A variety of scientific studies have proposed that scent is a powerful trigger for memory, and for me, that has certainly been true. Cinnamon and ginger will always kindle the warm anticipation associated with my family’s Christmas cookie baking. Similarly, there’s a particular combination of musky hairspray, sweat, & dust that immediately brings back the nerves and adrenaline of theatrical performances. And finally, the smell of fresh drawing paper, pencil shavings, and paint fumes will always be thrilling and soothing for me. Why? Because those scents symbolize a key aspect of my adolescent identity: being an artist.
By high school, art was embedded into my daily life. I took classes at school and at a local art studio, where I also worked as a teaching assistant for a couple hours every Saturday. I doodled during play practices and spent hours agonizing over pieces for local shows. When I drew, my intense focus could be alternatively relaxing, exciting, or frustrating–especially if the piece wasn’t working out. However, it was always a transporting experience–a time to escape my life and be more present in myself.
Accordingly, I’m always keen to find stories that explore and celebrate the varied roles of visual art in the lives of young adults. And as March is Youth Art Month, it seems like the perfect time to share some novels featuring young artists.
Page by Paige – Laura Lee Gulledge (2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens) When her family moves from Virginia to Brooklyn, Paige’s only friend and solace is her trusty sketchbook. Through her drawings, Paige can be her adventurous, clever artist self– but taking that identity into the big, overwhelming world is a whole different story. Spanning her first eight months in New York, Paige’s journey of new friendships, tentative romance, and growing artistic confidence unfurls through imaginative & organic images. Continue reading Portrait of The Artist As a Young Adult: Celebrating Youth Art Month in YA Lit