October 2023

teen voices

AFH Teen Artist, Claire Lovett, makes her mark

written by Elizangi Araujo

Canvas to Chromosomes

Artists For Humanity interior mural at CRISPR in South Boston.

“I looked up opportunities to start doing art outside of school and I asked a friend who helped me get a tour” is what AFH Teen Artist Claire Lovett, now 18, said about why she joined Artists For Humanity. A year and a half later, Claire has taken her art skills to Rhode Island School of Design this fall, one of the oldest and best art schools in the United States.

Before joining AFH, Claire did a lot of digital art, but never painting. At AFH, she was able to expand her medium and learn different painting techniques from her mentor, Gary Chen. This led to her participating in her first interior mural for State Street Global Advisors, which used data visualization to portray their stock’s growth over time. 

“A lot of what I learned is from [my mentor] Gary walking me through different techniques. Just working at AFH six hours at a time, you’re sure to learn.”

Yet, her biggest project and accomplishment is the mural AFH just finished at CRISPR’s new seven-story lab building on A Street in South Boston, right next door to AFH!

LLMDesign commissioned AFH on behalf of their client, CRISPR Therapeutics, a company which works on gene-editing treatments. There was a theme attached to each floor and AFH was tasked with designing and executing a mural on their third floor inspired by the theme ‘water’.

In fact, Claire is the brains behind the mural design. Trusted with coming up with an amazing sketch, Claire had to figure out how to make the theme relevant to CRISPR.  Her background in digital art came into use. “When I first saw her [Claire’s] sketch, I thought it looked really good,” said Yumiko Chow, another AFH teen who worked on this mural.

During her research, she learned that water is the building block of DNA. Inspired by the movements of the double helix, she drew an analogy to how fish move through water. With this information, she began sketching her ideas, using water droplets to build a strand of DNA that transitions into a life form—in this case, a fish. She was amazed when her concept was chosen by the client.

AFH Teen Artist Claire Lovett in front of CRISPR video in progress
AFH Teen Artists Claire Lovett with her work in progress.

AFH Mural at CRISPR HQ in South Boston

Upon seeing the actual wall, she was struck by how large it was— around 60 feet long and 10 feet high—with one section of the wall going as high as 13 feet. Claire knew it was going to be a challenge. Yet working with her fellow teen artists and Luis Urena, the lead AFH mentor on the project, she dove right in.

When painting, Claire focused on bringing the fish to life, which she said was loosely inspired by the look of a Mandarin fish. She loved seeing how the other teens working alongside her were able to add their own flair to the painting process. She notes that the sketch and the mural look different, but she liked how the mural turned out since “everyone was able to be a little more creative with it and highlight something, especially the small details” that she didn’t think to consider during the sketching process. 

“It’s so cool to have something [on a wall] that you made that the [CRISPR] workers will be able to look at [each day]!”

LLM Design's Project Coordinator, Kelly Williamson, was just as thrilled! 

"[The teens] crushed it!" 

Claire loves knowing that she contributed to this mural. She wants to take all her experiences painting murals with AFH and do more on her own in the future. She really paid attention to the process—learning how to break it up, limit the amount of colors and make smooth lines—so she can apply this knowledge to her future artistic work.

Thank you to our supporters, including:

The Lynch Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Sustaining Grants - Cummings Foundation - Cummings Foundation
State Street
John Hancock - MLK Scholars
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Mass Cultural Council
The Wilson Sheehan Foundation
Wellington Management
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Ann Theodore Foundation
edvestors - Driving Change in Urban Schools