Student Art Spotlight: Markus Silvertree


Courtesy of Markus Silvertree

WCHS senior Markus Silvertree paints in his 4th period class, AP Art Studio, for his sustained investigation. On this large sheet, a compilation of ideas for new and potential pieces are mixed into one consolidated and designed brainstorming board.

By Hannah Zozobrado, Arts Editor

It is commonly said that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but what they don’t say is that as the apple falls down, it gets closer to the tree’s roots. In the case of senior Markus Silvertree, his roots are planted into the grounds of art and creativity, similar to his parents.

“Honestly, I don’t remember when I started making art,” Silvertree said. “My parents are both artists and I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember.”

Having taken 3 art courses throughout his high school career—including Drawing and Design, Ceramics and AP Studio Art—Silvertree has explored new concepts in art and in the usage of various mediums. 

“In AP Art Studio, I try to vary my mediums,” Silvertree said. “There aren’t limits to what we can use besides oil paint; my favorite mediums are linoleum printing and charcoal.”

Within WCHS, while he is active in the art community, Silvertree spends his free time at home on his digital drawings and paintings. These works revolve around his goal to familiarize and normalize the distressing elements of life.

“I’m inspired by things that are shocking or disturbing,” Silvertree said. “I try to explore them and make them more familiar using art.”

Another inspiration Silvertree has, in terms of artists, is American pop artist Keith Haring. 

“I like a lot of pop artists, and Keith Haring is one of my favorites—I actually have a tattoo of his famous dog drawing on my arm,” Silvertree said. “He managed to make art that was both expressive and simple; I also admire how he used his fame to support the rights of marginalized people and raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic.”

With Haring being active in raising awareness about the ongoing AIDS epidemic, Silvertree enjoys the idea of blending art with real-time events and issues. Currently, in AP Studio Art, his theme for his artwork brushes upon national controversies.

“I’m doing a sustained investigation on political violence,” Silvertree said. “In general I focus a lot on using shapes and colors to make something interesting.”

In the future, Silvertree would like to pursue his career in the field of art. As of current, Silvertree is still deciding whether or not to pursue art in college. However, one major he has in mind is robotics engineering—if not directly creating art itself, then why not make art through science?

“As of right now, I don’t have a specific idea in mind for any potential art forms that I’d want to make through robotics, but one piece that really inspires me is ‘Can’t Help Myself’ by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu,” Silvertree said. “It’s interesting to see a huge machine move in a very organic way.”

As creativity and paint run through his blood, Silvertree’s intense and profound appreciation for art hints that perhaps art is beyond what we see on its canvas, like how they embed personal expression on current political issues and social awareness. This interrelation between one’s knowledge of the world and art only proves Michelangelo’s words: “a man paints with his brains and not with his hands.”

According to Silvertree, this same philosophy applies to his beliefs as well.

“I think the separation of art and academia decreases the quality of both,” Silvertree said. “Both are ways we interpret ourselves and the world around us, and I think they should be intertwined, not separated.”