BY CELESTE CARROLL —
If recently you went into the boys bathroom of the arts and sciences building at SHS and discovered what appeared to be works of art upon the wall, Jack Tetting, freshman, most likely is the person responsible for what you saw.
The three art pieces included– a print, a photograph and a self-portrait– stand, evenly positioned above the three urinals in the bathroom, complete with small labels describing the piece, similar to what you would see in an art museum.
This collection of personal works displayed in a gallery-like manner is a piece Tetting calls The Bathroom Art Gallery, and it was put up Wednesday, March 2. The gallery, which originally began as a project for his Intermediate Graphic Design class, has grown to be much more. A product of his passion for creativity and the want to make a change in people’s perception of their environment, The Bathroom Art Gallery certainly makes a statement in the average person’s trip to the bathroom.
“Originally, [this project] was for a magazine cover design for [my] intermediate graphic design class, but then it grew and I really got into it because … spaces can be pretty boring, and they should be creative,” Tetting said. “I wanted to make it more interesting. Sometimes the world can be a little bland,”
Jack Hietpas, freshman, agreed and said the gallery was a surprising, but unique, addition.“It was really nice to be inspired by art while I [used the bathroom]. It was really unusual, and I was really surprised,” Hietpas said.
Tetting’s love for the arts began when he was young, and it has only grown since then; he said he credits his passion for art and creativity to his time at Lake Bluff Elementary school with Kevin Karman, art teacher, as well as his time living with his uncle.
“[I learned] mostly just techniques [from Mr. Karman] and it kind of just got me started with art,” Tetting said. “Outside of class, my uncle taught me how to draw anatomy, how to draw shading and all that kind of stuff. I looked at artists and books too, to learn. And I really like going to art museums.”
Tetting says that his interest in art has increased since becoming a freshman at SHS.“[Since] I was a kid, I always enjoyed art– it was a passion, but it wasn’t so much of a passion as it is now–now I’m taking zero hour art and graphic arts, so it’s nice to have two art classes,” Tetting said. “I come in after school a lot to do art with Mr. Zimpel and Ms. Mohagen. [There is] a lot more freedom and creativity.”
Outside of this project, Tetting also worked on the set design of the recent SHS production of American Idiot, helping to create the layered paper backdrops, and he, as well as a few peers and Jeff Zimpel, Graphic Arts teacher, are working on redesigning the upper pool lobby to display the tradition of excellence plaques. However, The Bathroom Art Gallery is Tetting’s most recent project, and one he hopes to further push and modify.
“I’ve talked to Mr. Zimpel and it seems like people would like to take this a little further and make it [more] official. And I think that’s a great idea,” Tetting said. “I would like to eventually have more artwork, more artists, and make it a little more official-like have frames, and more detailed cards, and I’d like to expand it into different areas of the school.”
Tetting said his goal with the gallery is to alter people’s environment, and how people perceive their environment. “The purpose was to make people’s experience, no matter where they are, a more creative experience,” Tetting said. “I hope the message [people receive out of this] is that making a space more creative is very powerful, and pretty much anyone can do it in their own way. And eventually we can make the whole world a more creative and powerful space.”
Zimpel agreed, saying the project’s message was worth the time it took to create.“I think most people won’t get [the bathroom art gallery,] and that’s understandable. [But] if it even affects one person’s perception of the environment, it’s well worth it,” Zimpel said.
Tetting hopes to pursue his passion for art as he gets older; he already is taking figure drawing classes at UWM and is considering going to college for art. According to Hietpas, Tetting’s creativity is thriving.
“Jack [Tetting] has got a lot of ideas in his cranium bath. He’s very prolific, he’s very good at coming up with ideas and making [them] happen,” Hietpas said.
It’s possible The Bathroom Art Gallery is just the beginning of Tetting’s artistic career, and as a freshman, he has three more years to expand his creativity and inspire with his public displays of art.
“If Jack’s already pursuing bathroom art projects as a freshman, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen by the time he’s a senior,” Zimpel said.