16 March

A Wonderful Artist Named Jared Soars At Bishop Gibbons. Re-Imagining Indiana Jones And The Fashion Culture With Legos

by Jon Katz

Jared is a gracious, shy, and gifted art student in Sue Silverstein’s excellent Bishop Gibbons High School art program. He has a dry sense of humor and is quiet and soft-spoken. He came to Sue and said he had an idea for a different photo assignment than the one given. Sue has been singing his praises to me all semester.

He said he wanted to “build his sets” and do a kind of spoof showing an Indiana Jones leggo character against the background of the fashion culture. Sue told him to proceed, as always, when students showed initiative. He wanted to know if it was okay to “build the sets” and do something different. Sure, said Sue, go for it.

The result is a brilliant take on vintage fashion photography, using Indiana Jones in full costume as told with Lego buildings and figures.

This is a strikingly original work; I thank Sue for permitting and recognizing it. The assignment was to take photos of people dressing up in vintage clothes. It was a fashion photo project.

Jared took this idea and made it his own astonishingly unique way.

For me, the Legos are fun but the least of it. This was a photo contest, and his photography is excellent. What Sue saw and what I see is a young artist savvy and imaginative enough to see how to connect his Legos to a fashion project, using his Legos to make the point.

Everyone else was using fashion people as models and dressing them up for photographs/ Jared used Legos, a unique and original idea. He then made these great sets (even spoofing Edward Hopper’s diner paintings).

He decided to use the fashion of Indiana Jones – a fashion genre, especially with the hats and other Jones clothes.

He took the idea further by re-creating Lego a fashion backdrop much like the ones in magazines. He put all of this into an art category, a wise and very creative impulse. He capped it all off by taking terrific photographs, clear in detail and rich in color and atmosphere.

The whole package was great, every part of it, from inception to execution. Just think of the work and thought it took. It has a very artistic feeling, we get what he is doing, but we never expected to see it through Legos.

I would have been proud to have taken any one of them. I’ll find out more about Jared, but I believe this is the first art class like this that he has ever taken. Sue spotted his talent immediately and gave him a lot of space to grow and experiment. He took it and ran. Next week, I’ll be proud to take his portrait.

Think what he can do with my Werewolf Cane.

Thanks, Sue, for alerting me to this.  It’s exciting. Your art program is one of the most innovative things I’ve ever seen in any school I’ve been in.  You are reaching these children in a new way.

You are pulling gold out of them and changing their lives. I need to say again that none of this would be possible without the support of the Army of Good and the wonderful people who have been shipping all kinds of art supplies that are making this possible. Thanks to you all as well.



Jared’s photos have a particular cultural awareness; using Indiana Jones to make his point was dry and sly. Jared had a vision for those projects and wasn’t afraid to deviate from the original instructions.

He also has a teacher who is not scared to let him deviate. I doubt he will forget this opportunity. He’s good. There is something deep inside of him.

The idea of Leggo Art is not new to me, but this is a beautiful and timely example. I love the point he is trying to make and the way he made it. Just look at those backgrounds.


I was blown away by the imagination, vision, and creativity I saw in Jared’s work. He was pleased I liked his work. I’ll so my best to ensure he knows how good this is.

I’m going to meet with him and interview him when I go to Bishop Gibbons next week.

Sue says he is very interested in photography, so I ordered three books for him as a surprise; they will arrive Monday.

One is a book called Black, a collection of photographs dealing with black culture; the second is the Beginner’s Photography Guide; and the third is Gordon Parks, How The Photographer Captured Black and White America.

This was a beautiful example of how a great teacher and an excellent art program draw fantastic work out of young people who have never seen themselves as gifted artists or been allowed to experiment.

I suspect some still consider creative careers. Sue finds the best in her students everywhere she goes and lights the Creative Spark.

I’m impressed. This is first-rate stuff.


  1. This kid apparently has $300 to spend on a Lego kit so he can do whatever assignment he feels like doing. Why exactly are we donating to this “needy” school? Sheesh!

    1. Stephen, I don’t have the time or space to detail all of this message’s dumb, insensitive, false, and small-minded comments. On behalf of Jared, I’ll try. “this kid” deserves so much better than you.

      First, you have no idea if the legos he used cost $300 or were gifts, loans, or even his.

      That is none of your business or mine. He wasn’t praised for putting a lot of legos together; he was commended for doing so creatively and skillfully and for showing initiative and keen photographic skills.

      The photo contest is not a lego contest; it’s about a young artist’s creative decision to use lego pieces and kits to meet the class assignment in his way and to tie the Lego to a discussion of fashion culture while taking a poke at it. The number of pieces or their construction or cost has nothing to do with the photo contest, which is about vintage fashion culture.

      It was very creative for him to do this – how blind of you not to notice it. How small to belittle his work.

      I love it; his teacher loves it, and my wife Maria, an accomplished artist, loves it. I can’t praise it enough and am proud to have written it.

      I’m eager to praise it again, and I will, despite any peckerheads waiting to snipe and sneer.

      Kids like Jared need and deserve encouragement and praise, not sniping from gasbags hiding behind computers.

      So sad to try to demean and belittle a child’s enterprising work.

      For this, I’m using my new software to block you, and I didn’t do it right away because I thought Jared deserved support. I see you are concerned about donations. His school is needy; another ignorant statement, but I dont see you on any of the donation lists. And I doubt you’ve even read this piece.

      I’d be happy to get you a refund if you had donated anything; if you did, just let me know. The art program never asks for money, only recycled things, and uses no outsider money to make art with (another dumb and misleading statement.) The school does not have the funds to do this. And without those donated things, there would be no art program. No one gave a dollar for this photo contest or for Jared’s contribution.

      So easy to blow smoke out of your ass from some cell phone or computer. Go away; this was the last message you will ever post here. Best and goodbye, Jon.

      1. Hi. I know Jared and his family personally. He is a quiet, thoughtful young man who has grown into the person who is willing to express himself artistically in ways that I never thought he could do. For someone to take a cheap shot at him and like whoever Stephen is did, is another example of why we need more people like Jared. Congratulations to Jared!👏🏾 Keep climbing.

        1. Thanks, Gregory, I much appreciate the note. Sue say the same things about him, and I am a fan and admirer. Stephen ran and hid, as people like that usually do. He doesn’t matter.

    2. Stephen, have you ever looked at anything without suspicion? Ever taken a look at a situation and not taken it as a personal affront?

      Have you ever stepped into your own creativity and had another person dump all over it; question your motives or your authenticity?

    1. Thanks, Penny, Jared did a great job of re-imagining this assignment and tying it to the fashion culture idea..I’m looking forward to meeting him next week..

  2. Exceptional work by Jared. And an excellent teacher who allows to follow their creative ideas. Bravo! And thank you for using your blocking software.

  3. All I could think of when I saw these photos was how beautiful and creative for someone to take those objects and express irony and parody with such great craft. This is a skilled young man who’s doing this. It gives me hope for the future.

    The response by the writer complaining about the cost and use of the materials shows s/he/it is very insular with an illiberal view of art, which sadly is happening more and more in America’s education. People study how to run machines and call themselves educated. They’re not; they’re trade school. A “liberal education” includes training our minds to a broad view of history by studying philosophy, history, art, basic science, mathematics, rhetoric, …, whether in school or on Sunday afternoon study time. It has nothing to do with politics. This student has that imagination intuitively. His family should be very proud. “Liberal education” (foundational in the West) separates homo sapiens from those who have imagination (and everything that implies) from the brute beasts among us.

    Stephen lacks imagination. Tell him to start with the bibles of every religions, Homer, and go from there.

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