Zachary Arguello, a senior at Moriarty High School, placed second in a statewide STEAM Art Competition sponsored by the New Mexico Energy Manufacturing. His work was showcased on a live YouTube celebration, featuring all of the entries and winners, on Feb. 26. Adding the letter A to STEM, adds art to science, technology, engineering and math.

The statewide competition’s theme was Renewable Energy for the Future, with first and second place prizes and honorable mentions. Students at the college and high school level were invited to submit work and Arguello was one of several students from Moriarty who participated.

“I entered because I thought it would be fun,” said Arguello, adding, “I didn’t think I would win anything.” He said the competition was also a great way to be heard in the community about environmental issues and a good opportunity to help educate others.

“We should start to use safe energy, we know the dangerous types of energy like nuclear power and coal harms the animals and eventually harm people,” Arguello said.

He said his entries were digital artwork. Using an application on his tablet and a digital art brush, he started from a photograph, working with brushstroke effects and sketch effects, and a pastel color palette.

The colors and composition shows a hopeful and unspoiled New Mexico scene.

Arguello described his artwork as more of a hobby and way to get his thoughts out. He said he likes making realistic artwork and that he finds drawing to be relaxing.

“I just go into my own world and draw,” he said. In addition to drawing, he practices other art forms including playing his guitar daily.