by Lia Cano, Franklin High School
I must draw meaning from nothing; in a world where anything can cultivate inspiration that sows authenticity and ripens passion with success: I am an artist without art. I remiss my graphite sketches and smeared watercolor storyboards. I’m among scattered notepads with character studies and red ink underlined and crossed out on my premature script. I gloss over my fashion designs with mismatched scraps and short snippets of animated walk cycles. And yet, I call myself an artist but with no “definitive” artwork. I shouldn’t expect myself to have already produced an animated feature length film or my designs walking the steps of the Met Gala because in truth, when I hear stories of other people’s art-driven “hero’s journey” like Tyler Scarlet, I can’t help but to wonder about my own “call to action” that’s supposed to lead me to my great “return” or “master of two worlds”.
In any well-known story from the Odyssey to Star Wars, the hero must first become uncomfortable whether they’re told new truths or ripped away from their hometown. For a young adult who must brace the formidable transition between high school to college, I foresee that this is the start of my first arc. During these current times whether socially, politically, or economically, the world needs just lawyers and dauntless doctors; however, I do not picture myself in such noble professions. I am majoring in English in the upcoming fall. I can become a journalist uncovering unbiased truth or a court stenographer documenting specific details of revolutionary cases, but I go back to the little girl who’s only obligation was to passionately experiment. For my future career, I simply wish that the kid who is sitting in front of their screen, consuming my future animated cartoon series, listening vehemently to their favorite character, can imagine themselves containing multitudes.
I cannot recall an experience where I thought, “well, this is the one career I want for the rest of my life” because as I alluded previously, art is everything and anything and my culture represents the culmination of my passions. From the intricate designs of the sacred land on our sarongs to the transfixing movement of our hips and fingers in hula to the beautiful craft and vibrations from the ipu hula, large gourd drums, to the strength and serenity of our voices in chants and meles, Hawaiian songs, to the lacing of kukui beads for any momentous celebration; my mentors are my culture. I am my ancestors before me and my ancestors were artists.
Thus, as I listened to Tyler zealously yet honestly illustrate not only his work for Lucasfilms and his other endeavors, but emphasize that though his own journey may not be curated to fit the “big screens” and fine tuning his art provides needed growth rather than doubt, I realize that we are our own Chosen One: for our narratives, for our journey, and for our own success.