After a tedious day of worksheets, note-taking and a quiz or two, the minute Canfield High School students pull into their driveways the first thing on their mind is to destress and do something that they enjoy.
For many, it’s athletics. Football, soccer, baseball and basketball are some of the many extracurriculars students can sign up for. Others take to the stage with clubs like drama or speech and debate.
For sophomore Emma Dodig-Drahotusky, though, it’s always been art.
“I’ve been into it my entire life, and it’s always been a hobby of mine,” she said.
Dodig-Drahotusky is often seen doodling in class in her sketchbook. Her semi-realistic style mixed with a pop of cartoonish flare is one that amazes peers around her, and has won her several awards in art shows, such as winning first place with some of her pieces in the 2019 Mahoning County Art Show.
When asked what it is she loves so much about art, she rather humorously explained, “You get to create stuff- you can create absolute monsters. You can just absolutely ruin everything, you have complete creative control of making either very pretty nice things, or very horrifying things that should have never existed.”
Her favorite style of drawing is that of portraits of her friends and celebrities, as well as her cats! She is also influenced by surrealism artists like Salvador Dali, not only for his amusingly odd scenes, but also for his “material to be used in memes.”
The sophomore also believes that having something like art or the art club as a creative outlet is important to not only herself, but to others around her.
“School is so academic, in a way,” the artist described, “that getting your creative side out can be a nice past time. It can be used to relax, or you find that you really really enjoy it and want to go into design, or something.”
“It’s fun. And in something like the art club, you get to spend time with friends,” she continued.
Dodig-Drahotusky raved about the art club, encouraging others to join the program who might see it as just another bland class period: “We do crafts and stuff; it’s not just, like, drawing or painting. It really broadens my perspectives, in a way.”
Though outsiders may see her talent as being a magical gift that came naturally, she would deny such, and believes that others can improve just as she has.
“It’s all practice!” she said. “All of it is practice. Everyone starts somewhere; it’s all about learning the basics and then finding what you like to do, then doing it over and over and over again.”
You can find more of Emma’s art on her instagram @drahotusky.