SNAP Showcase Review
An Artist’s Dream
February 13, 2023
It’s often said that untold stories are nested in the hearts of every human being. Daydreams, personal struggles, and moving, inspirational works of fiction are often the catalyst for a wealth of beautifully told, emotionally arresting tales told over time. In adolescence, untamed by the down-to-earth logic of the adult world–which often favors a pragmatic mindset over one that romanticizes imagination–a goldmine of untold stories can be found in childlike curiosity and wonder.
Directed by Carah Katz and Chloe Chen, the Long Reach SNAP (Short Story, Novel, Art, Poetry) Showcase works hard to nurture the undying imaginations most rich in adolescence. The showcase amplifies the voices of young talents all across the student body, and gives them an opportunity to show the world their own untold stories.
December 19th, 2022 saw the commencement of the showcase’s biannual event which featured a collection of different art forms, all thoughtfully rendered pieces of work with an emotional potency that arguably trumps some notable creators today. As it was hosted in the media center, the event had a cozy spaciousness that accentuated its downtempo atmosphere. The low light, serene silence and, of course, the cushioned seats all contributed to an overall welcoming ambiance that matched the warmth of Katz’s opening remarks.
“Something magical happens when we put words on paper,” Katz spoke in her signature operatic voice, full of spirit and power. Embodying the entire pathos of the event, Katz’s words were another gesture of the event’s empowering atmosphere, where artists of all varieties rendezvous to also revel in that magic— the magic of a few brushstrokes, written sentences, or spoken words, the latter of which which Katz beautifully demonstrated in only a few minutes.
Throughout the event, it immediately became clear how thoughtful each of the creators were in cultivating their work. In a way, every piece of work carried a resounding message with profound thematic significance. An example would be Vincent William Higuit’s poems, Changes and Habits. Barring the intriguing nature of the poems, Higuit’s delivery of the words was particularly admirable, as he articulated and enunciated each word to strengthen the emotional impact of their meanings. Both poems were short and sweet meditations on the angst of adolescence. The throughline in Habits was an ingenious use of symbolism and metaphor: the black creature. Higuit consistently refers to a “black creature” festering in the heart of every living person. It sits there, brewing with hatred and malignance, always yearning for failure, always belittling the spirit of the person it inhabits. However, Higuit argues in a simple yet provocative way, that someone can fight this— that the spirit can be a friend instead.
Changes evokes a similar philosophy in that Higuit acknowledges the melancholy of both adolescence and adulthood as the sands of time slowly erode the will to live in the ever changing world, but argues that this doesn’t need to completely destroy a person. This incomprehensible, almost cosmic force of stress present in both Changes and Habits can be mitigated by the mindset someone carries towards it. Through the poem, Higuit stresses that a positive, fervent power can follow what once was pain.
Another highlight of the event were the paintings by Toby Boyce, a participant in the showcase. The works featured are titled Estrangement, Odd One Out, Words of Anger, and finally, Idolization. In all of Boyce’s work, there’s always an interplay between intense colors and the arresting compositions of the piece. It has to be said that Boyce is truly a master of color. Impressively rendered, a blend of impressionistic vibrance and unsmiling somberness can be located in each hue. Furthermore, the dynamic use of perspective and light lends well to the often charged statements behind each piece, all of which speak to a very real, deeply felt part of the human experience. The visual lexicon utilized in these paintings are a particular kind of poetry on their own, as the ideas woven into every brush stroke could be enough to fill pages on a notebook. Boyce’s talent is another testament to the idea that artistry can be found in various forms, whether it’d be illustrated or spoken.
Bookending the event was a work by Katz herself, a vignette titled “The Draft,” which offers a piercing commentary on the horrors of war and violence. The most staggering thing is the absolute power of Katz’s voice. Arguably, Katz could get on stage and read an ingredients list and it would still be an enrapturing experience. The highlight of this vignette is how Katz is able to cloak the atrocities of war with a beautifully patriotic, uplifting message that reaffirms the humanity swirling in each of us. Rather than focus on the blood and gore war entails, Katz posits a hopeful message about the collective human spirit: on the battlefield, a living, breathing human is nothing more than a target— a point of extermination— but is, in reality, a human all the same with a life as complex as one’s own. Emphasizing the strong philosophical is a masterful understanding of prose that ties the entire thing together.
The end of the event drew near, and the creators were able to contextualize the processes behind creating their works. It was a warm reminder that behind these deep stories were young, smiling faces ready to conquer the world ahead of them. With every answer, there’d be some smiles here, a little bit of laughter there; they were clearly enjoying the creative process. Being able to hear the complex thought processes behind the works presented at the showcase was a truly inspiring experience. And it was also comforting to know that like many other artists in the world, they struggle. They have writer’s block, they tear down ideas and weave together new ones just as quickly. Yet, they stood there and shared their creations.
There’s a tendency in today’s world to focus on what’s old— what’s classic. Society values the minds of the old and wise; adolescence is taken for granted and dismissed. However, it was in just this small presentation that it became immediately clear that there’s a unique value in the imaginations of the young. So let’s amplify that; let’s spread it all over the world.