Justin Leaokittikul lives in San Jose, California. His art, “McWay Falls” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2016 national art contest. At the time of publication, he was in second grade attending Bagby Elementary School.
Justin is eight years old. He is entering third grade of Bagby Elementary School of Cambrian School District in San Jose, CA. He has had art lessons since he was three years old. He painted “McWay Falls” with oil painting. It took him almost six weeks to complete this masterpiece. He was inspired by a trip to Bigsur, where McWay Falls is one of the most famous sights. He was amazed to see the waterfall running down through the ocean. He painted this artwork for his mom as her birthday present.
Justin and his sister, Jidapa, were some of the winners from the Young Artists Showcase in 2015. Their artwork was chosen to exhibit permanently at the Santa Clara County of Education Office.
Katelynn Mock lives in Bryan, Ohio. Her art, “Spaced Out” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Summer 2015 national art contest. At the time of publication, she was in eleventh grade attending Bryan High School.
Last summer, Katelynn was working on building her portfolio and preparing to apply for college. She wants to major in Fine Arts. She’s always been interested in art in general. But it wasn’t until high school that she thought she could take on an art-based career. Mr. Neff, her art teacher, has helped bring out her strengths, build her skills, and build her confidence as an artist.
The idea behind “Spaced Out” is getting lost in her artwork and how that shows through the artwork. In the piece, her drawing is essentially “coming to life”; she creates her own little universe. Her little universe revolves solely around her; she is the parent star to the celestial bodies surrounding her. She gives these celestial bodies life, and they give her purpose. Furthermore, her notable freckles fall into the universe as distant stars.
Katelynn definitely tends to get caught up in her artwork, no matter the piece. But the theme of this particular piece works so well, because she’s never felt so lost in any other piece. This was honestly so fun to create. Especially the freckles and stars.
Cathy Jin lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Her art, “The Glory of Winning” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Fall 2015 national art contest. At the time of publication, she was in eleventh grade attending Sharron Art Center.
Cathy has been creating art ever since she could remember. Art has always been a way for her to escape reality and has served as a medium to convey herself to the world in a universal manner. This piece, titled “The Glory of Winning,” started off as an assignment from her art teacher at school. She told the class that they had to create a piece with some sort of reflection in it; Cathy happened to see that in her band room they had recently won as an ensemble a beautiful, silver, reflective trophy. It caught her eye and she immediately had the idea to take a photo with it, capturing her own and the photographer’s reflections within the trophy. Her facial expression conveys her humorous and light hearted side, and she decided to execute the piece in her favorite medium acrylic. Ultimately, this piece gave her confidence in her art abilities and she hopes to pursue some sort of further education in college in the arts after she graduates!
Raechel Wu lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her art, “Flowers of Fortitude” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2016 national art contest. At the time of publication, she was in fifth grade.
Raechel is the oldest of 3 children, she has a younger sister and brother.
She loved to draw since she was very young. She also loves reading, writing and Math. She also plays piano and tennis.
She was inspired to create her winning piece because she wondered what do flowers symbolize? She ended up with hope, courage and love. Fortitude and tenacity to never give up mean a lot to her! As she reflects upon herself and observes how hard her parents worked to raise them. She wants her painting to symbolize “Fortitude” to remind her not to give up but to work harder during challenges and obstacles.
She remembers when she took the ACT explore above grade level exam she had to prepare and do some extra work. This made her know the only way to be good at certain things is through hard work and determination. Later when she took the exam she was running fever and had to summon all of her strength & wisdom to complete the exam. She later got 99% on 3 subjects and was invited to a state wide award ceremony.
After she painted a still life of flowers, she started thinking about what she wanted to portray. Instead of a vase of fully yellow flowers, she added red (love), blue (courage) and purple (hope). But overall the flowers symbolize the life of fortitude, it reminds her life itself will be full of vibrant colors if you persevere !
In the future after she grows up she want be a writer and be able to illustrate her writing with her own paintings!
Catherine Liu lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her art, “Waiting” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2016 national art contest. At the time of publication, she was in ninth grade attending Julia Reynolds Masterman School.
Catherine’s favorite pastime is probably art, but she also enjoys dancing. She takes traditional Chinese dance classes from her teacher Ji Lan Wei, who is actually the wife of her art teacher!
She really enjoys creating art, and has been since before she can remember. The person that really introduced her to art was her art teacher, Wang Zong Zhou, an artist from China. Most of his works embrace Chinese culture, which inspired her to create “Waiting”. Throughout her life, she has traveled to China many times, and her mother took her to many different provinces, each with its own rich culture and history. The rural areas of these provinces were all very cultural and much less modern than the cities. However, as times are changing fast, many young people from the countryside go out to find jobs in the city. As a result, the older villagers are left alone in the countryside, as their children go off to work. “Waiting” captures the expression of an aged woman waiting for her children to return home from working in the city.
Catherine really enjoys art, so she wants to go into a field related to art. She has considered many things growing up, such as engineering or medicine, but none of them really suited her. She is really drifting towards design, although she is still unsure about the specifics. Getting selected as a top ten winner really encourages her, because that means she’s getting closer to what she wants to do in the future, even if it is a small step.
Riley O. Schultz lives in Bryan, OH. Her art, “Just One Little Thing” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2016 national art contest. At the time of publication, she was in twelfth grade attending Bryan High School.
The inspiration “Just One Little Thing” comes from her own experiences, and the experiences of many others, with a busy life and dealing with others pushing for you to do favors. As many people know, what others see is much smaller than what is actually going on in everyone’s life.
At school, teachers don’t always see what the home life of the student is and their involved activities are, therefore it is easy for them to require their students to do this, that, and the other. The same can be said for friends, coworkers, bosses, and practically anyone. This is all because they do not see what you actually do in your spare time, however, their requests are necessary in order to keep things moving smoothly, and therefore they cannot be held responsible for their requests. After all, they do not know. It also represents the stress of many people who have taken on so much that one wrong step could lead to disaster. These people often are unable to say no to anything asked of them and continue to add things to their ‘to do’ list.
Personally, this piece has many meanings to her, in many different areas of her own life, and she hopes that she has portrayed these meanings in a way that others may find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in these feelings, circumstances and fears.
Riley is generally a workaholic, who loves martial arts, art, violin, and learning new things. She will be attending The Cleveland Institute of Art in the fall of 2016 to continue her art by studying biomedical Art.
Lauren Yang lives in Sugar Land, Texas. Her art, “Grandpa’s Lily” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Summer 2015 national art contest. At the time of publication, she was in ninth grade attending Dulles High School.
Lauren has been drawing from an early age and started taking art lessons at age 7. Ever since then, art has been a medium through which she can express things that are important to her or observations of the world. This piece, “Grandpa’s Lily,” was inspired by a combination of events in her life. The dog in the drawing resembles her cousins’ dog, Lily.
Dogs are considered to be lifelong companions, and as Roger Caras stated, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” In memorial of her grandpa who passed away last year, she created this piece to represent a multitude of ideas. Although cancer took away his life too early, Lily portrays that his life was indeed whole, filled with the love of family and friends. In addition, this work symbolizes not a farewell but hope and best wishes for a new beginning and life for her grandpa, where her family will always be more than lifelong companions.
In the future, she hopes to continue to incorporate aspects of herself and her life into her artwork.