by Rebecca Pierce

It was late in the day when we arrived at Montgomery Bell Academy’s art studios, but there were still plenty of young artists at work and you could feel the creative energy. Art teacher Vivian Komando explained,“The boys’ passion for creating and learning about art is ongoing, and students can be found working in the studios before and after school, during their study halls, or during lunch.”    

“I fell in love with it and was so blown away by what I could do,” Lucas explained. 

MBA’s visual arts program introduces students to a variety of media, but the goal of the program is to help each student develop his technical skills as he expands his personal vision. Here we bring you five of MBA’s art students who are definitely on the horizon in Nashville’s art community.

Lucas Littlejohn

Senior Lucas Littlejohn could spend every breathing moment in the art studio and is constantly pursuing his passion. He is a painter but also loves to explore other media such as pastels and printmaking. Lucas has studied art through most of his high school career, but amazingly he just started painting with oil this January. “I fell in love with it and was so blown away by what I could do,” Lucas explained.

When asked about art in his future Lucas says, “I am definitely planning on being a double major in art and another field, probably environmental studies, chemistry, or engineering. I’m interested in the applied arts—product design maybe. Wherever I am, I have to be in a creative environment.”

Tom Bu

Senior Tom Bu explained that most of his work is inspired by nature, and sometimes he creates images in nature, thinking wouldn’t it be weird if this happened. His sister, an artist in high school, inspired Tom when she painted Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It made him dream of doing similar things and motivated him to take art classes.

Tom’s favorite medium is charcoal because he can smear it and manipulate the contrast, but last semester he got into computer graphics and photographic manipulation. His digital compositions stem from drawing. Tom says that art is a passion for him, and he will continue in college. “I can’t always find the words to express a feeling so I express it visually.”

Senior Galen Bullington is closing in on his first 10,000 photographs, but photography was not his first love. The summer after his sophomore year he was going into AP Art and he had an assignment to take one hundred photographs in thirty-three categories. He didn’t know how he was going to do it so he just started shooting and ended up with over 3,000 photos.

Galen Bullington

“I find I take lots and lots of photos, but I usually use about five out of 200, and I’ll work with those for several hours or days in Photoshop.” Galen has much respect for old black-and-white photographers and their work, but he can’t resist color. He also likes abstract photography, night photography, and light painting.

Freshman Corbitt Dicker has always been interested in art, and his artistic endeavors have always been encouraged. Though he has taken some workshops, this year he is taking his first official, for-credit art class. “I enjoy working with all media but I usually go through a phase where I am inspired to work with a certain medium, and I try to learn how to use it well.” Currently he is working with optical illusions because he has always liked Escher.

Corbitt’s favorite creative process is when the images come to him and he can illustrate what he has envisioned. His visions are fueled by his love of art. According to instructors and peers, Corbitt’s passion to create shines in the art studio, and he inspires those around him.

Corbitt Dicker


Jack Coyle

Junior Jack Coyle searches for discarded objects like old boards and signs to use as surfaces for his imagery. He studies each surface for clues as to what sort of subject matter and medium goes with its history. For example, the surface of Train Yard was already marked with graffiti so he incorporated graffiti into his rendering of the train. The synthesis of these two components makes his art intriguing as one discovers his intent. According to Jack, “I look to my subject matter to find meaning.”

Drawing with pencil since he was a youngster, Jack is currently broadening his horizons into a diversity of media. He’ll take AP Art next year and says that art is something he wants to do the rest of his life.


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