Local News Archive
Print Issue: May 2, 2002
Student's Artistic Gift Touches On the Beauty Of Truth
By Erika Anderson, Staff Writer
ATLANTA-When Michael Gazy graduates from St. Pius X High School this May, he will leave a legacy behind him.
Students will just have to look up to see it.
Spread across 12 ceiling tiles in Msgr. Richard Lopez's classroom, Michael left his favorite teacher a gift drawn with a No. 2 pencil - an uncanny rendition of "The Creation of Man," one of the most recognized panels that Michaelangelo painted on the Sistine Chapel.
"(Msgr. Lopez) has affected me so positively. He's always talking about unnecessary beauty- beauty that doesn't need to be there, but it is. I wanted to give him a gift," Michael said. "It's God touching man, and man touching God. Msgr. Lopez is always reaching out to his students and encouraging them to touch their faith."
Michael bought the panels at a hardware store and did the drawing in his basement over the course of three months. He purposely chose to use a pencil.
"I wanted it to blend in almost, that's why I didn't color it in," he said. "(Msgr. Lopez) is always telling us to notice beauty in everything and I was trying to emulate that."
Msgr. Lopez, who teaches in the school's religion department, said he appreciates the subtlety of Michael's work.
"It's amazing that something so sublime could come from something so subtle," he said.
Msgr. Lopez called Michael a "renaissance man," and said that he was "overwhelmed" by Michael's artistic gift.
"It's the most beautiful thing," he said. "In the morning when the sun comes in and hits it, it's absolutely amazing. I love it because Michael did it, and I love it because it shows the touch between God and man ... it's the creation of truth."
Michael said that through his teaching, Msgr. Lopez has helped him to "believe in love."
"He is a symbol of this school more than anybody else, I think," he said. "I have never seen anybody have as much influence on a school as he has. All of his intentions in the world are focused on you when he is with you."
Michael, whose family attends Corpus Christi Church in Stone Mountain, will attend Oxford College of Emory University in the fall.
As for his artistic contribution to his school, Michael just hopes that people who notice it will also notice beauty elsewhere in the world, perhaps where they least expect it.
"I hope that it has some kind of impact (on future students)," he said. "I just hope it makes them more aware of things that they might not notice."