My name is Cayla Zeek and I am currently an 19 year old high school graduate attending University of New Orleans as a film major. I have lived in Louisiana all my life and as child I was very creative. I continued to draw and paint throughout middle school, but never once did I consider it as a life style or career. I never once thought this could be something I do for the rest of my life and thrive on it. It was not until my first art class in high school when something clicked and I realized I can make art – I have to make art.
The subject matter of my artwork is often illustrative. I love to read and portray characters and events or create a piece that leads the viewer to ask themselves “what’s the story?” My focus for this year is what I call “birds in literature.” The idea came to me when I realized a literary world filled with references to different birds. There is To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Ibis, and nursery rhymes like Two and Twenty Blackbirds Baked Into a Pie, song references such as “a partridge in a pear tree” or “Blackbird” by the Beatles and even bird symbolism in Greek mythology or in the Chinese culture. Whether the reference small or large, I brought it upon myself to illustrate these birds and enjoy the challenge of designing new projects as well as creating my own personified bird characters such as “Cardinal Cardinal”.
I achieved art subject awards for three years at St. Thomas More high school and 1st place in Rally for Visual Arts at University of Louisiana. I accomplished a five on AP Art score for Drawing and 2D Design and attended the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Session One for the 2009 summer which was the greatest experience of my life. During the Marie Walsh Sharpe session, I spent two weeks in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, drawing and painting under two successful artists who pushed me to my limits and beyond. I was provided the inspiration I needed to take my art to the next level. In the Crowley Art Competition last year, I placed first, second, third in high school division and received Best of Show and this year I also received Best of show in my division. I designed posters for both Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) and the Make Louisiana Beautiful contest placing second. This year, I placed sixth in the George Rodrigue Art Foundation art contest in depicting the culture of Louisiana. I have also used my artistic talents to face paint in the Lafayette community for events such as Race for the Cure and numerous festivals.