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The Communicator

Artist Profile: Cassidy McKenna

One CHS artist reflects on how both their family and friends have inspired their art and encouraged them to keep creating.

Cassidy McKenna has always been surrounded by creatives: art teachers, classmates, grandmothers and older siblings — all of whom McKenna credits with shaping her into the artist she is today.

Growing up, McKenna and her siblings would often visit their grandmother’s house to work on art. Together, they would experiment with watercolors, colored pencils and different drawing techniques. During these visits, McKenna’s grandmother would provide tips and tricks, patiently helping whenever needed.

“I always liked to see what my grandmother was making,” McKenna said. “It’s really cool being around someone that makes art because it lets you see a possibility for the future.”

McKenna was constantly watching what those around her were doing. As she sat at the kitchen table, she would take quick peeks at both her grandmother and older brother’s papers. McKenna used her awe of their artwork as motivation to continue working and putting in the practice.

Cassidy McKenna’s artwork, “Baker Birds” and the “The Cliff” are made with watercolor and acrylic paints, the two paintings took hours of time and attention. McKenna considers the two paintings to be a great representation of her unconventional style.

Years later, McKenna continues to follow in her family member’s footsteps. Her older brother of two years had already been involved in the CHS art department, so when it was time for McKenna to start high school, she very quickly acquainted herself with the CHS art world. Already familiar with the school, McKenna signed up for several art classes, joined the art club and has been involved ever since.

“My sibling had already been staying after school for art club,” she said. “So I thought ‘Why not stay too?’ Then my mom doesn’t have to drive back and forth as much.”

McKenna has found that there is great camaraderie in art club. She enjoys sitting with the other members and bouncing ideas off one another. Last year, McKenna worked with her fellow club members to create an interactive exhibit for the Fool Moon Festival, a local celebration featuring handmade luminaries. In the days leading up to the night time spectacle, they pieced together old cardboard, scraps of wallpaper and paint cans. Working with limited time and materials, McKenna found problem-solving with her peers to be an incredibly rewarding experience.

As McKenna continues to grow as an artist, she realizes the importance of this creative community.

“Art wouldn’t be as big of a thing if there weren’t people helping build each other’s concepts,” McKenna said. “So many different techniques were created by the collaboration of people — it wasn’t just one person. Art is all about experimentation and if there is a group of people it will only get better and better.”

Drawing inspiration from the people around her, McKenna now has an eclectic, whimsical style. From the days spent watercolor painting with her grandmother to her hours spent in high school art classes, her art has changed drastically. She hopes that when people look at her unconventional watercolor pieces, they feel something — whether or not she intended to make them feel that way.

At the heart of McKenna’s creations are all of the connections she’s made with others. Whether she is drawing with her family or working on a project with her peers, it is their artistry that encourages her to keep working on her own.

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About the Contributors
Nina Tinney, Journalist
Nina is a junior and is entering her third semester on staff. When she's not writing articles, you can find her dancing ballet, perusing old magazines or baking cookies. She is passionate about sharing other peoples' stories and can't wait to see all the amazing work that will be done this year.
Bee Whalen, Art Director
Bee is a friendly fellow you can often find roaming the halls at CHS, and is currently a junior. This will be his third year on staff, and his second year as an Art Director. His favorite animal is the Kodiak Bear because it looks like his dog, and he enjoys watching toads hop around in the grass. He can’t wait to see what the Communicator accomplishes this year!

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