Caleb's Gothic

-A A +A
By Jesef Williams

When Caleb Story created his parody of the painting "American Gothic," he had no idea it would become an award-winning piece.

His main objective was to simply do a good job and have fun.

Story, an 11th-grader at Andrew Jackson High School, won Best of Show last week at the Lancaster County Fair's youth arts show.

He did his own take on the painting of the 1930s piece, which shows an older man and woman standing side-by-side in front of a Gothic-style house. The original painting is serious in nature, but Story had fun with it by painting himself between the couple. He has his arms around their shoulders and eyes wide and mouth open, as if he's pleasantly surprised.

The man, though, is glancing at Story out the corner of his eyes with a look of irritation.

Story's painting came as part of a self-portrait project he and his arts classmates completed earlier this year.

"I was looking through our arts text book. I saw it and knew I had to do that one," he said. "I could picture it. I knew it would be pretty cool."

Story's version of "American Gothic" was done with acrylic paints. He started with a sketch. He then painted the faces, next the clothing and finally the background. He left out a lot of the original background so his painting would place more emphasis on the facial expressions.

Story says he likes painting with water colors, too. He mainly does two-dimensional pieces, but wants to work more with pottery, sculpture and other types of three-dimensional works.

He enjoys light-hearted paintings, rather than works that are dark and gloomy. He considers himself a joyous person, and tries to inject his personality in a lot of his works.

"It's fun and you can express yourself," he said.

Story said his love for arts is a result of his mother's own interest in painting. He was enrolled in art classes at an early age and calls painting his favorite hobby.

A lot of talent here

Student entries at the youth show were separated into categories by grade levels. There were 42 entries total, all of which had to be two-dimensional pieces.

"I was pleased with the entries we had this year," said contest organizer Barbara Lynn. "This gives people a chance to see what the students are doing. We have a lot of talent in Lancaster."

Here are all the winners from the arts show:

Kindergarten - second grade

First place – Ni'Asia Miller, Clinton Elementary, second grade; second place – Bethany Steen, Heath Springs Elementary, kindergarten

third - fifth grade

First place - Aikiriea Crockett, Clinton Elementary, fourth grade; second place - Jamie McCume, Erwin Elementary, fifth grade

Sixth - eighth grade

First place - Quaderick Wylie, A.R. Ruker Middle, eighth grade; second place - Brittany Elliott, A.R. Rucker Middle

Ninth - 12th grade

First place - Katie Middleton, Andrew Jackson High, 11th grade; second place - Rachael Dippel, Andrew Jackson High, 11th grade

Contact Jesef Williams

at 283-1152 or