Teen Interview #20

Kai Wilks, 17.

Why do you make art?

I think I make art for myself as a form of stress relief. Also as a form of communicating with the people around me, when I can’t do it verbally.


Does it help to say things you can’t say normally?

Yeah, it helps me say things more succinctly. What I mean and what I say. A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?

Who do you make art for?

Mostly myself, but I do enjoy creating pieces for others. For special occasions or things like that.

Do you have statements or advice for your art program at your school?

Yeah! So our art program is ran entirely through donation by artists in the area. So essentially Chihuly keeps our art program running. We have a total of three art teachers and one of them is a glass blowing teacher. I took our illustration course last year but it was probably the least challenging art class I’ve ever taken. It was like- man! I feel like Wilson puts sports before anything else. Sports get funding before arts. Sports gets funding before classrooms do. So it’s really difficult to have resources and the supplies you need without getting them yourself.

-Why should there be an equivalence between sports and arts?

It should just be equal. In that, I understand there are less art-geared kids. But also, we’re using rose art in our art glasses. It hurts a little to say, ”I have to use that to make something.” And our art teachers buy a lot of our supplies out of their own money and stuff. It’s kind of rough looking at that because I think every other year our football team gets new uniforms. So, I’m a little salty, just a little [laughs].

img_1911Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A lot of it is from other artists. Not just visual though. A lot of inspiration that I have is from music because it’s such a large part of my life. And from the people in my life.

How much time do you spend thinking about creating something?

Oh, every moment of the day. It’s- there’s not a time, especially if I’m making something, there’s never a time where I’m like, ”I wish I wasn’t doing this right now.” I’m always in class and getting yelled at for doodling, and not working on the thing I was supposed to be working on. And I’m like, I wish I was at home, at my desk, so I can paint.

Why should we prioritize art the way we prioritize STEM?

The emphasis on STEM is that you can make money off of it, right? I think we need to get rid of the stigma that says you can’t make money doing art. Because there are millions of jobs that are available for artists and photographers and musicians. It’s not all about being put in a gallery. It’s also about improving your ability to work professionally and being able to create something that is a part of a larger piece.

-Should we consider money strongly in the future, for artists?

I dont think necessarily. I don’t think you should do art for the money. But acknowledge that you can make money doing it if you are dedicated.

I think we need to get rid of the stigma that says you can’t make money doing art.

Do you find any issues with Tacoma in their involvment in teen art?

I think we have plenty of organizations. I think it’s just difficult to get involved-right? It’s a lot of SOTA kids because they’re down here; across from the museum. I was lucky enough that my mom works here. She’s a register here. And she’s always worked in museums since I was really little. I’ve grown up with art and learned to appreciate it that way. But I think it’s difficult to become connected to art that way, right now.


Do you have an ending statement for yourself?

I think I just want to acknowledge that art is a super personal thing and that it’s difficult to please others with what you create. And even if you don’t make something that people enjoy, as long as you’re enjoying it, it’s worth it.

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