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From Anime to Acclaim

Seventh grader displays art in the High Museum

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Seventh grader Maria Levin’s love for art blossomed at 6 years old. She copied illustrations from a book on how to draw anime and has wanted to be an artist ever since.

That dream is even closer to becoming a reality now that one of her paintings is hanging in the High Museum of Art.

Before Levin could reach that moment, she had to develop her skills as an artist. As a young, aspiring artist, Levin took inspiration from many sources including her dad Eri Levin.

Eri works in design and animation. Although he drew when he was Levin’s age, he was never as good as her, he said.

“Hopefully along with some of her desire to be a good artist she is also learning to work hard,” Eri said. “It’s about dedication and putting some effort into something you love.”

The first time Levin was recognized for her talent changed her perception on where her art could go. A man found one of her ukulele t-shirts and wanted to interview Levin for his website for young artists.

“I just got really excited about that because I’ve never been recognized like that before,” Levin said.

Her artistic journey continued as she displayed her art for the first time in a children’s hospital and later her school and art festivals.

“I was really happy about [showing my art for the first time] and that also inspired me to keep drawing.”

Levin painted an androgynous black woman for the pop-up show using a model for reference. “I just liked the kind of vibe she gave off from the paper,” she said.

The inspiration from displaying her art led Levin to participate in the High Museum’s Student Pop-Up Show. However, she participated for more than just exposure.

“I also thought it would be fun because I always really liked the High Museum and always wanted to be featured in a museum,” Levin said.

On Sept. 30, Levin brought her artwork to the museum as did other students from all over Georgia. She was surprised by the turnout.

“There were a lot of other drawings,” Levin said. “I didn’t even expect there to be that many because I had never really heard of it.”

The experience helped Levin find even more ways to gain exposure. It also helped her believe she could be successful in art.

Recently, Levin decided she wants to be an illustrator and animator like her dad.

Eri sees her potential to pursue one of those careers.

“I think it’s safe to say she will be in some sort of creative field,” Eri said. “But you never know; it’s important to be able to embrace change.”

Levin’s work will be featured in the Student Pop-Up Show until Oct. 29. She hopes this opportunity will bring her one step closer to achieving her dreams.

 

Contact the writer, Nayeli Shad, at 20nayelishad@csdecatur.net.

Photos courtesy of Maria Levin.

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About the Writer
Nayeli Shad, Copy Editor
Nayeli Shad (Class of 2020) has always had a passion for storytelling, whether it’s through journalism or creative writing. After school, she participates in Mock Trial as a lawyer. In her spare time, she can be found obsessing over fictional characters, having dance parties, and ranting excessively.
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