GradX is the Grade 12 Art Exhibition, which takes place each May in celebration of the culminating year of students in the art program. The show is a collaboration of art works created by the Grade 12 art class and provides them with an opportunity to display their works to the public.

The students work independently on their portfolio year projects, incorporating their own inspirations, ideas and portfolio requirements for university. In working on their pieces, the students explore a variety of materials and methods to successfully communicate their thoughts to a wider audience. The Grad Exhibition allows students to showcase their final pieces among family, friends and the wider community.

We hope that their work offers joy, thought and inspiration.

Anne-Marie Bassi

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I grew up in an environment that encouraged and embraced art. Crafts, painting and drawing were activities that I did so often they became second-nature to me. As I grew up, I started attaching meaning to my art. It became a part of how I navigated my own feelings and understanding of the world. I learned about the work of Frida Kahlo when I was younger, and ever since then, her symbolic, honest and emotional portraits have been the biggest influence on how I express myself in my artwork. Today, alongside this inspiration, I strive to expand my realism and portrait work by challenging myself with different mediums like charcoal and oil paints. I dream to continue a life-long journey with art, creating pieces that help me explore and pin-point my emotions as I grow up. Hopefully, through doing this my artwork reaches out to viewers who may connect to the feelings I base my work upon.

Solitary is a charcoal piece I created based on personal emotions I felt when returning back in person at the beginning of the 2020 school year. It represents the universal, yet alienating isolation during the pandemic. When returning back to school and seeing everyone again in September, I felt a new type of disconnection that I had never previously experienced before. The figures in the work feel individually disconnected, and yet they are all connected by the shared emotions that come with isolation. I wanted to create an artwork that could capture these world-wide, intense emotions and freeze them in time. I did this with the hopes that one day myself and others could look back and remember what it felt like for a student navigating everyday life during a global pandemic.

Ella Bisset-Cavallin

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As a student whose main educational focus has always been maths and sciences, it was very important to me that I keep art in my curriculum through my years in high school. I love painting and drawing and it’s a great creative outlet for me, but I rarely find the time to enjoy it in my daily life. This is why joining the art class at CDS was so beneficial for me. I got to spend time doing what I like and doing it with my friends. My art has typically leaned towards realism, but I really like artists like Arthur Streeton or Korovin Konstantin who use big and loose brush strokes. It’s been a goal of mine for a while to incorporate this technique into my art. I’d like to continue painting and drawing throughout life in order to keep in touch with my creative side.

This is a picture of my parents dancing at their wedding 20 years ago. I decided to paint this photo because it is one of my favourites of them and I thought it was a good way to show my appreciation for all they have done for me. With all of my oil paintings, I start with the outline and then use a very diluted brown or yellow paint to create the base layers. This helps me to see the structure of the painting and where there are shadows and highlights. I then spend the next few sessions adding layers of paint and building up the basic shapes. Lastly, I will add the finer details and any touch ups that need to happen!

Alexander Bobechko

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I first discovered my love of Art through doodling during class. Through all of Junior and Middle School I would draw on every sheet of paper that the teacher handed out. From there, I continued to draw and it transitioned from a distraction, to a habit, to a hobby and eventually into an important part of who I am. Art has become something I am constantly working to improve upon and continuously passionate about. Looking back at how my art has improved is like looking at a visual representation of the progress I’ve made as a person, and I hope to continue to improve my art for years to come.

I created this piece as a study on the effects of lighting in digital landscapes. I began working on it during the summer and continued during the school year. The drawing is based off of the Rakotzbrucke, a famous bridge located in Germany, also known as the Devils Bridge. When working on this assignment, I was still very new to the digital medium and there was a lot of trial and error that went into the creation of this piece. I tried many different styles, brushes and techniques when drawing the surrounding forest. At first my objective was far more realistic, but realizing that it would take far too long, I chose to go with a more stylized look. I enjoyed learning how to utilize layers and filters to bring new effects to the piece. I got to explore both Autodesk sketchbook and Adobe Photoshop to create the final piece. I am very happy with how it turned out, especially the reflection in the water.

Liam Bray

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For my entire life, the central reason which has motivated me to create art has been because I needed a medium by which I could manifest my imagination in reality. My mind is filled by fleeting images of machines, monsters, heroes and villains. I felt like I was obligated to make my thoughts last forever by drawing them on paper so I could observe and appreciate them clearly. I spent many years honing my skills to portray the inner workings of my mind with greater accuracy, and even though I am nowhere close to being a proficient artist, I strive every day to surpass myself and become greater.

