Warwick Valley artist of the week: Grace Hoey


Warwick Valley artist of the week: Grace Hoey

September 20, 2019

‘You should get involved because art fuels your creativity.’

Markers and pencils are two art tools that help define Warwick Valley High School junior Grace Hoey’s success as a portraitist.

Artist Grace HoeyThat’s because Grace uses those markers and pencils to create stunningly unique artistic representations of people, revealing their likenesses, personalities and even moods.

But, Grace’s interest in the arts extends beyond the traditional art classroom. She’s also involved in theater, dance and chorus and would love to find a way to involve all in a future career…. maybe even as an art teacher.  For these reasons and more, Grace is this week’s Warwick Valley “Artist of the Week.”

“When I was in preschool, one of the things I always drew were fairies,” she said. “Then in middle school, I liked to draw album covers or lead singers from those albums, and provide contrast in their faces.”    

Differentiation with pencils and markers  

That led to Grace’s interest in focusing on portrait art, with her pieces differentiated through the use of pencil and markers.  

“For pencil portraits, there’s realism,” said Grace. “For my marker portraits, they’re more cartoonish and always bright. Plus, for my maker portraits, I always incorporate a nose bleed into my work. It provides contrast. I think it makes it more interesting. It’s my style, my signature. I think it looks better, I think it makes it different. My art teacher is always confused by this.” 

Grace Hoey's artworkKristen Spano, Grace’s art teacher, marvels at her creativity.

“With the stroke of a Copix marker, Grace is able to make her portraits come to life,” she said. “In fact, Grace recently placed first at state level for a series of portraits she created for the PTA Reflection’s ‘Heroes Among Us’ competition. Her portraits literally transformed into heroes right before your eyes.”

Grace has also showcased her work in district art shows and the annual Orange County Arts Council’s art exhibit at the Galleria at Crystal Run in Middletown.

‘…I’ll find a way to put a face on it.’

Her interest in portraits is seen in all classwork. For example, a recent assignment challenged students to take a dictionary page given to them by the teacher, select a word from that page and artistically represent it.

From the random page given to Grace, she selected the word “queen.”

“No matter what the art assignment is, I’ll find a way to put a face on it,” she said.

Grace opted to use that word as a springboard to create a marker portrait of the late Freddie Mercury, Queen’s lead singer. Her portrait was of him was during the time in his career he wore short hair, because she knew short hair would provide the high definition she wanted in her work.

“Art is so important to me,” said Grace. “It feels like it’s the one thing I can always do. If I ever have free time, I’ll take out my markers and my sketch book.”

In addition to a rigorous academic schedule, Grace’s time is filled with participating in the high school’s Drama Club and the Acting Out Playhouse in Warwick. This past summer, she appeared in the Souza Scholarship production of “All Shook Up” and is hopeful to appear in the high school’s production of “Almost, Maine.”

“The people in Acting Out, Souza and the Drama Club are some of the best people I’ve ever met,” she added.

Grace is also a singer and was selected as a member of the 2019 Orange County All-County Jazz Choir.

‘Everyone, deep down, has creativity in them.’

“I love to act, sing and dance,” she stressed. “I love art; this has all changed me a lot. I’m a different person since I’ve branched out. It’s made me more confident, and more confident in the arts.”

Grace encourages others to equally branch out and give drawing, painting, singing, dancing or even acting a chance.

“Art doesn’t have a limit,” she said. “You can do whatever you want. You should get involved because art fuels your creativity. Everyone, deep down, has creativity in them. You just have to let it out.”   



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