Thunder Mountain High School junior Madison Kahle holds a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School junior Madison Kahle holds a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain students swap art with New York City artist

Each piece was original and unique

Thunder Mountain High School art students recently received an unexpected shipment.

It contained about two dozen deer drawn on glass by New York City artist Ian Sklarsky, whose work inspired a recent drawing class project.

“I had no idea he would even do that,” art teacher Angela Imboden said. “I didn’t know what he was going to send.”

[You’ve got one month to see this art show]

Sklarsky sent about two dozen drawings of deer on glass for the Thunder Mountain students.

The works are similar to prints found on Sklarsky’s online shop for $75, but students received original works on glass and no two are totally alike.

Each tiny pane includes an edge covered in colored wax, which is one of Sklarsky’s signatures.

The gifts made their way to students because the young artists tried their hands at blind contour drawing, a type of art that uses one continuous line to depict a subject — like an Etch A Sketch.

Students then filled in the drawings with water colors.

The art style was inspired by a TED Talk Sklarsky gave about his art, which the students watched in class.

Since Sklarsky generally draws others, the class opted to draw the artist and shared the resulting pictures with him.

“He thought they were awesome,” Imboden said.

[Stream local: Podcasts have a Juneau presence]

Students said they were grateful for the pieces and enjoyed learning a new way to make art.

“I thought it was really, really fun,” said Catherine Ackerman, a senior. “There was no pressure to make it perfectly.”

Students didn’t just draw Sklarsky, they also drew each other or used photos for inspiration.

Some of the results look a lot like their subject matter, while others were more abstract or had a Picasso-like style.

“Mine didn’t look like a person,” said Alina Renz, a junior at Thunder Mountain.

Some students in the class said they tried to think about the path their hand would need to take ahead of time while others espoused a more improvisational approach.

However, working with one line means strategic switchbacks, scribbles and tiny flubs are part of the process. Students universally acknowledged even with forethought, some imperfections were unavoidable.

“It never comes out how you want it to,” said Madison Kahle, a junior. “You want it to be perfect. You kind of feel it’s not going to look good, but that’s part of the art.”

Giving too

Thunder Mountain High School students also recently contributed portraits to the Memory Project.

The nonprofit collects portraits of children in impoverished parts of the world to distribute to the children. Additionally, $15 is collected to cover the costs of the project, and excess funds are donated to charity.

This year, $6,000 was collected by the project and donated to Colombian charities, and Colombian children received the portraits.

Students were able to see a video of 3 to 5-year-old children in Colombia receiving the portraits.

“It was pretty cool to see,” said Tzadi Hauck, a TMHS junior. “Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


Thunder Mountain High School junior Alina Renz holds a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School junior Alina Renz holds a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Art teacher Angela Imboden, left, talks to students Catherine Ackerman, second from left, Madison Kahle, Tyler Johnson, Alina Renz and Tianah Sangster on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, who participated in a blind contour drawing project and received a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Art teacher Angela Imboden, left, talks to students Catherine Ackerman, second from left, Madison Kahle, Tyler Johnson, Alina Renz and Tianah Sangster on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, who participated in a blind contour drawing project and received a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School art teacher Angela Imboden talks to students on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, who participated in a blind contour drawing project and received a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School art teacher Angela Imboden talks to students on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, who participated in a blind contour drawing project and received a signed drawing of a deer’s head on plexiglass by professional contour artist Ian Sklarsky. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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