Dynamic Drip Painter Brings Excitement to STEAM Expo

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Deer Park’s districtwide STEAM Expo, an annual event at the high school held on budget vote night, showcases student achievement in art, music, science and technology. During this year’s Expo on May 16, an expanding crowd of visiting voters, families and community members were electrified by an exciting live demonstration of celebrity portrait “drip painting” by sophomore artist Vincenza Grippe.

After taking Rita Murphy’s mural painting class in her freshman year, Grippe was ready to take her work to the next level.

“On the first day of school in September, Vincenza came to my drawing and painting class and stated that she loved art,and wanted to work on her art skills as much as possible,” said teacher Joseph Mucci. Before long, she had been recommended to paint an outer space mural at STAT Health’s childrens unit. Then came the genesis of her unique technique.

“One day in my drawing and painting class, Vincenza came to me and said she wanted to try a new style of portrait painting that involved drip and splatter techniques,” said Mucci. “We stretched some canvases, and she started painting away. She had some black paint and a few old palette knives. She started basic and small, but the outcome was remarkable. In a few quick weeks, she was painting masterful drip portraits featuring iconic personalities like, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Biggy Smalls, Frida Kahlo and John Lennon.”

Grippe has recently done other live drip painting demonstrations at events like the Staten Island Art Festival, and has sold several paintings and received numerous commissions. She is currently painting a mural for local paintball facility NYZ Apocalypse. Next year, she plans to enroll in Deer Park’s Advanced Placement portfolio art course.

“Vincenza is one of the best art students I have ever had in almost 17 years of teaching,” said Mucci. “Her talent and work ethic is professional and unmatched. She is mature beyond her years and has a kind heart. She has come a long way in such short time, and her optimism, smile and overall character only add to her unbelievable ability. I truly believe that Vincenza is at the beginning of her creative career as a professional artist.”

Other STEAM Expo highlights included lively and elegant music by the Robert Frost Middle School Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra; dramatic performances by high school actors excerpting works like “Romeo and Juliet,” “Barefoot in the Park” and “Cinderella”; and a “Evening at the Improv” performance by Robert Frost eighth-grade theater arts students. Middle school science fair projects were on display in the cafeteria, and technology demonstrations throughout the building included seventh-grade dragster races, AP chemistry projects, and displays of 3D printing, CAD, metals, robotics, home improvement, woodworking, animation and architecture.