Bringing rock and roll to the district art show

Warwick. Taylor Lipnicky is the Superintendent’s Artist of the Week.

| 02 May 2023 | 12:14

Warwick Valley High School senior Taylor Lipnicky has wanted to create something for the Chair Auction for a long time. She remembers her parents taking her to the Chair Auction when she was still in elementary school.

However, Taylor ran into problems with the chair she was working on last year.

As soon as she started to sand the chair, it fell apart. Taylor wasn’t sure what to do next and then her father Michael suggested she make a guitar.

A year in the making

“My dad is a guitar lover and has so many guitars,” Taylor said. “We had been talking about doing a project together where I would make him a guitar for a long time, so this was a trial run.”

Taylor ordered the kit, sealing sprays, coating sprays, sandpaper and even a tent where she would actually do the painting. Then more than one year of hard work started. Taylor finished the project about two weeks ago.

The first step was to spray the guitar with clear sealant. Taylor sanded and sealed the guitar about 10 times, which helps the finishing paint stick on the surface. The guitar features a brown and black cat with a small red koi fish in its mouth at the bottom and then two larger koi fish swimming up on the side.

The background is blue to represent water, and there are white paw prints, actually made by Taylor’s cat, at the top of the guitar.

Koi fish and cats

“I was really interested at the time in traditional tattoo styles,” Taylor said. “One of my favorite tattoo styles is traditional Japanese, and often within that there are a lot of koi fish and cats. The design went through many different stages before I finalized it. There were supposed to be flowers everywhere, but I ended up going with the bubbles just because it felt like they fit more than flowers, which are not really rock and roll.”

Taylor’s father plans to bid on the electric guitar, but if he is outbid, Taylor will probably make him one of his own with a completely different design.

New techniques, new materials

“Taylor is adding the rock and roll back into the district art show by building and designing a custom guitar,” WVHS art teacher Kristen Spano said. “Taylor is passionate about the arts and is always trying new techniques and experimenting with new materials. Taylor has grown so much as an artist this year.”

Taylor is also interested in printmaking and just finished a screen-printing unit in fashion class where she created a screen and printed her design on t-shirts. Her versatile portfolio includes marker drawings, watercolors, sculpture and photography.

‘A lover of art’

The portfolio helped Taylor get into six of the 11 schools she applied to, including Alfred University in western New York, where she will be starting in the fall. Taylor picked Alfred partly because the school lets students experiment with different classes for their first two years.

“I didn’t expect to love Alfred as much as I did when I visited there,” Taylor said. “There are some schools that want you to submit your portfolio based around a major that you specifically want to do. But I am just a lover of art. Throughout all my 18 years of life, I’ve never found one thing that I’ve thought: this is what I want to do.”

“I feel like I’m very much like my dad in that way, where he switches to different things that he’s interested in learning about,” Taylor said. “I do that as well, and I think that two years is more than enough time to really settle with something that I want to do as a job.”

Virtual Chair Auction

Bidding on the Virtual Chair Auction starts on May 12th at All proceeds from the auction will go to graduating seniors in the form of scholarships.