Welcome to another edition of The Ink-spired Life: Creative Chats.
Sometimes you just know when you are about to meet somebody special. There’s a sort of sense that permeates your soul. A sense that I call creative peace. I have been fortunate enough to have had some recent chats with local artists. Each one of the gifted people I have spoken with have each inspired me and my creative mind in one fashion or another.
Join me on this journey as I add inspirational colors of warmth, wisdom, and wit onto the blank canvas of life by sharing the stories, tips, and inside glimpses of the creative minds I have been blessed to have met.
This week we have the opportunity to sit down and chat with local student artist Fiona Begley.
Fiona is currently a junior in Jefferson Township High School with ambitions to pursue a career as a comic book artist. Recently, she was a recipient of The Jefferson Arts Committee Student Artists of the Month (JAC-SAM) award where one of her perspective drawings was chosen to be displayed at the Jefferson Township Public Library.
Fiona describes drawing as “something that I just love.” She has loved drawing since second grade. When Fiona was five years old, she had the pleasure of meeting local artist, Sue Miller, at a JAC-SAM reception. At that point she took art lessons from Sue Miller for many years. In a recent chat with Sue, she said, “Fiona is a very talented artist far beyond her age in perception and ability. The thing that amazes me the most about Fiona is her charming bubbly personality and her passion to express that in her work. Her drawings and paintings sparkle and shine. It was a real pleasure teaching Fiona.”
Fiona is currently taking art classes at The Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey, which is known for its outstanding commitment and level of teaching to preparing its students for careers in cartooning and graphic art. Fiona believes that “study is very important.” She continues to work on such things as character design, proportions, and physiology.
What really fascinates me about Fiona is that, for her, imagination is where drawing meets story creation. She is inspired by the world of movies and fictional stories, especially by genres such as science fiction, super heroes, and anime. She soaks in the aesthetic details of settings and characters — two ingredients that help to spark her imagination. I saw remnants of a futuristic Blade Runner type of world in Fiona’s perspective drawing displayed at the library. Very cool!
Fiona can always be seen carrying a sketchbook with her. This way, she is ready to capture an idea on paper whenever it strikes. As an artist, I can totally relate to that idea. Carrying her sketchbook also allows for Fiona to journal and capture here thoughts and feelings. It’s a way for Fiona to connect with and express her inner self — something that is important to do in today’s often hectic world.
Fiona has been working on her own comic book story since 2016. I could see her love of drawing people and creating her own world as she showed me some of her sketches.
At our chat, we were joined by Fiona’s parents, Amy and Mike, as well as her sister Ella and their pup Lincoln. What a wonderful family! It warmed my heart to see the positive support and encouragement that the Begleys give Fiona as she pursues her future career in the art world.
As I look back at my chat with Fiona, I was inspired on many different levels.
For me, art is about connection with ourselves and the people around us. There definitely is no shortage of that in this week’s chat.
I was not only inspired by Fiona’s art work, but by the support of people along Fiona’s journey that have encouraged and continue to encourage her on her creative path. Oftentimes, artists are sadly given grief for wanting to be an ‘artist’ and it can be a lonely journey. The connected hearts of Fiona and her family and teachers is a breath of fresh air in this sometimes stagnant society of limited career perspectives.
For me, the ultimate ink-spiration in chatting with Fiona is her non-fear of bringing her own characters and worlds to life on paper. Sometimes for an artist, a blank sheet of paper can be our greatest gift or our greatest fear. By carrying her journal around, Fiona is able to get her thoughts/ideas out of her head and onto paper.
The self-expression of her unique individuality and creative mind is the best gift that Fiona can give herself. This is a gift that with her continued love for creating art will lead her down a path she is destined for. A gift that nobody can take away. A gift, that one day, I look forward to Fiona sharing with the world as we flip through the pages of one of her comic books.
Peace and Live Creatively!
All artwork in this column is by Fiona Begley