Rachel Witus has always had a passion for the arts, from her drawings of teapots at the age of six, to her abstract figures as a senior at SAAS. Whether she is on stage performing in Alice in Wonderland, in the dance studio practicing new routines, or painting a full body portrait, Rachel is an artist of many dimensions. Rachel’s exposure to art began at a very young age after watching her father excel in his art. She says her dad was fortunate to have such talent, but he never took it far. It was at this point that Rachel learned that natural talent doesn’t get you far unless you work for it. Rachel realized that in order to become a successful artist, having the natural ability to create art was only just a small part of finding success. She also needed to put in the time and effort needed to become the artist she is today. These days, Rachel works on her art every day after school, sometimes for three hours and sometimes just for one. “I try to work on my art every day; it’s a great outlet for me to relax and enjoy myself. If I don’t make art, I’m unhappy.”
For a long time, Rachel worked hard to find the right technique for her art. She was always learning how to use different mediums successfully and finding the right method for her. After successfully learning the basics of creating art, Rachel can focus on exploring new concepts. “I make art that makes me feel good and that conveys a certain feeling,” Rachel says. Rachel creates art as a way of communication and to evoke emotions from people. She yearns for her art to be viewed, read and interpreted in different ways. “I want to make a piece that has the ability to affect someone-- however it will.”
Rachel is now working on abstract art, specifically art that conveys the human body as patterns. She is also exploring ways to make her creations more interactive. For example, Rachel has started creating a doll-like figure made out of canvas and wood. She intends to make the doll life-size and interactive by having observers dress up the doll. “Sometimes I start out with a great idea and the result can be completely different from my original idea. Art is so unpredictable, and you really need to be willing to be flexible and patient,” Rachel says.
Over the summer, Rachel attended a two-week arts program in Colorado called the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Summer Seminar that helped Rachel with color theory, a subject she used to struggle with. “My teacher this summer really made it make sense in application, not just concept.” Rachel also learned about outdoor art and how much more complicated it can be than she had expected. “We focused mostly on landscape which isn’t my usual subject matter so it was really interesting to try something new.” Her time during her summer program really helped to develop her art and helped her to try new mediums so she wouldn’t get bored of using the same medium time and time again. She learned to push her boundaries and how to make her art her own.
Rachel plans to continue her passion throughout college and even as a career. She hopes to earn a Master in Fine Arts (M.F.A.). “In a perfect world, I would be a full-time artist but realistically, I wouldn’t mind working in a gallery or museum or even being a professor of art. Anything related to fine arts would be a great career.”