CONTRIBUTED BY MASHA GERASHCHENKO
With a charcoal pencil gripped in her hand, senior Masha Gerashchenko outlines the gymnast’s leg hoisted upon the studio’s bar, with the girl in the drawing peering into the floor-to-ceiling mirror in front of her. It’s a self-portrait from just a few hours ago.
Gerashchenko has been drawing for as long as she can remember, and her art serves as a therapeutic pause during her hectic day. Her art often reflects her current stage of life and evolves alongside her.
In the future, Gerashchenko said she will be able to look back on major elements of her life depicted in her artwork, such as rhythmic gymnastics, in which dancers perform floor routines using an apparatus, such as a ribbon or hoop.
“I don’t think rhythmic gymnastics is always going to stay a big part of my life. I’m going to retire from the sport next year, but I think having that art and that piece of my life is always going to stay with me,” Gerashchenko said.
Gerashchenko said she appreciates how she can illustrate the beauty of dance in her drawings.
“Rhythmic gymnastics is kind of an art on its own in the way you use your body and contort it into different shapes,” Gerashchenko said. “Rhythmic gymnastics moves, but my art doesn’t, so it’s this awesome crossover.”
Senior Katya Ivanova said that Gerashchenko’s art is impactful and leaves viewers with a powerful message.
“She drew from her own experience for her piece with a rhythmic gymnast stretching and I really like her use of predominantly black and white; there’s a lot of strong contrast,” Ivanova said.
Art teacher Donna Sartanowicz said in her Advanced Drawing and Painting course last year, Gerashchenko was able to convert tangible feelings in gymnastics into her art.
“Her physical experience helped to inform the way she composed her images and allowed the viewer to have an experience of the tension and stretching involved in that type of athletic challenge,” Sartanowicz said.
Gerashchenko said that she has already seen her art develop throughout high school in both the medium she uses, through transitioning to greater use of charcoal, and the pieces’ subjects.
During class last year, Sartanowicz said she witnessed Gerashchenko grow as an artist and start to find her artistic voice.
“As the year wore on, I saw her develop more expertise with materials, and she started to pay more attention to the overall design and composition of the work,” Sartanowicz said.
Ivanova said it’s impressive that Gerashchenko continues to find time to draw.
“A lot of the time people get caught up in getting schoolwork done or using social media to pass free time. I think it’s inspiring that Masha is able to incorporate something meaningful into her free time: her art,” Ivanova said.
Although she does not envision her art leading to a career, Gerashchenko said she believes art will continue to play a role in her life.
“I think the creative aspect of art is always going to be somewhere in my life, no matter what stage I’m in,” Gerashchenko said.