, I wanted to highlight the busy streets.
Trace Crabtree, Rhythm, 2021. Graphite and markers on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 in.
Using markers and a pencil, I wrote one of my favorite words in a style of art I’ve started gaining interest in recently: graffiti.
Whitney Sanders, Mohawk, 2020. Digital photograph, 9 x 12 in.
When I took this picture, it was during quarantine boredom. I took a bunch of bird pictures to show my little brother, who was into birds. I thought this picture in particular was cool because it looks like the bird is staring straight at me.
Zinnia Nichols Loller, Mountains in Summertime, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 in.
In my art class, we were assigned to do a pixelated-style painting. I chose to paint a mountain and field, inspired by a mountain I visited on a trip to the Smoky Mountains at Camp Green Cove, the five-week summer camp I’ve gone to for the past four years. Last year, the camp was shut down because of COVID, but this summer I’ll get to return. My favorite memories were all on that trip—we ate blueberries from a wild blueberry bush, told stories till late at night, and walked in ferns that came up to our knees, all with my best friends in the world. I tried to immortalize the feeling I had there into a painting.