Student Kalani Van Meter paints her way throughout art world

Hannah Ho
design editor

Everyone has a talent, even though it may be more apparent than it is for others. For senior Kalani Van Meter however, paint brushes, tubes of paint, clay and a camera all mark her artistic talent. Her hidden talent has been discovered and on display for others to see at a young age.

When did you begin doing art? What made you start? I think I’ve always been a very creative or art oriented person. I always liked drawing as a kid, but my passion progressed as I got older and had more artistic opportunities in school.

What medium do you do art on? Art mediums in simple terms are the materials you use to create your art. I started out drawing, but I think I’m best with paint. However, I’m always looking to expand the mediums I’m able to use. I also do photography, use water color, spray paint and my most recent pieces are made of clay. I even put some amethyst my friend gave me onto a painting one time.

What awards or art accomplishments do you have? I don’t tell a lot of people this, but when I was about 10 or 11, I entered a painting into the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary art contest. I ended up winning first place, and it was even hung up in the National Portrait Gallery for a while. Now I think it’s hanging up in the New York City Girl Scout headquarters. I got to meet the CEO, and attend this big party where I gave a memorized speech and an award to her, it was pretty cool. But until this year, my first full year at Wootton, I had never actually entered a high school art contest. Recently I entered three contests: the high school juried art contest by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, a scholastic art contest and one hosted by UMUC. Scholastic doesn’t announce winners till late January/early February, but I did get selected as a finalist in the UMUC art contest. And I won third place in the Reginald F. Lewis contest. Getting the award winner’s email was one of the greatest feelings, especially because it was the first high school contest I’ve ever entered.

Do you plan on having a art-related career or is art purely a hobby? Did your interest in art impact your career choice? I’ve wanted to be an animator for Disney or Pixar ever since I was a kid. I think my love for the animated films and art as a whole grew simultaneously. Now I’m applying to art colleges so I can achieve my goal of becoming an animator, which once was just a dream for me.

Do you genuinely enjoy art or are you just doing it for the sake of it? I genuinely enjoy art. It is something that I am truly passionate about, and will never stop improving on. There are days when it feels like I’m “just doing it for the sake of doing it,” especially when I’m at a creative block or am under a lot of stress. But in the end art is something that helps me communicate without the use of words. Using lines and shapes and color to create a piece that evokes emotion in another person is something I truly love to do.

What feelings do you get when doing art? I wouldn’t say relaxed, but more that I am very focused when I do my art. I can sit for hours just working on something when I have the energy to do so. But in terms of school, art can also stress me out. Trying to meet deadlines and keeping up with the amount of pieces I should be creating on a monthly or even weekly basis can be very stressful at times. But when I finish a piece and am genuinely happy with the outcome, there’s a lot of pride you feel when you finish something you want to share.

Do you make art while listening to music? What is your ideal atmosphere when making art? I do. Sometimes I watch TV though. I think my ideal musical atmosphere is either listening to songs I can sing to, or listening to calming music. Lately I’ve been listening to a genre called lofi, but Johnny Cash is always a go-to for me.

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