This piece depicts a vampire in combat with a vampire hunter on top of a Gothic Cathedral. The content was inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula but it was depicted with the thrilling action of an anime scene. I thought that a tense book such as Dracula needed a cathartic energetic action scene to cause a big payoff, but it never occurred in the novel. This is why I desired to create this piece. It was made digitally and I based the cathedral off a famous building in Budapest. The style which I work in is primarily an anime style, and it works best when utilizing bright colours - the contrast of a dark background and bright pink rim lighting has this effect.

Michelle Cai

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Art is the only subject in school that does not feel like work. I get so mesmerized in the process that I forget to be stressed about grades. And I stress a lot about grades. My inspiration for art is Maurizio Cattelan because he managed to sell a banana duct taped to canvas for $120,000 USD.

The inspiration for this piece is my country because it’s a huge part of my identity. When someone says, “describe yourself”, my first instinct is to say “I’m Canadian”. I am grateful for living a safe and comfortable life in Canada, and I wanted to create artwork that expressed Remembrance Day to pay my respects to those who died in the wars. Remembrance Day is always an impactful event and a huge part of my childhood because I always participated in the assemblies. It was also deeply inspiring to hear the stories of soldiers every year.

Furthermore, I was also inspired by loonies because I love the design of the coin and how it is an important symbol for Canada. I have a collection of special coins with different engravings, and I knew I wanted the dominant object in the piece to be a loonie because it is important to me. The Royal Canadian Legion also inspired me to create this piece because they always show beautiful artwork for Remembrance Day on their website.

Christina Chkarboul

photo of studentArt has always been a prominent presence in my life: I was caught red-handed finger-painting on living room walls, brought unwillingly, then with great excitement, to astounding galleries and museums, and took all the art classes I could, which led me to GY art at CDS. The satisfaction and rush that comes with finishing a piece is one like no other, and it is what motivates me to continue to paint, draw, and create. I’m truly grateful for the passionate, caring art teachers I’ve had over the years who supported me and encouraged me to experiment and grow.

Angst and Yearning, A-Side is a piece I completed for my AP concentration, which has been a series of still life paintings of objects compiled to communicate a certain time period and tie it to an idea or feeling. The objects I’ve chosen for this piece are The Smiths’ “Self-Titled” record, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen” paperback, Joy Division’s “Closer” record, an addressed cassette mixtape, and a pair of headphones. The piece is a compilation of relics of being a teenager in the late ‘80s, captured in the art and media consumed and created. The AP concentration has pushed me to grow quite comfortable painting with oils and has allowed me to make collections of objects exploring pieces of myself and eras past my time that I, nevertheless, feel strangely nostalgic for.

Victoria Guido

photo of studentArt is a part of who I am because it allows me to escape physical limitations and romanticize reality by bringing my imagination to life. I have a genuine appreciation for the idea that art can be anything and everything; there are no limits in art, the potential is infinite. Any idea can be visually brought to life through an artist, inspiring the idea that anything is possible and visually transformative with creativity. I am constantly inspired to create because when I dedicate time to visual art I am expressing my creative thoughts and developing my artistic skills. My understanding of visual art has given me a higher sense for admiring art in multifarious forms. This artistic perspective is gratifying and therapeutic.

I created an oil painting of a photo I took on Miami beach. The materials I used include: my canvas, oil paint, varsol, and paint brushes. I titled this painting Where I’d Rather Be for the reason that the idea of being free and on vacation feels more surreal now than ever. The audience’s initial viewing of this painting would reveal the idea of a photograph. The aspects of this painting really portray a moment in time, (i.e. the position of the lemons, the lighting, the clouds, etc). The final product looks sharp and displays a very peaceful space.

Denny Hu

photo of studentArt is a huge part of who I am. It is my favorite and best way to express myself. As a student, going into Art school in post secondary, Art is going to be who I am. Though the path is long and hard, I wish to become a great illustrator like the south Korean artist Kim Jung Gi.

House of Nan Luo is a choice piece that I completed during my grade 12 Art course. It is one of my favorite pieces. The idea behind the piece was to recreate the scenery and how the lighting created the forms and structure of the building. I believe that lighting is the most important part of making a drawing look realistic and come to life. When I look at the piece from a distance, this painting really comes alive and gives that particular scenery a vibe that words can’t quite describe.

Maya Islam

photo of studentArt has had a major influence over my life since a young age. Ever since I first picked up a pencil that day, I have never lost interest in art since. It is very fun to dedicate yourself to such a skill, and even more enjoyable to see the final product as a whole and know you’ve created it with your own hands. The feeling is truly incomparable! I hope to continue to improve on my artworks and learn more about art along the way!

