Art student brushes victory in district-level competition

by Sarah Perez

CREATIVE COMPETITION: Junior Natalie Dillehay’s art piece, “Burnt Out”, is inspired by the feeling of a lack of creativity. Dillehay went on to win first place in the district-wide All-Star Exhibit competition

Expressing one’s self is important for the growth of creativity and imagination, especially for children. Self-expression is imperative for mental growth in young people. Art is able to provide a concrete manifestation of one’s thoughts and feelings. For junior Natalie Dillehay, drawing is a way to show the characters she reads about on a canvas.

From Nov. 2 to Nov. 9, Dillehay’s art piece was submitted to the All-Star Exhibit in the Broward County Museum. As a result, she has been recognized as best in the drawing category of the competition.

“I entered this contest to see how my art fared against others,” Dillehay said. “Hearing I won the drawing section of the competition was validating and made me happy to be creating art that people consider good.” 

Dillehay has been creating art since she was 11 years old. She enjoys engendering characters in stories she has read. This medium of expression prompted art to be a stress reliever for Dillehay.

“When I was younger, drawing was a way to bring characters from the books I read to life.” Dillehay said.

Dillehay’s winning artwork is called “Burnt Out.” The piece was inspired by feeling lackluster and uninspired to create art. The feeling of a lack of creativity  proved to be a significant problem for Dillehay when she started to fall behind in her artwork.

“I would constantly put work from other classes before art because I didn’t have the motivation to draw and it left me feeling burnt out, which inspired the title of this piece,” Dillehay said. “Every time I tried starting a piece, I never had the inspiration to follow through. I would sit in front of a blank paper, and that’s what this piece is showing.”

When an opportunity came to insert her artwork into a contest, art teacher Elizabeth Vanselow requested Dillehay to enter her piece. Vanselow has become a supporter of Dillehay’s art, pushing her to enter contests and continue to produce art.

“You have to expose the art out of the artist for the world to see,” Vanselow said. “Art is shared by everyone and if you are a serious artist you need to expose yourself.”

In the future, Dillehay plans on entering contests at higher levels. She also plans to attend a college of the arts, specifically the California Institute of the Arts in hopes of following the paths of the cartoonists who frequented there.

“I now understand the process of signing up to competitions better, and it was cool to see my art in a gallery with other incredible pieces,” Dillehay said. 

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