Pottery with macho look earns national award for Rogers’ Vaa

by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

Wyatt Vaa decided last fall to try make the art of pottery a little more macho.

The Rogers senior created an angular, metallic-looking piece entitled “Sergeant,” and its panache and originality impressed judges at the National Scholastic Art Awards competition.

Wyatt Vaa's "Sergeant"
Wyatt Vaa’s “Sergeant”

Vaa received a Gold Award for the 15-inch-high piece, which will be displayed at Carnegie Hall in New York in late May and early June, along with other winners from across the nation.

Wyatt Vaa
Wyatt Vaa

“Most pottery has kind of a female figure,” Vaa said. “I wanted to try something more masculine.”
This was Vaa’s second and best attempt in this genre; his first was called “Commander.”

“It looks like a big, stocky guy with strong shoulders,” said Vaa,  adding that the metallic look comes form black ice glaze.

Vaa said the national award made him re-think his college plans. Leaning toward special education previously, he’s now “back to undecided” with an art major still in the picture. He’ll start at Alexandria Technical and Community College.

Also honored from RHS is senior Trent Rgnonti, who got a Silver Award for an acrylic painting, “Dale,” a clever depiction of a motorcycle driver whose face is seen only in the rear-view mirror.

Trent Rgnonti's painting "Dale" got a silver award.
Trent Rgnonti’s painting “Dale” got a silver award.

“These students have been identified by panels of creative professionals as the most talented young artists in the nation,” said Su Sebghati, their teacher. “This year, 255,000 works were submitted. Only the top one percent were recognized at the national level.”

Both are invited to attend a national ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 6, which will be webcast live at 5 p.m. Central time. Vaa said it will be difficult for them to make that trip because RHS’s graduation is the day before.