The Collector Store

Senior Brady West Creates Fantasy Art Pieces


By Ashlynn Perez

His drawings brim with creativity. Meticulous and deliberate lines that look effortless, expert shading and splashes of color that bring them to life. They’re detailed drawings, depicting fantastical creatures or references to pop culture where he draws his inspiration.

“I like the process,” senior Brady West said. “I love seeing the start of a piece, and I love to see the weeks or even months of work culminate. I like to see that I tried and to see it to full completion.”

It all started with a kindergartner sitting down at a big table after school, just to draw. West sat for hours with paper and a pencil, drawing whatever he wanted and anything he pleased. The after school hobby and the hours spent on it grew: soon he was in high school, spending sleepless nights over a piece of art, working into the early morning.

“I really liked TV and movies,” West said. “I saw how interesting the world was, and I wanted to emulate that in my own art. It conveys what I’m thinking about and the creative aspects of my personality.”

West’s art ranges widely in size, from the standard 9×12 inch printer paper to pieces that span 30×30 inches, sometimes so long they take up the entire width of a table. He has worked on larger pieces, especially in the past year in AP Art Studio, where his art focuses on fantasy that has inspired him for so long. His inspiration comes from entertainment, and so his drawings depict a world where humans live alongside monsters and aliens.

“I think Brady is very talented and creative,” AP Art Studio teacher Courtney Flamm said. “He’s one of the most original artists I’ve ever had as a student. Brady’s art is very fun and original and complicated, in theme and in his technique.”

While his dedication to art ebbed and flowed with time, West had a switch in mentality during his freshman year. He began to consider that the pastime could be something bigger than that and thought about the possibility of a career in art. It drove him to work even longer and harder than before.

“When I started out, I really didn’t realize I could do art for a career, but I kind of realized my freshman year, and I started taking it more seriously.” West said. “Ever since then, there’s been more sleepless nights to get practice in where I’m staying up until 3 or 4 a.m. I always try to push myself with these massive pieces and improving myself and taking classes.”

Yet challenges came. West’s biggest challenge has been comparing himself to other artists.

“I struggle with comparing myself to others,” West said. “I see all these great artists and the hardest thing to get over is a nagging voice telling me to stop, that I’ll never be as good as the people I aspire to be like. But I always get this resurgence where I get back to the drawing table and I try to silence the voice.”

With the large amount of talented artists posting their work on apps like Instagram, it’s easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt. Even as a high school student, West has compared himself to artists who have dedicated themselves to an art career for decades.

“I think it’s good to keep in mind that even with the most masterful artists, even in life in general, they had a starting point, and they weren’t so good at the thing you idolize them for,” West said, “and so you just have to ask yourself if you’re being fair with the comparison.”

He has pushed through the self-doubt, and while it resurfaces even for the best of artists, he continues his pursuit. West plans on going to community college for two years after high school to hone his skills and build his portfolio, especially with digital art. After that, he hopes to apply to art schools and build a career, though the specific career ahead is unclear.

“I like all aspects of art,” West said. “I could be anything, really, from a prop designer to a special effects person to a tattoo artist or a video game designer. I love everything, so I’m keeping myself open to those possibilities.”

But even with a profession in art, his work will always be primarily for himself.

“A lot of the stuff I do is for me personally,” West said. “I’ve just started seeing art as relaxing and therapeutic for me. Because it is.”