By KENDRA PEEK
10:48 AM EST, February 25, 2013
Working student. Budding artist. Curious musician. Animal activist. Aspiring paramedic. These are all phrases that describe 18-year-old Travis Jenkins of Harrodsburg.
The Mercer County senior began drawing about two years ago, following in his mother’s footsteps.
“She’s definitely my biggest source of inspiration,” Jenkins said, referring to his mom Dianna.
The teen explained that, while growing up, his mom would always draw him pictures of the things or shows that he liked. She even painted the characters from the television show “Rugrats” on his bedroom wall when he was very young.
“Seeing those pictures inspired me to try to create my own. From there, it just kind of took off,” he said.
After taking a drawing class at Mercer County Senior High School, Jenkins is now taking the Advanced Placement art class taught by Julia Snellen. It is through working with his mom and then taking these classes that his art has begun to truly flourish.
“It’s been a thing we’ve been able to do together,” Dianna said.
Travis explained that drawing has been a way to deal with daily stresses.
“It calms you down. It just takes your mind off everything because you’re so focused on little details,” he said. “Everything else just kind of … you can’t pay attention to it at the moment.”
Hiking has long been a hobby, and some of his favorite things to draw are found in nature.
His artwork is usually either realism, which he said is basically drawing what you see, or abstract, which falls on the other end of the spectrum in “drawing what you don’t see,” Dianna said.
Surrealism, which Travis explained as a sort of meshing of the two styles, is his favorite kind of art. But it’s not an easy style to create, at least not enough to satisfy the perfectionist inside.
“I’ve just never been able to come up with a way to do it. If I did, it would just be me copying someone famous,” Travis said.
An example of surrealism hangs framed on his wall. The piece is one that his mom drew — an art reproduction of M.C. Escher’s “Drawing Hands” — to enter in the Mercer County Fair.
Travis and his mom were preparing entries and had noticed that reproductions of famous pieces often placed higher in the competition, so he asked her to replicate that piece, by one of his favorite artists.
“If I had to choose a famous artist that is an inspiration, next to Picasso, it is probably M.C. Escher,” Travis said.
The fact that it was drawn by his mom simply makes it more meaningful, as he described that particular drawing as his “favorite piece, period.”
Art, in his words, should “inspire someone’s inner curiosity about how things could be perceived or looked at.”
Besides a shared interest in art, Travis and his family are musically inclined. He and his brother both play guitar. He also enjoys playing the drums, but the piano is his instrument of choice.
“If I had a piano, I would play at it all day. I love it,” he said. For now, he plays a keyboard.
Another shared interest in his family, Travis explains, is that of saving animals, as evidenced by the four-legged creatures that reside in their home.
He’s even attended protests against circuses, and the family is constantly helping strays, including taking in a few.
Concern for others is displayed in the career path he is following. While completing his senior year, he is taking night classes at the Mercer County Emergency Medical Services station, planning to become an emergency medical technician.
“I’ll graduate (from EMT training) about two weeks before I graduate high school,” Travis said, explaining that he hopes to get a job and complete fieldwork before going to school to become a paramedic.
Recently, he used some of his training while working at Minit Mart, tapping into the knowledge he had received in classes to help an individual suffering from a seizure while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
“Afterward, it was honestly the best feeling in the world,” he said, explaining that he now knows, there is “absolutely nothing else” he wants to do.
“I wanted a job where I could go home every day with a sense of accomplishment, like I did something that mattered,” Travis said.
SO YOU KNOW
Mercer County Senior High students in the Advanced Placement art classes will have an art sale Tuesday at James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital in Harrodsburg. Proceeds from the sale will be split between the students and the school’s art program.
Copyright © 2013, AM News