Tahoma High School student Kaleb Jaelan Magee won Best in Show and was a regional winner in the 2019 Regional High School Art Show hosted by the Puget Sound Educational Service District.
Magee said he was never really into the art community until one day his teacher, Kara Oxner, told him she wanted to enter his ceramics project into the art contest.
“I initially had Kaleb in my Adobe Illustrator class and so saw him grow as a two dimensional artist and then had him in Ceramics 1 and he just seemed like a go-getter, very passionate about what he was doing. He loves to experiment with the different mediums,” Oxner said. “I had parent-teacher conferences with his parents and they were showing me some of his work and this one piece he did on his own at home was just phenomenal and I was like ‘The world has to start looking at your work and seeing you as an artist.”
His piece is called “The Abomination from My Imagination” and features what Magee calls a “creature.” It’s made out of clay and has the whole creature aspect down to the T. It has scales, horns and even fins.
It’s about the size of a laptop and wowed the judges so much it moved Magee onto the state level of competition, which takes place May 17 in Olympia.
Magee said he was one of the 12 regional winners in the show.
“It was very eye opening because it definitely changed my views for what I was going to do after high school. I thought I was just going to become some scientist or construction worker, but after this art thing, I realized I could be doing something that I actually like doing,” Magee said. “It was super helpful because it made me aware of art college, what I could do after college and just overall life-changing for me, which is awesome.”
Drawing has been part of Magee’s life ever since he can remember, but he said ceramics and making things out of clay didn’t become a thing for him until he joined the ceramics class offered at Tahoma High School. From that point on, he said he was hooked.
When Magee drew, he said he was all about drawing dragons and “creatures.” When he’s able to take that creature or dragon and make it into a touchable, physical form not just on paper, he said that’s his favorite part about ceramics.
“I just fell in love in with it,” he said.
Magee said his current goal is to get into a college called “SCAD,” the Savannah College of Art and Design. To make it to this school, Magee said he is working hard to get as many scholarships as he can. He said he wants to get more involved with the art community and competitions.
After graduation from SCAD, Magee said his dream is to become what’s called a “studio artist.” He explained he wants to sell his own work to make a living.