Winniford awarded Best Film for SCOE’s Five-Minute Film Festival, first place in Congressional Art Competition
Winning the Congressional Art Competition for the second district with her mixed media piece “Deportado” was a big deal for Eden Winniford. With that win, coupled with a Best Film award from the Sonoma County Office of Education for her short Claymation film “United She Stands,” Winniford has had a busy year.
With these wins under her belt, Winniford said that she wants to continue art as a hobby. As for the future, with graduation looming, she’s planning on starting as an English major at UC Davis in the fall.
Creating art, both physical and digital, has been engrained in the Cloverdale High School senior since she was little.
“I’ve always been an artistic person and my mom taught me how to draw when I was really little,” she said. “She would have me enter the Citrus Fair art competition and would always like me to have something in there.”
Now, she’s in the Advanced Placement art class at CHS, which is where she initially drafted “Deportado.”
Winniford said that her art teacher, Jaimes Ayala, said that the art pieces submitted to the competition had to follow the theme of “California.”
“I didn’t really want to do a poppy,” she said. “I figured that I had the chance to use my voice in an effective way to say something that I thought was important. So I decided that I wanted to say something that I think — maybe it isn’t uniquely Californian — but it is very Californian because we are so close to the border and it happens every day.”
Winniford’s art piece depicts the shadow of a child tugging on the China Poblana dress of an adult. The image, combined with the title of the artwork, attempts to invoke the reality of the troubles facing many migrant families.
To make “Deportado,” Winniford built the bones of the piece using pen, pencil and Copic markers. From there, she uploaded it to her computer and used Photoshop to build the background and tweak the colors. This was done in part to offset the cost of producing the art piece, since a background made of ink would be more cost inefficient.
“I believe there’s a lot of injustice happening in our country right now, and we need to reform it somehow to make it a lot less painful,” she said, addressing the message she hopes the piece will send. “No matter what, people are people, they’re human beings. We have to treat them mindfully.”
As part of winning the District 2 Congressional Art Award, “Deportado” will be exhibited in the U.S. Congressional Building for a year with the winners from congressional districts across the country. Winniford is also being awarded two plane tickets to Washington, D.C., at the end of June to see her artwork on display and attend the ribbon cutting for the reception.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I’ve never been on an airplane before, never in my entire life, and I’ve traveled out of the state like three times. It’s wildly different from anything I’ve ever dreamed of. I didn’t see it coming at all. I’m really excited — I’m trying to figure out where we should get our Airbnb and what we should do when we get there.”
This is the second year in a row that a student from Cloverdale has won the Congressional Art Competition. Last year Johanna Echols Hansen student Jaslyn Ortiz won the competition for her piece “I Love You, California.”
In Winniford’s short film “United She Stands,” a Claymation woman stands in a field singing. After awhile, a cloud comes by and blows the music away. Later, the woman comes back with another person, and the process repeats. Eventually, so many Claymation people are standing in the field singing that the cloud is unable to blow the music away.
“I’ve always kind of felt like, you know, men have louder, deeper voices and it’s easy for them to overpower women and talk over them and they do it so much,” she said of her inspiration for the video. “It just makes sense to me, it takes a lot of women together to make themselves heard and it takes women pushing each other up.”
The singing of the women is represented by piano music, which Winniford played herself. All of the credits on the film — score, figurine developer, photographer — are credited to Winniford. The entire process from production of clay figures to finished product took around two months.
“The first part of January I spent making all of the people out of clay,” she said. “I didn’t have to teach myself anything, but it was a long process. With taking the pictures for the Claymation it was hard to figure out the right proportions for the frames and the frame rate per second and everything. It was tough to get the timing right in the video, I think.”
Though the process of making a Claymation video can be time consuming, that isn’t stopping the student from making more of them. She currently has a Claymation in the top three of a video contest through the Russian River Watershed Association, and another that she made for her English class about “Macbeth.”
While the video tackles a fairly serious subject, Winniford said that she wanted to tackle it in a cute, approachable way. Her message for the piece is that, “If we expect other people to treat us better, we have to stand together and make ourselves be heard and make ourselves a force to be reckoned with.”
Winniford’s recognized work all centers around a theme of being socially conscious, whether that be in regard to “United She Stands,” which tackles gender-based communication barriers, or in “Deportado,” which attempted to address the current state of the California’s, and the country’s, tumultuous immigration policy.
“I’ve always felt like we have to be responsible members of society, whether it’s treating each other well of treating our environment well, we always have to be mindful in our actions,” Winniford said about the common thread throughout her work. “We have to know that everything we do is going to have a consequence, whether it’s positive or negative.”