The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Rats with Wings

Explore the artist behind the art, Teal Franklin.
Haylee Bell
Senior Teal Franklin holds up her art piece ‘Fairy Rats’ Feb.8 in Room 151. Franklin used scratch board and stencil to make the piece. Haylee Bell

Senior Teal Franklin sits at her table in room 9, tools in hand as she stares at her rough outline on the scratch board. 

She starts to slowly scratch in the eyes, carefully making light lines, taking her time to not make a mistake. You can’t erase on a scratchboard, you can’t just add more black ink to the white paper, so one mistake means it all, the whole project is ruined. 

“If you make a mistake, you can’t erase it because it’s scratch off, right?” Franklin said  “So I’m thinking about each of my strokes very long and hard, and I gotta be gentle with it.”

The soft chill music in the background calms her as she slowly scratches in the noses, each stroke carefully planned out.

Franklin slowly carves out the fur, making light and bold strokes all around. Making sure to get a texture as she does it. By the end the fur flows like a river stream down the backs of the rats that meet together in the middle to kiss.

A beast of nature that no one loves. 

Franklin quoted boygenious, saying, “Always an angel, never a god.” 

It’s a phrase that Franklin took to heart as she drew on wings to the two rats, giving them a more divine and beautiful look. Making them rats with wings.

Franklin takes a small break as she looks around the room. Mellisa Terryberry is over by another table helping one of the students, carefully and delicately guiding them. Franklin wants to be like her, helping young artists achieve their dreams. 

Franklin wants to be an art teacher.

“I really like art,” Franklin said. “It’s my favorite thing. I want to be an art teacher when I’m outta college.”

Franklin wants to help students just like her teachers have helped her. She wants to go to an art school, slowly pay off her debt and one day be just like Mellisa Terryberry, Stephanie Kates, and Kimberly Ruttan — teachers that Franklin inspires to be like.

“I would wanna be one of the base art teachers that teaches everything,” Franklin said.  “Or I would like to be a ceramics teacher.”

“Fairy Rats” was displayed throughout the month of January and at the Art Show on January 22. 

“I didn’t really plan on it being in the art show,” Franklin said. “I just wanted to make something fun.”

Franklin looks around.

She sees scratchboards and canvases filled with art that she feels are way beyond her level, art that is beautiful, complex, and masterful.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m a fake artist somehow,” Franklin said. “But then I realize I did make this stuff and that I am capable of this.”


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