Kodiak High School junior Akiyo Kishimoto beat out other high school students from across the state, and it came as quite a surprise.
“I didn’t expect to win,” Kishimoto said. “It was more of a surprise to me when I found out my art piece was chosen to go.”
Kishimoto was one of only five students who could be selected to send their art into the show from Kodiak, and she is the first from the island to place in the competition in some time.
“The only other first place we’ve ever had is when I taught photography,” KHS art teacher Bonnie Dillard said.
Three local Kodiak artists acting as judges selected Kishimoto’s piece, “Blue Tiger upon Lantana.” The piece took a few days to finish, with Kishimoto even coming in on the weekend to finish it — an example of her meticulous work.
“She’s incredibly focused,” Dillard said. “This class will get so focused and she’s just so into her work that I’ll walk up to her and she’ll jump because she’s so focused. It’s really something else.”
Kishimoto’s process for creating an award-winning piece was simple.
“It started out as an idea — ideas are hard to get — so eventually I got to this picture,” she said.
From there it was just an exercise in gathering her materials, rolling the ink and designing her piece.
Dillard said all this hard work and award are even more important because Kodiak’s art program doesn’t start as early as other schools’.
“They start from ground level when they come to me unless they’ve had a little bit in junior high,” Dillard said. “You look at schools like Juneau and Anchorage, they have art all the way through school, so we’re really at a disadvantage when we send our work in.”
Kishimoto’s her artwork will continue through high school and beyond. She plans on having a career in art, though she is unsure what that entails. One thing is for sure, though: she loves being an artist.
“I get to express myself through arts,” she said.
Mirror writer Louis Garcia can be reached via email@firstname.lastname@example.org.