Alyssa Dawn Nixon, 2017 Cover Contest Winner

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Alyssa Dawn Nixon

Our 2017 Creative Outlook Cover Contest winner is 17-year-old Alyssa Dawn Nixon from Brooksville, Florida. Her piece, titled “Frida Kahlo,” is featured on the front cover of the magazine.

Currently an 11th grader at Hernando High School, Nixon is most comfortable using graphite when creating art, but her favorite medium is watercolor.

She’ll tell you the medium has a life of its own and encourages its users to explore their art in a fun and carefree manner.

Art has always been a part of Nixon’s life. It’s tough to find a book or notepad in her home that doesn’t have drawings and doodles scattered throughout the pages. However, it wasn’t until 9th grade when she enrolled in an art class that she discovered just how taken with art she truly was.

“My teacher was quick to push me to discover and sharpen my skills, allowing my love and dedication towards art to blossom even further,” Nixon said.

What draws Nixon to art is that it’s a form of communication.

“Growing up, I struggled to communicate my thoughts and emotions to my loved ones and drawing was really my biggest tool to overcome that,” she said. “So for me, art is communication. It conveys my thoughts and emotions, the things that are too hard to say.”

One of the most significant ways that art has impacted Nixon’s life is by bringing her closer to her friends and family, particularly her mom.

“I’ve always been close with my mom, but art really drew us closer together,” she said. “Through every up and down in my journey, she has been the one who supported me the most. She’s even gone as far as staying up with me for most of the night, salvaging coffee stained art pieces that otherwise would’ve been ruined if it weren’t for her quick thinking.”

After high school, Nixon plans to study midwifery and then she has her sights set on attending Ringling College of Art and Design.

“I don’t intend to give up my dream of nursing for art, just the same as how I don’t intend to give up art for nursing,” she said. “Who’s to say I can’t have both of my dream jobs?”

Nixon is a strong believer in reaching for your dreams.

“Sometimes taking a leap of faith will take you to heights you never imagined yourself reaching before,” she said. “One small choice can change your entire life. I promise you, art is one of those choices.”

Q&A WITH ALYSSA DAWN NIXON

What was your inspiration for “Frida Kahlo”?

Frida Kahlo is decidedly a favorite artist of mine. Her paintings hold a story, moving their viewers to feel her emotions in life. With just one glance at one of her pieces, you are thrown into her world. It’s truly captivating. Taking that inspiration, I decided to create this piece of art. A comic book style isn’t something people would normally associate with her, but I felt it captured the constant action she had going on around her in life. Everything surrounding her was fast paced, while she struggled with her own battles and those of her loved ones.

Alexia Lang
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Alexia Lang, a multimedia journalist from Olathe, Kan., holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Lang has worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and blogs, producing award-winning content over the past 10 years.

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