Feeling inspired

Sophomore Cienna Szeles is a dedicated artist who posts her work on Instagram

During a period of illness, Szeles sketches her hand with colored pencils. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CIENNA SZELES

For sophomore Cienna Szeles, art is a way to express her feelings and thoughts to the world on paper. 

Starting at a young age, Szeles learned how to make art from her grandmother, who was also an artist, when she was just learning how to walk and talk. As she grew up, Szeles began to look at art as a way to deal with personal issues.

“Most of the art I let people see is more organized and project-like, but I feel the most happy doing more abstract and expressive art,” Szeles said. “I love the feeling of release

I get when I am able to express something that I can’t put into words.”

According to Szeles, the art process can be “unpredictable.” One day she could focus on close objects, and other days she can pour her heart and soul into abstract. 

“I am not the most organized artist,” Szeles said. “If I am doing something less expressive and more serious, like the art I do for school, I usually start off with a reference and then create a sketch out of that.”

For her personal artworks, Szeles tends to make more messy, freestyle drawings. 

“Sometimes I mess up my drawings by smearing everything, but then I make something out of my mistakes and end up liking it more than what I originally thought I was going to do,” Szeles said. “I smudge the paint/pencil marks even more and if there are weird or skewed features in my drawings, I make them even weirder.”

Since Szeles spends more time on her art, she used to get criticism for being more in touch with her artistic side than her academic side. 

“Some of my art can be confusing and make people feel weird. Some people find it scary or strange, even vulgar at times,” Szeles said. “I don’t get criticism from any person in particular, but I guess it happened more often when I was younger with my classmates because they couldn’t understand what I was making my art about.”

Although Szeles struggled to deal with the judgement she faced from her classmates, her parents’ support helped her persevere.

“My parents understood that at the end of the day, if I enjoy something that I spend almost all my time in, then whatever I choose is my decision and mine alone,” Szeles said. “They support me and let me do my art because they know it makes me happy, which is pretty nice to have.”

According to Szeles art plays a larger role in her life than just a mere hobby. 

“I am choosing to go with an artistic career in my future because of how much of an impact it has had on my life,” Szeles said. “I genuinely like tattoos and hope to get my apprenticeship once I graduate so I can become a tattoo artist. I read and researched a lot about different kinds of tattoos which made me even more interested.”

Tattoo art isn’t just a new interest for Szeles, she has actually enjoyed making things similar to it in the past.

“I’ve always enjoyed body art and looked at it with wide eyes. For some reason I always thought empty skin was strange and that decorating it or covering it like a canvas or paper was where its at,” Szeles said. “After seeing a video of a man doing traditional japanese tebori tattoos I became hooked. Seeing someone become covered in beautiful art was such a sight.”

In addition to making tattoos, Szeles wants to create something in the future that helps more people find interest in art.

“Art has helped me so much during the ugliest times of my life and I want to share that with other people,” Szeles said. “There are a lot of people who don’t know how to deal with their pain in a positive way and I want to be there to give them the opportunity to express themselves through art.”