Pink Cloud Summer is a conceptual artwork, based on songs featured on the album Feel Something by Movements. The album heavily focuses on the themes of depression and loss, and the selected array of songs are as follows: Daylily, Suffer Through, and Deep Red. I chose this artwork because it holds a lot of meaning to me. The songs are very important to me and so is this artwork. It symbolises moving away from the rubble and despair and heading towards one’s “pink cloud summer”, which is a repeating lyric in Daylily. The vocalist of Movements has discussed the story behind this song and line. He wrote it for his current girlfriend, who was suffering with anxiety and depression. Her therapist described her recovery as an up and down process - a lot of bad days, but good days too. She called the good ones her “pink cloud days” and the goal was to eventually have those outnumber the bad ones. The piece turned out almost exactly as I wanted - I hope it will carry as much meaning to anyone else who sees it as it did for me.

Hayden Lang

photo of studentI have always been an artist. Since I was very young, I would draw and fill in colouring books at home, daycare and kindergarten. During the summers, I would always paint in my backyard. Art has always been one of my favourite subjects in school, but my skills really began to develop once I got to CDS. Even when I wasn’t in art class, I would doodle in other classes because I sometimes found it hard to focus, and it helped me to concentrate. My favourite form of art is pencil drawing. It’s important to me that my work looks realistic. As I look to leave CDS, I hope to enter a Landscape Architecture program where I can continue to create.

This is an artwork of my cat Nala way back when she was a kitten. There is no real big meaning or hidden message within this drawing as it is something that I just wanted to draw. I have always wanted to draw one of my cats, and I saw one of my two choice projects as a good opportunity to do so. I also wanted to draw my cat as a way to improve my ability in drawing realistic fur textures. Fur textures have always been something that was more on my weak side and drawing my cat helped me with making it more of a strength. I used pencil because it is my most comfortable material, and it also made it easy and efficient to make thin, sharp lines for the fur.

Sophia Lupke

photo of studentArt has always been a part of my life. Growing up I always seemed to be surrounded by it. My grandfather on my mom’s side was an artist. Although he passed before I was born, I always felt like art was something that connected us. When I started drawing I was very little, so little that I did not know how to hold a pencil properly. When I started kindergarten, the teachers tried to retrain me, but I was too stubborn. Now, when I look at the pencil in my hand while I am drawing, it reminds me why I have always loved art. It has given me control, as well as freedom, allowed me to express my emotions, or to just draw without it having to mean anything. I was very lucky to find something that makes me happy at such a young age.

Kaleidoscope is a choice piece of artwork, it is a mandala. This is an arrangement of geometric shapes and elements to create a symmetrical, circular pattern. The pattern was first sketched on a triangular piece of paper before tracing it using a lightbox to form a circle. The mandala was very flat and lifeless, until bright colours were added. I was definitely unsure at first if adding colour would be the right decision. Now that the piece is done, I am very happy I took that chance and pushed myself to do something I was so nervous about. Adding colour has made the piece very bright and more interesting to look at. This piece played to my strengths of drawing various designs and shapes from my imagination. The balance of control and freedom made this piece something that I really enjoyed creating, and I think that is what art should be about.

Bianca Miceli

photo of studentVisual Art has been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid. I’ve always had a passion for art from when I was in kindergarten all the way up to my senior year of high school. Whether it’s painting on a canvas, drawing in my sketchbook or taking pictures of what’s happening around me, visual art is something that inspires me and I hope to continue to pursue when I get to university. My goal is to continue to grow as a complete artist trying to learn and improve on as many skills as I can. I feel at university I’ll be able to succeed at my goal and make a future for myself in art and become someone.

The theme incorporated into this painting was directed towards gun violence. Gun violence has had a large effect on kids in our society today as there have been so many school shootings. As I was creating this painting, I wanted to make the person viewing this piece experience fear and sadness. I wanted to show the shooter is the center of the picture to emphasize his effect on the dead children and kids running away in fear in the background. Also, I drew the school in the background to show that this is a school shooting and the kids all around helpless and terrified of what is going to happen next. Sadly, this is something that some kids have to face in their schools in today’s world, and by painting this I wanted to show the effect of what a school shooter can do to others. For the background, I used brown and white to add texture and then I added people surrounding the shooter. For their clothes, I made it all warm clothes to emphasize the darkness behind the picture. For the shooter, I wanted to make him look dark so I used black and a dark blue to add texture to his sweater. Also, I put his face as a dark grey to portray a shadow from his hoodie.

The purpose of this piece was to emphasize the impact on the effects of a school shooting. This artwork will help people understand how tragic school shootings are and get a better understanding of the emotional impact of the event.

Maya Pietrobon

photo of studentArt has always been my favourite subject since I was little, I really like the idea of being able to create whatever you want, however you want, and it is still considered art and beautiful. Art is special to me as it is something that is stress free, enjoyable, and relaxing. I like looking at other people’s artwork just as much as I enjoy making it myself as you get to see what different people classify as art and how they express themselves through it.

