Sophomore Kayla Busby’s talent for art began at the ripe age of five when a contest in kindergarten landed her art work in the Children’s Art Museum. Even with such a big accomplishment, she would not truly begin her artistic pursuit until high school. Just this year, she entered into her first show at Lindenwood University.
“Lindenwood’s show was my first real contest,” Kayla said. “Smithey wanted me to enter my drawing so I agreed. I was really nervous, I had never been to an art show. I entered the show with two pieces. One of the photos I entered came from a black and white portrait that was a sketch of a man with a beard. I chose it because there was just so much expression, I loved it. Still, I was shocked and so excited that I actually won, especially since it was the first contest I had ever entered in.”
Even before her achievement at Lindenwood, Kayla’s mom had taken notice of her daughter’s gift and showed Kayla’s work to a co-worker. That co-worker would eventually hire Kayla. Kayla went on to paint an 11 hour mural that went for $250. Kayla’s creative abilities soon opened up many other portals for her such as her recent nomination for the Academy of Art.
“Two artists go to represent the school for the Missouri Fine Arts Academy at Missouri State,” Kayla said. “I was picked out and nominated to go and was even funded $1,500. I have to create a portfolio, write an essay and fill out a bunch of forms. It’s a real goal to be picked out of 150 people to go to the Academy and stay in a dorm while getting college credit for the art classes.”
Kayla is also putting together a portfolio for an apprenticeship application to work at the Muney. She has gathered a collection of her work and is still currently working on it. Helping her put together such a high quality collection of art is art teacher Zac Smithey.
“I really wanted to make sure she was doing everything she could to reach her full potential,” Smithey said. “I didn’t have to worry too much because she independently self directs. She pushes herself to do her best, I’m just there to guide.”
If Kayla is chosen out of the other applicants, she will be working at the Muney up close and personal with real artists. She will also be accompanying them around the studios.
“While I would be working there I’d be getting paints or other tools for the artists plus whatever they need help with,” Kayla said. “I’d also be getting useful tips. Even though I’d be starting at the bottom I could eventually work my way up learning better techniques.”
Kayla has created some of her own techniques when producing art, drawing her inspiration from a pool of different aspects in her life. Yet her surroundings, such as the music she listens to, are often off set by the very art she’s creating.
“You would think the music I listen to while I’m working would be quiet but its kind of the opposite,” Kayla said. “I start out with metal from Metallica or a band like that while I’m standing. Then when I get tired I play softer music like piano it really depends on the piece.”
Even with so many opportunities that have presented themselves to Kayla through her trade and talents, art itself has a deeper and more personal meaning to her.
“It [art] really helps me to express my feelings and even my view on life,” Kayla said. “I was always really shy a lot of my life and when I would paint or sketch or draw people would crowd around. It really showed me that I had a special trait that people noticed. That has made me a more open person.”
Art has affected Kayla’s life in more ways than her personality, it has also sculpted the way she views the world around her.
“She sees everything in a different way,” sophomore Emily Colmo said. “Because she’s an artist things are put into a different perspective and she sees things nobody else does.”
Kayla’s mom also sees the effect art has changed her and her future.
“Something that turned out as a hobby opened up so many possibilities to her future,” Kerri Busby said. “Her art means so much to her. It has really made her an old soul.”