Signature Experience: Exploring childhood memories through art

During their junior and senior years, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in their field of choice through the Peddie Signature Experience.  Designing their own program of independent research or creative work under the guidance of faculty mentors, students in the Signature Program are able to immerse themselves fully within their field of choice.

“The Signature Experience program is incredible,” Gabriel '20 said. “It provided me the opportunity to explore and expand my interests. It’s also a great way to open yourself to a whole new network of people from all over the country and the world.”

It was during Gabe’s junior year, after reading an email about it from a faculty member who knew of Gabe’s interest in drawing, that he decided he wanted a Signature Experience in Art. Gabe, who says his preferred art form is mixed media with markers, pens, pencil and gouache, went on to spend six rewarding weeks in an art program at Rhode Island School of Design. “It really piqued my interest because it offered a wide range of concentrations to choose from, as well as the promise of college-level courses,” he said.

Peddie artist drawing in studio

Gabe at work in his studio. All students in Honors Studio Art are assigned their own studio to work on their portfolios.

The immersive program saw Gabe learning about and working on art all day. “The three-hour studio sessions allowed me to get into a flow that I couldn’t achieve in a high school classroom. I felt fine getting lost in a piece for hours because I was not thinking about other courses or homework.”

When Gabe returned to Peddie, he integrated these new skills and developed his style further in Honors Studio Art, working on a new body of paintings in gouache for his senior thesis. "My goal in each piece is to create a fantastical scene rooted in childhood memories that sparks a sense of awe in the viewer. It is only through art that I can communicate these feelings to others," he said.