LAND O' LAKES — As a child, Taylor Young started doodling with crayons as a hobby. Now at age 16, this Sunlake High School sophomore has received a full scholarship, valued at $6,000, to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design Summer Pre-College Program.
Last month, the Florida Art Education Association recognized her with an Award of Excellence in the 2018 K-12 Student Art Assessment and Virtual Exhibition. Her work has been featured in a national magazine, and she has won numerous honors and accolades.
"Art for me started out as a hobby, and I loved doing it," said this Land O' Lakes resident, "so I built my skills."
Counting colored pencils as her favorite medium, Young also specializes in pencil drawings, digital art, watercolors, woodcarving and mixed media.
In the eyes of Sunlake art teacher Stefanie Bracciale, Young has a bright future. "Her skill and dedication are rare," said Bracciale. "We at Sunlake are so proud of her accomplishments. And we can't wait to see what's to come."
Young said she loves the visual aspect of art.
"Art can tell a story," she said, "and I love the therapeutic process. You can make people feel good with art."
She loves drawing fantasy figures such as fairies and dragons, and has won artistic honors on scholastic, community and national levels. She and her artwork were featured in the Urban Girlz Magazine. She was the Congressional Art Contest winner for Sunlake High School in 2017, and has been inducted this year into the National Art Honor Society. She is the Modern Moose Art Contest "Best of Show" winner for 2018, and claimed first place in the Jack and Jill Teen Art Contest for 2018 and 2017. Additionally, her artwork has been featured in exhibits at the Pasco County Fair, where she claimed a first-place honor in 2015.
"I'd love to see my work in more exhibits and art fairs," she said.
As a student at Sunlake High School, she is the Sunlake High School PTA Reflections Art Contest winner 2017-18. Her artwork was selected to grace the cover of Sunlake Review 2017, and she was appointed a participating student artist on a team painting a wall mural at the school. In 2017, she was the second-place winner in the Suicide Prevention Art Contest at Sunlake.
"Art is meant to be seen and spread," she said, "especially when it has a message."
Young advises aspiring artists to study art "like it's a science." During her upcoming study at the Ringling College, she hopes to learn more about the business and social aspects of art, skills she wants to apply to a career as an illustrator.
"It is these things which separate a good artist from a great artist," she said. "I want to learn to really propel art into a career."