From the heART

Arianna Michaelson

As a young girl, junior Arianna Michaelson showed interest in art.

“I think I’ve wanted to do art since I was five years old,” Michaelson said. “My mom tells me that when I was in kindergarten I drew something and I told her, ‘Mom, I just have to draw every day. I just have to.’ I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Michaelson first got involved in art in fifth grade when she took art classes from Julie Birkmeyer, a family friend.

“I still remember my first class with her,” Michaelson said. “From there, my artwork and my love for it just grew exponentially.”

As her passion grew, new forms of art caught her eye.

“I do mostly acrylic paintings,” Michaelson said.

Michaelson is intrigued by surrealism, a style of art which mixes reality with imagination.

“I was very into that last semester, the whole randomness and symbolism that comes along with it is very interesting to me,” Michaelson said.

Michaelson considers art teacher David Hunt a mentor and influence.

“Arianna is one of the most extraordinary and hard working artists I know,” Hunt said. “She is already working independently as of this semester, so she has already, in a sense, graduated past high school. I’ve seen her develop a stronger work ethic, and an artists’ work ethic is the critical part of being an artist.”

Although Michaelson’s career in art has not yet begun, she fully intends on pursuing this hobby after graduation.

“I know that wherever I go in life it will always involve art,” Michaelson said. “I don’t know who I’d be without it. The dream right now is to go to Kansas City Art Institute or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago…If not college, I’m going to California to live with my uncle and get a crap job so I can buy art supplies and work out there.”Sarah Komer

Senior Sarah Komer’s passion for photography started in middle school, when she received her first digital camera, but it wasn’t until her sophomore year in Melinda Heaton’s Photo 1 class that she began focusing on photography.

“That year I got a Canon Rebel T3i for my birthday,” Komer said. “I was exposed (pun intended) to both film and digital photography, and I honestly have no preference for one over the other.”

Komer not only takes photography class, she also restarted the photography club which meets every Thursday after school in room 7.

“I started Photography Club because I love seeing the world through other people’s eyes,” Komer said. “It gives us a good opportunity to share our work and give each other feedback.”

Komer also developed an interest for surrealism.

“There are actually some really cool, young photographers that I discovered this year. I researched them and could relate to them because they are introverted surrealists,” Komer said.

Komer uses different styles of photography as a chance to translate her emotions into something tangible.

“I often use to express how I’m feeling,” Komer said. “If it’s a nice day outside and I’m feeling happy, I’ll shoot in color somewhere at Shawnee Mission Park. If I’m stressed and need a break, I’ll grab my Holga or film camera and shoot in black and white.”

Komer often photographs the people who are most important to her, such as her family and her friends, including senior Lauren Paccapaniccia.

“I’ve known Sarah since sixth grade and she has always been very artistic,” Paccapaniccia said. “She played piano and loved drawing, and next thing you knew she was playing guitar in a band. But she really found her niche in photography. She sees things in a different way than most people. She always finds a deeper meaning.”Daniela Silva

By the time sophomore Daniela Silva was five, her mom realized that her daughter was never going to stop doodling on things, so she signed Silva up for art lessons.

Silva took private lessons, learning skills in sculpting and painting.

“There’s a lot of great things you have to learn from art teachers,” Silva said. “In school, there’s always an assignment to do or a certain objective you have to meet. When you’re doing art on your own or with a teacher outside of school, there’s a lot more free will to it.”

Free will is important to Silva, as is keeping her art an enjoyable pastime.

“I don’t think I’d ever pursue art as a career,” Silva said. “I think I’d be too scared that I’d take something I really love and end up making it a job. I don’t ever want to make art something stressful.”

Just prior to seventh grade Silva’s art was featured in a show with a private teacher. She sold miniature food jewelry pieces sculpted from clay. Later that year, she entered a painting in Reflections, a competition sponsored by PTA. Silva’s piece was selected to represent the state at the national level.

“My dad’s family is from Brazil, so we do the Greater Kansas City Ethnic Festival at Swope Park,” Silva said. “ a picture from when were little and dressed up in Brazilian costumes. I’m about four and reaching up to squeeze cheeks.”

