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East County Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019 5 months ago

Student finds 'comic' relief in art at Lakewood Ranch High School

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Lakewood Ranch High senior honored by Artists' Guild of Anna Maria ISland.
by: Andrew Atkins Staff Writer

Cat Kaiser paints a story into the minds of those who view her art.

Stark contrasts in colors, blended shades and patterns separate with thick strokes, and painted backgrounds that push the subject into the thoughts of the viewer — these are what set her apart.

“Visually, it’s stunning,” said Donna Grossman. “I love when a painting tells a story.”

Cat Kaiser, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School.

Kaiser has been honored as student artist of the month for March at the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island, for which Grossman is the education director.

Kaiser’s piece, “The Raven and the Prophet,” will be on display in the guild’s gallery until the end of March.

The artist, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School, enjoys drawing people the most, taking inspiration from comic books. She likes the “Hawkeye” series and enjoys the visual style of “Hellboy.”

The shy artist lets the stories her artwork tells do the talking, weaving thematic narratives through the series of artwork she creates.

Kaiser’s endeavor into the art world began when she was a freshman and began taking art classes. She originally wanted to be a veterinarian or an architect, but those things didn’t stick. And how did she discover art?

“I realized I wasn’t good at anything else,” she said.

Her moments of inspiration often come late at night. She’ll be listening to music and an idea will come to her. She’ll write it on a sticky note and go to sleep. Often, those sticky notes are just a scribble of a sketch, and she has a hard time interpreting them when she revisits them.

Kaiser said her family has been supportive.

“I think they’re a little worried about making art a career,” she said, but noted that they haven’t stopped her.

Kaiser's work, "The Raven and the Prophet" at the gallery. Photo courtesy of Donna Grossman.

After graduation, Kaiser plans to attend the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in the cartooning program. She appreciated that the teachers there seemed to be engaged in the field, which could help place her closer to employment as she goes through her education.

Throughout her art education, Kaiser has had the support of teacher Terry Thompson.

Initially, Kaiser said she found Thompson intimidating.

“She’s nice, but she pushes people to work harder,” she said.

Even so, Kaiser said she’s warmed up to Thompson and appreciates the support she offers.

“It’s really nice to have someone looking out for you,” Kaiser said.

Thompson said Kaiser’s selection is a great opportunity to get the work she created the recognition it deserves.

“Her vision is so strong,” Thompson said. “She’s growing into the artist she’ll be someday.”

Thompson has witnessed Kaiser’s growth over the years, noting how she’s broadened her comfort zone and is expanding her repertoire as her confidence grows, too.

Grossman also noticed Kaiser’s muted nature.

“She’s very quiet, she’s very reserved, but I think that her artwork really speaks to her talent and who she is,” she said. “I’m looking forward to buying her first comic book and saying, ‘I knew her when …’”

Thompson echoed that.

“I better be invited to the first book signing,” she said.

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