CAPE MAY — Joe Pasquarello stared at the mesmerizing images before him — a wide-eyed owl on scratchboard, a wintry forest in pen and ink, and a menacing wolf on scratchboard.
“Impressive — they all look like photographs,” he marveled, not taking his eyes off the artwork.
All created by talented Gloucester Catholic High School students, these three pieces joined others by South Jersey’s Catholic school students at “Art on the Mall,” an exhibition of paintings and sculptures currently taking place on the lower level of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Cape May.
Located on the busy Washington Street Mall, the inaugural event and its showcase of artistry has attracted and dazzled shoregoers like Pasquarello.
Colored pencils; ink on newsprint; charcoal; recycled materials. These were just some of the tools utilized by students to transfer their vision from their imaginations to blank canvases.
For Loren Simms, an incoming junior at Haddonfield’s Paul VI High School, the method of choice for her self-portraits was watercolor on paper. The finished work includes not only her smiling visage, but strokes of her life; palm leaves for her Jamaican background, a computer mouse for her interest in technology and graphic design; and running lanes for her high school track career.
“I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember,” she said, adding that her creative process includes listening to “Lo-fi” music.
Loren browsed her own artwork, and that of her counterparts, last week with her parents and sister, Alexa.
Unlike Simms, Navaro Bernard, a recent graduate of Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Atlantic City, “likes to keep things quiet” while he works. His colorful rendering of three birds hung on the wall in the lower church.
“I wanted to do something colorful,” the soft-spoken artist explained.
His mother, Maria, next to him, beamed. “I’m proud of my son,” she said.
“Art on the Mall” at 525 Washington Street in Cape May, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, is open all day to visitors until Aug. 16.