|Posted by Phillip Barnett on January 31, 2014 at 3:00 PM|
Simply put, I see a commonality in events that have taken place in the lives of so many artists and so many eastern Kentuckians, myself included. I suppose the only difference is that Laken Parsons has gone on to do so much more. The “open book” that she is has let me peek into a brief window of what her life has been like. Truthfully the email she sent me was impossible to pick apart, as the entirety of it was pure gold for the purpose of writing her piece. Whether it was the close ties and bond of family, or self-determination, Laken wouldn’t settle for anything but the best.
“My family was close, we always had more than enough." Since she was a child, Laken has felt encouraged to push herself and try harder to be the best at everything she does. She remembers fondly her mother's constant involvement in Laken and her three siblings' academic lives, molding Laken into a "Middle school, however, is where I began working more with art."
According to Laken, her initial interest in art was ignited from the flames of failure. "We drew pictures and some were chosen to go the the Jenny Wiley art and music festival, which I would come to know so well in my later years." She began experimenting with her artwork for the rest of middle school and decided to take an art class in high school.
"My instructor, Kevin Slone, then became my best critic. He posted the most talented art pieces up for students to see and in my competitive nature I thought I had to be up there every week. He began seeing talent that he knew he could push. He would tell me stories of my sister, Brandy, and my cousin, Taran. They were both highly involved in art during high school and they were good.”
“Although my competitive nature started my art, I began to fall in love with it. I would daydream in those 'have to be there, learn nothing' classes about all the ideas I had and how I could turn them into art. I am an open book, to many people, but all the ideas that high schoolers aren't interested in, all the feelings, and the memories I had; I could turn them into art. I've never said this openly, but I love having those secrets, those meanings that you can't put into words. I don't have to tell people what my art is about, because they take away their own meanings.” Frankly I couldn’t think of a better way to create than to create to the viewer's soul. That’s what art is about isn’t it?
“Kevin, as a teacher, pushed me to create meaningful art. It sounds cliche, but art is an escape. It's like daydreaming the whole time about some idea you have and when you're finished you've put it on paper.” I’ve read Laken’s interview at least a dozen times now. And every time I get to this line, I chuckle. I know exactly that feeling. I think I can speak for every artist here at AppalArts, maybe even the world; we’ve all felt that. This driven, self-made individual wants to do big things. I give you a 100% guarantee, no matter where she decides to go on this road we call life, she’ll get there.
“I hope I can help and inspire a lot of people with my own life; whether it be with art or my actions. I love to inspire people.” It’ll be great.
-WB, Senior Editor