Stern honored by Camden Hills visual, performing arts department

Jan 24, 2014
Zack Stern

Rockport — The Camden Hills Regional High School Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month for February is senior Zachary Stern.

At Camden Hills, Stern has been a standout visual art student, and a mainstay of the theater program. He has contributed his talents to nearly every stage production since his freshman year.

Most of his theatrical contributions have been in design, construction, and painting, and this year Stern volunteered to create the 30-foot dragon that would chase Shrek and Donkey around the stage and eventually vaporize Lord Farquaad in the final scene of "Shrek the Musical." No small feat, he spent time this summer, designing and engineering the frame, and after painstakingly constructing a skeleton of nuts, bolts, wire, and PVC pipe, he covered it with a painted canvas skin. He carved the head out of a large block of foam insulation, and as one of the five puppeteers, he eventually made the dragon sing and roar on stage.

He has taken a wide range of art courses including 3-D Design with Russell Kahn, who said Stern always found a way to add his voice into his work. His wire sculpture of a submarine has very lyrical lines and a "fun" feeling with wire loops he added to create his machine. He loved his stone carving project so much he worked on three extra pieces and polished them all. In all, he always found a way to push the envelope and give every project 100 percent.

Carolyn Brown, who taught him photography and drawing, commented that Stern's artwork is typically wildly imaginative, with a subtle sense of humor and a love of the bizarre or fantastic, as in the work of Surrealist artists. In drawing and photo classes, he often spends extra time to complete assignments to a high level complexity. He has been especially helpful in leading class discussions, and helping classmates with the technical aspects of photography and Photoshop. His wide-ranging interests often come into play in his visual arts work, whether designing a complex tessellation drawing, a digital photomontage, or a surreal self-portrait.

According to his Advanced Art Portfolio teacher, Suzanne Southworth, Stern has a unique and creative way of thinking (outside the box). He has many stories to tell and he tends to weave those ideas into his work. In fact, he plans to continue in this vein and somehow combine his artistic passions with with his love of writing. He is applying to art schools in the Boston area.

Stern's advice to underclassmen: Get involved (in tech) your freshman year, and you will make the best friends and have a ton of fun in the process. The friendships you make and the fun that you have is something you will always carry with you.

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