North Texas Daily

Studio art senior uses passion to convey realism, mental health support

Studio art senior uses passion to convey realism, mental health support

Studio art senior uses passion to convey realism, mental health support
August 12
01:45 2021

Studio art senior LeeAnne Padilla incorporates drawing and painting techniques into her designs to express herself through artwork.

“I didn’t get a passion [for art] until I was in high school,” LeeAnne said. “When I took an AP art class in high school, and I realized it’s something that I wanted to do longer than just a hobby.”

LeeAnne got into drawing when she was little as her mom took her to art classes and summer camps. It became an integral part of her upbringing, she said, and when it came time to attend college, she spent her first two years at Austin College, then transferred to UNT to major in art.

She uses her artwork as a platform to portray people and realism. Since high school, she has had an interest in trying new mediums and techniques, even if they do not come to her naturally, she said.

“I love making things look realistic,” LeeAnne said. “I think it’s really fun.”

About a year-and-a-half ago, LeeAnne decided to start an Instagram page to show off her work, @padileeart. She was not serious about selling her pieces from the start, but her artistic friends influenced her to expand her presence to social media, which then led to her obtaining sales, commissions and enjoyment for sharing her work with others.

“I felt like it was a turning point,” LeeAnne said.

LeeAnne said her aunt, who is a professional artist, served as an inspiration for her work, along with her roommates who display their artwork around the house that encourages her.

“LeeAnne is naturally gifted,” said Kathryn Padilla, auditor and LeeAnne’s mom. “It’s been fascinating to watch her creative abilities grow and flourish. […]  Her realism and portraits are spellbinding in detail and the emotions she captures. I’ve really enjoyed seeing her art displayed in local art exhibits.”

Art education senior Haley Smith met LeeAnne during Smith’s freshman year in a design class, and since then, they became roommates and close friends.

“She really is an artist [who] can put the exact picture she’s referencing on the canvas and makes it look so effortless,” Smith said. “As I enter my career in art education, I truly look up to her. Not only her amazing artistic skills but the love and kindness she has for everyone she meets.”

LeeAnne’s art was recently featured in the Greater Denton Arts Council exhibition, where she displayed her art and sold some of her original pieces.

“It was my first time to enter my art into one of their exhibitions,” LeeAnne said. “It was really fun.”

In the future, LeeAnne hopes to become an art therapist, with a goal of helping those struggling with mental health use art to release emotions.

“Making art is very therapeutic,” LeeAnne said. “I’ve made dissociating pieces before.”

She said she finds inspiration for her pieces from mental health organizations that aim to eliminate the stigma around mental health.

“It’s hard for someone to speak up,” LeeAnne said. “It’s hard to cope with it, and it’s cool to be able to draw the way you feel instead of writing it down.”

Courtesy Leeanne Padilla

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Mahonri Mendoza

Mahonri Mendoza

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