Although Silva would not want to make art a career, there is no chance she would give it up as a hobby.

“I’ve always liked painting because it’s a nice way to get my mind to go blank,” Silva said. “It’s really nice to be able to slap some paint on a canvas. It’s a stress relief in that way.”Althea Flores

“I don’t think there was a specific time I considered myself an artist,” freshman Althea Flores said. “It’s always just been something I understood.”

Flores learned art skills by observing and imitating art around her.

“My dad would watch me every single day for three years and he would always work from home,” Flores said. “I felt the need to work, so I would use black ball point pens and draw princesses and castles for hours and hours a day. It took off from there.”

Flores has become popular on Instagram by gaining more followers as she put more time into it. She has also won awards through elementary and middle school competitions.

Flores thinks of herself as an artist.

“To consider yourself an artist you just have to be passionate about it and do it every day,” Flores said. “ have your own type of style or be able to be a good judge of art and have a vision of what you do/do not like.”

After her many projects, Flores is very familiar with what she does and does not like in her artwork.

“I really like drawing faces because you can draw them a thousand times and they will look different each time,” Flores said. “Once I have an image I’m inspired by, I map it out and get the basic proportions and shapes. Whatever feels right I do…I just add layers upon layers.”

Flores is working on building an extensive portfolio. She plans on a career in art, possibly with landscape or interior design, and will continue to paint as a hobby.

“I want to inspire others because I know that I’ve gotten where I am because of other people that I’ve discovered on social media and such,” Flores said. “ exchange that inspiration.”Andrea Sexton

Surrounded by art since she was little, freshman Andrea Sexton has always wanted to model her paintings after those she saw while living in England.

“I really liked all the warm colors used in the medieval paintings and Roman era ,” Sexton said. “That’s something I want to be able to accomplish with my paintings.”

Sexton first started to draw, doodle and color in middle school.

Today, the go-to drawings or paintings for Sexton are portraits, although learning the basics of face structure was challenging.

“At first I watched YouTube how-to videos,” Sexton said.

Sexton took an art class at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where she built upon what she had learned from the Youtube videos, and helped her prepare for a high school painting class.

“The face has symmetrical lines down the middle,” Sexton said. “You can never draw completely symmetrically so it’s the tiny things, like if they have a rounder head or if their eyes are closer together. That’s what makes it more realistic.”

She is currently in David Hunt’s Painting class.

“Hunt has a very different style of teaching,” Sexton said. “Since art is learned by doing, you can’t really teach step-by-step how to do it. You can show and you can tell, but then they’re going to go their own way.”

Although she learns a lot from art teacher David Hunt, Sexton still uses her own ideas and creativity.

“Hunt pays attention to detail, but I like using bigger brushes,” Sexton said. “I feel like I make more progress with them. He teaches in a weird way where I’m subconsciously learning, but I’m not realizing it until I do it for myself.”

“Painting for me is a way to focus and release stress,” Sexton said. “The feeling of completing a piece is like mastering that one solo in a song you’ve been working on forever.”Raegan Rudd

Freshman Raegan Rudd loves animals.

She has chosen to express her love for them through painting.

“There’s a lot of different textures in their faces,” Rudd said. “And I just like being able to blend colors for their bodies.”

Rudd has painted a fox and a wolf, and she just finished a lion with plans to work on a bear next.

The lion is an explosion of golds and browns. Finding the right base for this painting was difficult and took many trials. Rudd spends about an hour and a half a day working on the lion.

Rudd looks up to artist Vincent Van Gogh’s different style of painting.

“I find his life so interesting,” Rudd said. “I love his style of painting and just how he found beauty in everything around him and put his heart into all of his work.”

Painting can be frustrating for those who cannot sit still, but for Rudd it is a way to take a load off after a long day or to just relax.

“I have a hard time expressing how I feel about things and so it just makes it easier,” Rudd said. “If I have something going on, I’ll go outside and paint or draw. It distracts me from everything else that I have going on. It makes me calm.”

Although she loves painting, she doesn’t see it as a career option and has decided to pursue a career in child psychology with a minor in art therapy.

“I’m definitely going to incorporate art into any career I choose to pursue,” Rudd said.