Home Grown Stan Lee


Dawn Lewis

Senior Christian Cahalan poses for a senior photo.

Getting into All-State would be considered an achievement for students involved in activities such as sports or music. However, was it made known that there was an Art All-State as well? Senior Christian Cahalan, is certainly aware, as he is the only student from Kennedy High School to make it to the Art All-State this year.

“I was never actively involved in anything like all state, I never put in the effort to attempt to do anything like that. It being my senior year, I wanted to leave my mark a little bit,” Cahalan said.

Everyone has their own specific style of art, and that is no different for Cahalan.

“Comic books (are my favorite style), I realized that that’s kind of what I lean toward most, not really like distorted or exotic, I just feel more comfortable with drawing comic-esque people, animals, or whatever else,” Cahalan said.

Cahalan has been interested in art since first grade and has since then invested time and effort into improving his art skills by taking numerous art classes and participating in art clubs.

“Each day I probably spend an average of two-three hours (on my art). That’s across the work I do in my free time and work that I do for school. Without the school work it’s probably around three to four hours, and I’m not as exhausted so I have more time to myself.”

Cahalan’s interest in art will be continued as he will be going to the Kansas City Art Institute after graduating high school, where he plans to attend for four years.

After college, Cahalan aims to get a job where he will have freedom with his art.

“If I was able to become a well-paid comic book artist, I wouldn’t mind them asking me to do this, this, and this, but it’s like if I were able to draw the way I wanted to, give it my own spin to it, then I think that would be just fine,” Cahalan said.

Despite Cahalan’s long-lasting devotion to art, he didn’t always know that this was what he wanted to do with his life.

“When I was younger I was one of the ever-popular kids who liked dinosaurs, so I’ve always wanted to become a paleontologist, but then it was, I just started leaning more towards art the older I got, so I wasn’t always 100 percent sure I wanted to be an artist, but in eighth grade it was like, yeah I want to be an artist,” Cahalan said.

In order to advance his art skills better, Cahalan doesn’t completely focus on his art.

“I mean it’s good to focus on your art skills, but at the same time you need to focus, if you’re a high schooler focus on your grades, focus on that work, because then you’re going to value the time you have more for what you’re allowed with art,” Cahalan said.

When creating something, no matter what it is, inspiration is often needed to make it happen.

Cahalan’s inspiration is an artist by the name of Matt Frank, who was known for Godzilla artwork. People had mixed reactions due to the fact that Godzilla was copyrighted and told Frank to stop what he was doing, however, he continued. Frank was later contacted by a comic book company that holds the rights to Godzilla and began to work with them.

“He did what he loved despite what others were saying, and it actually benefited him in the long run. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to what anyone is saying, but just take yourself into consideration at the same time. That is why I consider him my inspiration,” Cahalan said.

Cahalan claims that he does not have an emotional attachment to art, but it is still important to him and allows him to express himself.

“Art is so important to me in regards to how underappreciated it is, only because people….they think we can’t gain anything from them (artists). That is 100 percent false, so that’s why I view art as important to me,” Cahalan said. “It just proves that artists can do a lot of work and we are of value.”