In the Details

Artist and junior Palina Kuzmina finds joy in her evolving creative styles

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Two eyes drawn in pencil on a notebook page stare expectantly at Paly junior Palina Kuzmina. Kuzmina puzzles over her craft, painstakingly adding details until a fully fleshed-out person has been realized on the paper in front of her. 

For every piece, the moment of completion serves as a satisfying ending and proof of artistic growth that Kuzmina can then hang on her wall and admire later. 

“I like the fact that I get to actually create tangible things,” Kuzmina said. “I enjoy the process of it, but also looking back at my own work after I created it.” 

Art has allowed Kuzmina to feel connected to the physical world around her, engaging with her environment and making it her own. 

“I take inspiration from my surroundings a lot,” Kuzmina said. “If I see something, I think, ‘Maybe I can draw something similar to this,’ and [I] somehow implement things that I see around me.” 

The artistic process does not end at seeking connection between self and nature. It also demands Kuzmina to forge connections with other people who share her hobby. 

“I think everyone’s style is a combination of other people’s styles in addition to their own character because everyone expresses themselves through their art.”

— Palina Kuzmina, junior

“I think everyone takes inspiration from other people [and] seeing what kind of techniques they use,” Kuzmina said. 

Although Kuzmina has been drawing since the age of six, she only started taking it seriously at the age of fourteen. Kuzmina’s familiarity with art coupled with a contradictory lack of professional experience has shaped her pursuit of a style uniquely her own.

“It is true that a lot of artists that have been in the field for a long time tend to stick to one style because they’ve found their own,” Kuzmina said. “For people who are starting out it’s natural [to] change what you draw to find yourself.” 

Yet Kuzmina’s creative journey may have also been influenced by an innate personality that has nothing to do with her artistic experience or lack of it. These personal characteristics show up in other aspects of Kuzmina’s life. 

“I change a lot of things about myself for the fun of it and to experiment,” Kuzmina said. “Even things like the way I dress. I always like to change [my] clothes and sell old ones and buy new things and experiment with fashion styles.”

Whether comforting or frightening, Kuzmina believes a person’s encounters with art are inextricably linked to their identity. 

“I think [my tendency to change styles] is also just part of my [personality] because I know a lot of people are not like that, but I am [like that], and that’s reflected in my art,” Kuzmina said. 

When pondering the source of a personal artistic style, the age-old question of nature or nurture makes an appearance, to which Kuzmina answers: both.

“I think everyone’s style is a combination of other people’s styles in addition to their own character because everyone expresses themselves through their art,” Kuzmina said. 

As a result, no two people can have the exact same artistic style. This realization has strengthened Kuzmina’s faith in the value of her art as irreplaceable and intrinsically worth creating. 

I like very detail-oriented things. Some people like big colors and shading or blocky acrylic, but I like things like inking where you can really put a lot of intricate detail. I find it satisfying to sit there for a long time and complete one piece.”

— Palina Kuzmina, junior

“Art is something that’s very common and pretty easy to learn,” Kuzmina said. “I used to be a little bit insecure [about that] because I thought every single person [should have] that one thing that is kind of special to them, but, at some point, I matured out of that way of thinking.” 

Instead of doubt Kuzmina now feels joy in taking part in the community that art has given her. 

“It’s cool that so many people do something you also do, and it’s something you can talk about with other people,” Kuzmina said.

Being for the most part an easily accessible hobby as long as one has pencil and paper, communities centered around art include members of all different backgrounds and motivations.

“There are people who do art to make a point, but that’s like every single hobby,” Kuzmina said. “You can do things to make a point and to create a change, but you can also just do it for yourself.” 

Though her artwork contains facets of her personality, the connection goes both ways. Through her art, Kuzmina has discovered things about herself that set her apart from others in small ways. 

“I like very detail-oriented things,” Kuzmina said. “Some people like big colors and shading or blocky acrylic, but I like things like inking where you can really put a lot of intricate detail. I find it satisfying to sit there for a long time and complete one piece.” 

Stagnation is a threat to any artist trying to improve themselves. However, as long as Kuzmina keeps putting the ideas in her mind onto paper, she finds that she is able to learn new details regarding her tastes and interests. 

“My favorite piece changes constantly because I create things that I like,” Kuzmina said. 

At the age of seventeen, Kuzmina feels no need to rush to find a suitable art style. Creating art for the sake of personal enjoyment naturally leads to the creation of a personal style, as it is through joy that one discovers what really makes them feel fulfilled. For Kuzmina this translates into eagerness to find out what sort of art she will be drawn to in the future. 

 “I’m in metamorphosis right now,” Kuzmina said.

Art and photos courtesy of Palina Kuzmina