Readers of this year’s holiday issue of Princeton Magazine will be stunned by the artwork that appears on its cover. They’ll be even more impressed when they find out that the recycled gown is the work of 16-year-old artist Victoria Gebert, a junior at Princeton High School (PHS).
Ms. Gebert won the magazine’s annual student art contest. She also placed first in fashion design at Princeton University’s Trash Artstravaganza and has been recognized by the the selection committee for the annual National YoungArts Foundation competition.
Out of over 10,000 talented young artists nationwide, Ms. Gebert has been selected as a 2014 Young-Arts winner, one of only 25 visual artists named as such. She will have the opportunity to participate in the Foundation’s finals week in January in Miami when her work will be considered in the final adjudication for a prize of between $1000 and $10,000.
For over 30 years, Young-Arts has been inspiring the country’s outstanding young artists and Ms. Gebert is looking forward to the trip, which she expects to be a “life changing experience.”
YoungArts Week is a chance to meet other talented and motivated artists, share creative energy, and learn from master teachers. “I feel so lucky to be recognized for work that I just love doing so much,” said Ms. Gebert, who has been painting, drawing, and sculpting since she was a student at Princeton Day School. By her freshman year at PHS she was already creating dozens of highly personalized, detailed paintings for her peers.
In addition to a permanent mural at PHS, she has designed and painted flyers, t-shirts, and fundraising posters. Some of her best work so far includes the beautiful dress chosen for the cover of Princeton magazine. With its exquisitely crafted bodice, it is hard to believe it is constructed entirely of trash. She has also created a sculpture of a gaping mouth from plastic eating utensils and nutrition labels. The young artist has said that she is inspired by the beauty in everyday things and finds her work most satisfying when it takes advantage of simple materials like tin cans and plastic bottles.
The Gebert family came to Princeton from Germany in 1996 when string theorist Reinhold Gebert was invited to the Institute for Advanced Study by Edward Witten. Victoria was born in Princeton hospital in 1997. She is the youngest of four children and has two sisters and a brother. “She has always been creative in the way she dresses and in the way she decorates her room,” said her mother Brig Gebert. “She is a great reader and I think that has contributed to her artistic development. Contrary to the idea most people have about artists as flamboyant, Victoria is quite introverted and is most content when working on a project. That’s her private time. She is very focused and very dedicated. I’ve seen her rip stuff apart if it doesn’t satisfy her. And it’s work that looks wonderful to me,” said Ms. Gebert.
Chances are, we will be hearing more about Ms. Gebert.