Story by: Sophia Vertido
Photos courtesy of: Samantha Park
Over the years, Grandview’s Art Department has never failed to suit the needs of students who simply just want to make art. As a result, so many students have been able to improve their technique, find their art style, and above all, cultivate a genuine love for different mediums of art.
Among those students is Samantha Park: one of Grandview’s most talented artists. When I met her, I knew she was someone special.
“I spent three days just drawing. I did not eat. I did not sleep,” said Park. “It was a trial.”
Park is currently a senior here at Grandview, but she’s always had a love for drawing in her free time. It wasn’t until her freshman year that Samantha realized art was more than just a hobby.
“I was going through a bit of a rough time so I started drawing and it really helped,” said Park.
“I spent three days just drawing. I did not eat. I did not sleep”
Over the years, Park has developed a love for digital painting and character designing. Hearing Samantha talk about her love for telling stories through characters was honestly one of the coolest things I took away from our conversation.
“You’re able to put yourself into that character and share it with other people in a way that’s really innovative,” said Park. “People can relate to you in that kind of way.”
It took me a moment to realize that artists take our most gut wrenching emotions and have the power to reflect those in the characters they create. When I asked what served as inspiration for her art, she immediately lit up.
“A lot of Disney movies and Pixar movies are a big inspiration for me because they were my favorite thing as a kid,” said Park. "I was obsessed with being able to have these characters go on these massive adventures. It was just so cool.”
Another major inspiration is freelance character designer Marta Andreeva, who worked on the Netflix christmas film,“Klaus.”
“I love all of the characters in that movie. Just seeing her work in the field is fascinating to me,” said Park. “It inspires me because I can do that. It gives me something to look forward to.”
It was no surprise when she told me that being an animator and character designer was her biggest dream.
“I’m really big into the storytelling and the preemptive stuff,” said Park. “You’re working on the story. You’re working on how different characters interact. That’s my favorite thing. Just being able to create stories for all characters.”
While talking to her, she discussed how much she’s grown as an artist and how Grandview’s art department has shaped her as a person. That’s when I really saw how much the department meant to her.
“I love all of the teachers because they all work with you. They want to see you grow,” said Park. “It’s just this community and as much as it’s small and kind of rinky dinky, you love it because you fall in love with everyone [here].”
Especially Joshua Heckendorf, someone that she has really appreciated as a mentor.
“I’ve been with him all four years. He’s helped me grow throughout this entire process as an artist,” said Park. “He’s given me so much insight on how the art community works outside of school.”
As she continued to talk to me, it was almost as if I were having a conversation with a good friend casually talking about what she loves to do.
“I do this because I want to inspire other people to follow and pursue their dreams like I do,” said Park. “I want to prove to people that it is hard, but it’s worth it.”
As the interview was nearly over, I asked her if there was anything left she wanted to say. When she responded, I couldn’t help but grin.
“Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. It's really important that you do that for yourself,” said Park. “People should be able to do what they want and not worry if it’ll be enough. Because people deserve that.”