Audrey Benjaminsen had an idea: to tell the story of how people grow and change, of how you are constantly reinventing yourself as you age.
So like most of her ideas, she expressed her thoughts through her favorite medium, art.
Using deft paint strokes and digital imagery, she created a series of unique pieces, depicting young and old in blues and earth tones. She wove gold embroidery thread through them and mounted them on wood panels.
Audrey's mixed-media piece Knowledge and Awareness won her a Gold Key Award as well as Best of Show in the Southeastern Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards contest. One of her pictures also was honored with an American Vision Award. Audrey, a senior at , won 18 awards in all for projects ranging from sculpture to photography.
About the awards
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying teenagers with exceptional art and literary talents.
Awards are recognized through regional competitions.
The southeast Michigan contest, held in January at Detroit Country Day Upper School in Beverly Hills, included 4,100 pieces from seventh- through 12th-grade students in Wayne and Oakland counties. Of those, 1,000 winning entries are on display through Friday at the Walter B. Ford Building at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Categories included architecture, ceramics and glass, comic art, design, digital art, drawing, fashion, film and animation, jewelry, mixed media, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and video games.
Gold Key Award-winning pieces are being considered in the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards contest, with winners to be announced in March.
Audrey was one of 18 Stoney Creek High School students to receive Gold Key Awards in the competition. Others were Luiza Alaniz, Khia Aparente, Darby Barber, Samuel Bruha, Katie Doyle, Alycia Fons, Brandi Gunn, Sara Harbin, Amanda Hess, Adam Ketner, Brianna Lamarche, Halee Michel, Vincent Richardson, Margot Robert, Rob Sparks, Catherine Wallis and Rebecca Whaley.
Gold Key winners at the other Rochester high schools were Cheng-l Lin and Rachel Merryfield of and Elizabeth Moroz, Emily Fetzner, Bailey Knudson and Jagoda Wojtowicz at .
Student has always had a crayon in hand
This is the third time Audrey, a 17-year-old from Rochester, has received the American Vision Award for her work. She was excited to have her portfolio selected for the show so the pieces would be hung together.
“They rely on each other,” she said. “They are a narrative.”
Audrey has always enjoyed art, she said, but did not start thinking about it seriously until high school.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a crayon in hand,” she said. “In high school, I started considering art more as a successful career path.”
Her favorite kind of art is illustrating, but she likes a variety of media, including drawing, painting, sculpting and digital art.
“It’s always been a successful medium of expression and communication for me,” she said. “I lean on it a lot to say what I want to say.”
Her art teacher, Diane Heath, said Audrey is uniquely dedicated and open to criticism. She also is talented at integrating traditional art with technology.
“No one’s ever created anything remotely like these,” she said of the portfolio. “They’re really unique.”
Audrey has two sisters and is the daughter of Janet and Keith Benjaminsen. She is a member of the National Honor Society and enjoys reading and making videos.
She plans to attend art school in the fall and hopes to work in the movie industry someday. She credits her success to not limiting herself and working hard.
“It becomes less of a pastime and more like a lifestyle,” she said.