Creating Art Holds A Deeper Meaning For River Mastel

Nason Jones

For many, blank page of paper simply is nothing more than a piece of paper: something that can be written on with notes, or little doddles to pass the time.

For some though it is the birthplace of something beautiful that they see in their mind. Simple strokes of a pencil laying the foundation of the masterpiece. After being selected as what the genius wants, the color grazes the paper meticulously and methodically. In a matter of hours what was nothing more than a blank page becomes something of sheer beauty and awe.

For Art Sterling Scholar River Mastel, his love of it has become something much more than to pass the time, rather a place to grow, build, and embrace a different part of himself. River being able to effectively take any thoughts or ideas and placing it onto a page and creating a sheer beauty out of nothing.

It started in elementary school with art being a way to accept a part of himself that only grew in his middle school days, with his middle school teacher playing a very important role in his artistic goals.

“Now what I’m starting to realize with my style is that I enjoy surreal artwork,” Mastel said, “so that incorporates a lot of different forms of life and unusually objects that may or may not make sense.”

His ability to express artist is due part being able to express anything that he wants to express, something that Highland art teacher Jean Vandertoolen explains.

“In expressing art it’s not just copying something…. when you find something that speaks to your spirit and speaks to your soul it creates that depth of art that you don’t get when you are just copying a photograph.” Vandertoolen said.

Getting inspiration for art can come from many different places and sometimes can be difficult. Landscape art for a long time was a personal favorite of Mastel’s up until finding new types of art.

Mastel taking his art at a very mature level, expressing his family, his loves, and his heritage all making River’s art what it is now. And because of the deep connection he holds with his art it very often is extremely hard to let go of.

During an art show which he won in the district level, many people offered to buy the art, however it couldn’t be let go as it held to much of a connection for him.

“It (The Art that won) expresses who he is as a person and it became a part of him,” Vandertoolen said.

One of his favorite types of art, Landscape painting, has also given opportunities holds some connection with his long-time best friend Elaine Mork, when they met in the 7th grade in science class.

Elaine loved the outdoors and both of them would take trips out into nature where River could express his love for art and Elaine for her love of nature and photography.

“When we were in middle school, we went to Grand Teton (National Park) together and just recently we went canyoneering down in Southern Utah,” Mork said.

River while trying to take at least one art class each year throughout high school really looks towards a future in art and is applying to several art colleges with hopes of one day being in the field of art.

With art as his passion, it has become something that he focuses no only heavily on in practicing as well as studying and learning anything and everything about it.

“When you listen to him talk about art or analyze it you can tell he knows a lot about it and cares a lot about it,” Mork said.