Artistic Ambitions

Melissa Oekle ponders whether to pursue an artistic career after graduation


Keaton Frye

Two contrasting pumpkins sit waiting to be glazed. Oekle is just two steps away from finishing the pumpkins, fresh out of the kiln. Art is an avenue many descend to express themselves, and many go down that avenue to make a living.

Senior Melissa Oelke has been drawing since her earliest memories. She had continued her hobby throughout the rest of elementary school as well as middle school. In high school, Oelke started to seriously consider art as more than a hobby.

“It’s like a habit, so I can’t really overthink it. It’s like what if I just doodle over here?” Oelke said.

Oelke had been drawing inside and outside of school. With support from her mother, who is also very artistic, Oelke flourished making art.

“At home we had a craft room, and it was literally a tiny Michaels,” Oelke said.

Like all seniors, Oelke is considering what she wants to do for the rest of her life.

“I’m really interested in animation. However, it’s more like I would like to learn it though. Like classic 2-D animation. It’s really awesome to me.”

Despite her interest, Oelke also looks to other paths.

“It’s hard to get into the big studios or that career path in general without being seasoned,” Oelke said.

This year, Oelke has had a growing interest in digital sculpting. Programs like Blender and ZBrush allow artists to build art digitally.

“I made a doughnut and I felt so proud. It wasn’t good by any standards but I felt so proud,” Oelke said.

Artists often struggle with art blocks. They can happen because of low motivation, burnout, anxiety, and other various issues.

“I had been getting [art blocks] for a really long time, last year I had a month period without doing anything which is a really long time for me,” Oelke said.

A very common piece of advice for young artists is to draw every day and make art as part of a routine. Many find it difficult to be patient and keep with the painting even when it is in its “ugly stage”.

“Or like you know, it’s always like trust the process. And you want satisfaction in two seconds,” Oelke said.

Part of the creative process is struggle. Despite knowing this, Oelke and thousands of others decide to pursue art as a full-time career. Artists continue to make a living and flourish in the modern world.