The artwork I created is of a hydrangea flower on top of a colourful block style background. It was done using acrylic paints on an 11x17 canvas. There isn’t any emotion I was trying to convey with this piece, it was just done because I thought it was a different idea and would be visually appealing. I think having the flower be black and white, while the whole background is in colour, is very visually appealing and worked well.

Kennedy Ryan

The development of my relationship with art has not been linear, but I am so happy with where it has taken me today. Since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed creating, and art has been a great but daunting outlet for this. In my earlier years of middle and high school I enjoyed the class, but also doubtfully feared it. I didn’t consider myself a master of any technique, and thought I was lacking the uniqueness of a specific style, things I used to consider requirements. Despite that, I am so happy I joined this class for my last years of high school. My perspective on art has changed recently, and I’ve realized it does not matter if I’m not amazingly skilled. What matters is I enjoy myself and create something that speaks to me. With this new perspective I’ve allowed myself so much room and confidence to improve. This year I opened my mind to using different mediums and switched my focus to communicating. I have had an amazing time in this class and it has shown me how a slight perspective shift can entirely change what you are looking at. It has given me the room to grow in my art, my friendships, and in how I view myself.

This piece has been by far my favorite to work on. It was heavily inspired by the early work of French Expressionist, Henri Matisse. Jardin de La Mère translates to Mother’s Garden in French. It’s connected to the beauty of life and its sustenance. The demonstration of nature and humans is an attempt to show peace in their interaction. I used this piece to work on the general shape and stance of the human figure. All the figures are painted to be idealized in the sense that the garden can provide plentiful food and safety allowing for the figures to be well-fed and healthy. I chose to simplify both the people and the landscape to allow myself to focus on developing the shapes and colours and to better represent the energy of the space.

Lily Scheinberg-Becker

photo of studentI have always been drawn to the idea that you can create an artwork from simply your own imagination. Growing up, I was always involved in the arts, whether that was drawing in a sketchbook or playing the piano. I have been at CDS since grade one and I have taken visual art every year. Art for me is a way to escape. Anytime I am feeling overwhelmed or want to express myself in a way I cannot through words, I turn to art. It is therapeutic to be able to take what I feel or imagine and transform it into something visual. Art is not just creating something, it is also a way of creatively and critically thinking. If I had not grown up with the arts, the way I approach life and other small tasks would be drastically different. It has allowed me to see things outside of the box and expand my thinking beyond what is the standard.

Let Them Eat Cake is an oil painting on canvas of two cats smashing a cake. I have tried many mediums of visual art ranging from makeup to pencil on paper, watercolour and more. But out of all the mediums I have tried, oil paint is by far my favourite as it allows me to create vibrant colours and smoothly blended compositions. The painting is not meant to look hyper realistic but more of a soft (in colour and texture) stylized piece. The painting includes one brown cat and one grey cat, as well as a three tiered cake, fork and a vase. What this piece is supposed to capture is mid destruction. The brown cat is destroying the left side of the cake whilst the cake on the right side is collapsing.

Maia Wertheim

I’ve always loved art, and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I can’t imagine my life without some form of art in it, whether it be looking at it or creating it. I also love art history, and am frequently inspired by older art. I have this constant desire to create the perfect portrait that’s a mix of historic and modern but with the subject in historical clothing. Hopefully I’ll achieve that eventually.

This artwork is a conceptual piece done in oil paint, which I had never worked with before. It is a visualization of the song Air Con Eden by the artist Jerkcurb, and is a bit of a mix between retrofuturism and surrealism. Some of the themes of the song I explored were time and timelessness, and the creation of an artificial calm or tranquility. I illustrated these concepts through placing objects throughout the room with deeper meanings. The colour of the room itself also has a deeper meaning. It is purple, which has attributes of red and blue and can also represent romance and spring. These concepts fit with the song really well, with the romance not being so much about romantic love itself, but romanticization of a past time or a certain place.

Message From Ms. Castellan

Being able to express oneself and to communicate your ideas to society is the greatest achievement that the artist can attain. Through this creative act, they explore their humanity, test their resiliency and enrich the lives of others.

Each year, the graduating class of art students continue to share their ideas through conceptual work, expand their horizons through their experimentations, and provide discourse through their discussions.

May Art remain a part of your life wherever your future takes you. Let it uplift your soul and help you to realize your dreams.

Land Acknowledgment

CDS wishes to recognize and acknowledge the land on which the school operates. For thousands of years, these have been the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We also recognize the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples who also shared this land.  CDS respects the relationship with these lands and recognizes that our connection can be strengthened by our continued relationship with all First Nations, by acknowledging our shared responsibility to respect and care for these lands and waters for future generations.

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5 
(905) 833-1220

Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.