The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW student’s artwork gains attention of local gallery

By Francés Matteck/editor-in-chief

Celia Cortez does something she loves and gets paid for it, and she’s still a student.

The studio art major on NW Campus used to draw as a child and didn’t realize how much she loved art until she took a painting class on NW three and a half years ago.

“It makes me happy,” she said.

About a year ago, she was commissioned to create portraits for the Pathway to Freedom traveling exhibit after a member of student activities praised her work to the coordinator of the exhibit.

The pictures that appeared in the exhibit before were low quality, and when blown up, some were too pixilated to make out the details of the subject.

Over the last year, she created around 40 8-by-10 inch profiles of influential African-Americans and Native Americans, and they are now a permanent feature in the exhibit as it travels across the country.

Cortez also had an art show at the Rose Marine Theater November through January.

Her most recent commission was a portrait of Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin with his double-necked SG guitar.

She said the hardest part was the guitar.

“People don’t realize the effort you put into your work,” Cortez said.

She can work on it for a little bit one day and put 10 hours into it another. It’s just like a job, Cortez said.

However, she enjoys the freedom of doing her own thing.

“It’s almost like you’re your own boss,” she said.

Cortez still takes classes though. Currently, she’s enrolled in drawing and painting classes.

Associate professor Winter Rusiloski teaches Cortez’s painting class.

“Celia is one of our more advanced students,” she said. “I think she’s exceptional in that she’s making this body of work. It’s a tremendous achievement that she had that solo show last year.”

Cortez’s work has definite graphic and pop influences, Rusiloski said.

She’s taking a break between commissions and working on a piece just for her in her class.

A paisley print borders the phrase, “For my sanity.”

It’s tentatively titled “I am here” for a play on words that expresses how her painting keeps her sanity intact.

Cortez intends to transfer to the University of North Texas.

“I have no doubt that she could make it at a professional level — she’s got that drive that I think is necessary to be a successful professional artist,” Rusiloski said. “I expect great things from her.”

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