Sweat drips down her forehead against the prominent worry lines as sophomore Nikita Jayaraj finishes shading the picture of her glistening cowboy boots for the upcoming School Art competition included in the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo during March 15-19. Jayaraj eases her mind as she is aware of the fact that the competition will continue to enforce the appropriate health guidelines on its participants and judges, protecting everyone’s wellbeing. With a last light stroke of her wooden pencil, Jayaraj is ready to show those judges what she is made of.
“I actually wasn’t that interested at first in doing this competition. My teacher kind of emailed me as a push of encouragement,” said Jayaraj.
With the thought ingrained in her mind of art being subjective, Jayaraj put multiple meanings behind her piece. She stays true to her method of creating many themes in her artwork because she believes it is quite effective and has gotten her very far in her experience as an artist.
“From my picture of boots and people on a picket fence, you can definitely interpret a lot of things. Although there wasn’t a lot of symbolism, it just fitted my style and performance of drawing,” said Jayaraj.
As work was toppling over her, Jayaraj had felt like the walls were closing in on her multiple times. The School Art competition encourages the use of prisma colors, a supply Jayaraj was unfortunately unfamiliar with. However, Jayaraj has always had a burning passion for art, and did not intend to put that fire out as she learned from friends and even the Internet to instruct her on how to use them.
“Stress is definitely on the table with learning how to do prisma colors. These tools are actually very common in the art industry, so I took this as an opportunity to prepare for the future,” said Jayaraj.
Finally, Jayaraj has a good habit of being honest and authentic when it comes to doing artwork for competitions. After the first few competitions she competed in, she realized that judges want their contestants to almost be like an open book, spilling out thoughts and emotions. Now, Jayaraj wishes to share her advice with anyone who participates in competitions.
“I remember since my very first competition, I’ve always stayed true to myself and told my story. I embraced my culture and identity through my art,” said Jayaraj. “My advice would be to just be yourself. I know it’s cliche, but that’s what the judges really want.”