Student artist wins awards, advances artistic career

Plans to attend art school next year


Kat Farley ’23 holds up an original graphic design (left) and one of her Gold Key winning pieces (Kowalski/LION).

Evelyn Kowalski, Editor-in-Chief

Since she could hold a crayon, Kat Farley ‘23 has been expressing her artistic abilities in a multitude of ways, her mom Mim Farley said. Whether it was from painting on easels from the age of 2, starting a cake business in second grade, or eventually taking art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Farley has found every way to establish herself as an artist in many fashions. 

Most recently, Farley has been creating digital character art, which encompasses two-dimensional drawing on digital programs. She sells her art primarily on Etsy, creating T-shirts, stickers, and charms under the storefront “dargonarrt.”

“I like creating characters that people can both relate to but also convey a lot of emotion,” Farley said. 

Farley also creates personal commissions, where people can request certain pieces through her email, [email protected].

The LT community has offered Farley a plethora of artistic opportunities. She was able to sell her art at Lyon Con last year, and at a local craft fair through the art department over the summer. Not only has Farley gained opportunities through LT to sell her art, but she feels supported by her art teacher Patrick Page

“Kat has a lot of initiative and she works extremely hard,” Page said. “Those are great qualities because they allow you to get better–she has never been scared of feedback. Kat has an amazing range of talent.” 

This year for Scholastic Art competitions, the AP Art Department focused on portfolios, which is the hardest competition in Scholastics, Page said. There were 83 portfolios submitted in the region, and only eight were awarded Gold Keys, the highest award the competitors can receive. Two of those Gold Keys were won by Farley, one for a portfolio of self-portraits, and another for a portfolio of fantasy characters. A Gold Key was also won by another LT art student, Lindsey Wilson ‘23. This year alone, Farley has won 12 Scholastic Art awards. 

One of the classes Farley took at SAIC this past summer was “Intro to 3D Animation,” and it was fun, but really difficult, she said. She has made it a goal to continue working on her 3D animation skills, and even use those skills to create a trailer to a video game for her AP art project. 

“Think of having a block of clay, and you’re modeling it, but digitally,” Farley said. “You start out with a shape on your computer and you can push and pull until the point where you really have something.” 

These combined experiences will allow Farley to pursue a professional career in game art. With game art, she will be able to work on concept design, environment design, and character design rather than physically coding those concepts for the games. 

“I have been influenced by video games a lot,” Farley said. “Most people just play games, but I’m really into the art of them.” 

One of her mom’s favorite pieces is a hummingbird that Farley made out of Model Magic and paper. Farley also created a mural on the side of Smothers Group Compass Realty in La Grange. 

“She has a sketchbook that she is constantly drawing in,” her mom said. “I feel like it has progressed from a hobby into a profession. She has worked so hard. I am so proud of everything.”