ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Sophia Boosalis

Out of all of Sophia Boosalisʼs artistic abilities, Iʼm going to describe and give examples of the four abilities I think are most important; the ability to focus, devotion to completing a project, the skill of drawing and painting from the imagination and from reality, and the ability to regularly work very hard at the practice of art.


I first noticed Sophiaʼs laser bean focus when she began taking my group art lessons at age ten. No matter how many students were chatting, giggling or asking the most distracting left brain questions, (ʻDid you see “Family Guy” this week, Chris?ʼ), Sophia continued to work on her art with such fierce concentration, it was as if she and I were the only two in the art room.


Sophia continued learning drawing and painting technique in this group capacity for about six months until her mother Kari Boosalis asked me to guide Sophia through a series of private art lessons that focused on one ambitious project: creating twenty three paintings to illustrate Kariʼs childrenʼs book she had just written. The story called Mr. Grumper is about a short-tempered elementary school crossing guard and the little girl who tries to empathize with this manʼs grumpy behavior.


And that brings me to the second most important ability in Sophia; her dedication to executing a very challenging project. Sophia is now twelve years old and has completed all twenty three of the illustrations to accompany Mr. Grumpner. (The book is now in the process of being sold to a publishing company.) The hardest challenge was trying to keep all the illustrations of Mr. Grumpner looking like him no matter what angle the viewer sees him. Another challenge was to keep the color scheme and the font Sophia invented consistent through out all 23 illustrations. Keep in mind that it took a year and a half to complete the work, and all this time, Sophiaʼs drawing and painting style was naturally evolving. Sophia understood though that she had to keep the particular drawing and painting style she began with on the first page the same through out the book in order to create a consistent style. Besides the occasional rolling of the eyeballs, Sophia never complained once about this enormous challenge.


The third most important ability Sophia has is the skill of drawing from reality and from her imagination. An amazing example of Sophia drawing from reality is an Andy Warhol style self portrait of her as ʻQueen Elizabethʼ. I took a photo of her wearing a tiara, then she drew from this photo as well as from the Queen Elizabeth portrait. Two fine examples of Sophiaʼs ability to draw from the imagination are a label she made for her one girl baking company called ʻSophia Bakesʼ and a particularly charming self portrait she drew of herself as a ballerina. This artwork may be from Sophiaʼs very vivid imagination, but it is a reality that Sophia is a ballerina. If you saw the San Francisco Balletʼs beloved production of The Nutcracker this year, you saw Sophia dance in her role as one of the party girls in the present opening scenes.


And this brings me to the main reason why Sophia deserved to be called Artist of the Year at Chris Babcock Art; She is by far the hardest working art student I have encountered in the year 2011. Congratulations to you, Sophia Boosalis. You are an inspiration. Keep up that brilliant work that only you can do!


Sophia Boosalis’ artwork will be prominently displayed at The Student Art Show in May.