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Artist Spotlight-Mikayla Straube

By: Paige Terpstra

Wheaton North Junior Mikayla Straube is an amazing artist who specializes in painting. This is her piece “Captive to Finality,” one of her painting studio projects. Mikayla explains how she grabbed inspiration for this creation from her old work:

“I had the idea of taking an old painting and reworking something new from it. I took my last project from Painting 2 and reversed it; in this instance, there is a girl’s decapitated head held between the isolated picture of two skeleton forearms and hands. The old painting was of a boy, who’s entire torso was painted, holding a skull. The old painting was bright and full of life, despite the main figure being black and white.

Here in this new painting, though, I decided to make it dark and ominous. This can be seen with the aura around the central figure being dark-to-light rather than the opposite. The subtle swirls in the background draw the attention of the viewer and also gives the illusion of some mysterious liquid being stirred, which tends to have an eerie connotation.

Working in a narrative about a girl getting mixed up with supernatural beings and facing the consequences, I want this piece to be one of the final projects for the story because it has not only a literal but a figurative meaning, of people never being able to escape an end. By having a living head held by skeletons, which typically signify death, I believe I portrayed just that. Also, by having the background blue, it looks like water, which symbolizes the continuous flow of life. The stark lines communicate rigidity and inevitability. I don’t believe I had outside artist influence, but the scene in "Macbeth" when Macduff held Macbeth's skull in triumph came to mind a few times.”

Simply stating that Mikayla is a good storyteller would be an understatement. Her artwork expresses such an intense and perplexing tale, and as an artist myself, I cannot help but admire it. There is no better way to conclude than with Mikayla’s own words:

“Art can be created in so many different forms and it is meant to be enjoyed and made by anyone. The possibilities of creation are endless, and you'll never know what you could do if you don't try, so I encourage everyone to give their creative side a chance every once in a while!”

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