How Art Influences the Youth


Every artist has people that they look to and admire. As an artist, it’s important to have these figures as guiding lights or simply a source of happiness. As a Black artist, I find myself admiring other Black artists and their work because I can directly relate to it. For Black History Month, I will introduce some of my favorite Black artists.

The first artist I will introduce is Myles Loftin ( He is a photographer and a graduate from the Parsons School of Design in New York. His work has been featured in New York Magazine, i-D, and Vogue. He is most popular for his 2016 photo and video project entitled HOODED which explores how society criminalizes Black men and boys. 

The second artist is Tyler Mitchell ( He is a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts in New York. He is a photographer and filmmaker. He has photographed the likes of Beyoncé, Zendaya, and many other celebrities. He is most known for being the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue. 

The last artist I will introduce is Renell Medrano (, who is a photographer as well. She joins Myles Loftin as an alumni of the Parsons School of Design. Her work encompasses her Afro-Latina heritage and the culture of her home, Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, GQ, and many other magazines. 

Those are just a few of my influences. The themes and topics they incorporate in their work have inspired my own work. For example, Myles Loftin’s portraits of his friends from different angles inspired me to take portraits of my friends and experiment with angles. I interviewed another artist in the Mercy community, Arryn Berroya ’22, about her artistic influences, and this is what she had to say.

Q: What kind of artwork do you make?

Arryn Berroya ’22: I’ve experimented and practiced with other mediums such as colored pencils and acrylic paint. However, the media that I have been using most often, and are also the most comfortable for me, are charcoal, ink, and graphite pen on paper. There has been a common theme with most of my artworks, which mostly come from my memories, observations, and love for my family and Filipino culture. However, I do enjoy sketching interesting still life pieces and human figures.

Q: Who are your major influences? Why do they influence you?

Arryn Berroya ’22: Vincent Van Gogh was definitely one of the first artists that I was introduced to. I think he was the first artist where I learned that art could convey feelings, and not just pretty colors and amazing line work. He influenced me to make sure that I understand why I’m drawing or what is the purpose of my drawing. My art teachers in primary and middle school also influenced me to make art because they really boosted my confidence and encouraged me. But I have been drawing ever since I can remember, so the major influence I have is my older cousin who graduated from Mercy in 2011. She would have beautiful original paintings hanging around her house, which inspired me to be as good as her.

Q: Have they inspired any of your art pieces? 

Arryn Berroya ’22: I would say thta my cousin and my family as a whole do inspire what I create. Van Gogh and my art teachers taught me important lessons and skills that still influence my pieces today.

Please enjoy this artwork by Mercy students!