The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a poet as: “one (as a creative artist) of great imaginative and expressive capabilities and special sensitivity to the medium.”
So, appropriately named then is a bubbly, yet thoughtful, 16-year-old budding artist who has spent time at our school honing her talent. Poet Turosak, a student of CEC’s Multimedia Graphic Design class and the Denver Online High School, was recently awarded 2nd place in the DPS High School Art Exhibition in the digital arts category. Poet’s creativity and self-expression brought to mind the shape of a bird created out of this phrase: “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” It is a beautiful tribute to those who find the courage to create and a perfect sentiment from a young woman whose talent, insight and creativity far exceed her years.
Poet, began exploring art as a pre-teen, primarily through a summer camp at the Denver Arts Students League, but only now does she seem to be beginning to understand the depths of her talent.
Her CEC teacher, Rebecca Havekotte, recognized it immediately however and knew she had a special student on her hands. “She’s just a natural,” Havekotte said. “She has great design sense, she’s detail-oriented and she’s passionate about what she is doing.” As a result of Poet’s talent, Ms. Havekotte entered her into the DPS art show, which is made up of teacher-selected student work. And because Poet didn’t know of the entry, her acknowledgement caught her completely off guard.
“I was shocked when I was told I was selected to be in this art show,” she said as her eyes widened with amazement and her infectious smile took place. “It was really affirming to get noticed on that level; to work hard and get recognized.” Poet was thrilled at the award, which came with a ribbon and a certificate, but even more impressive was that her piece was one of four showcased on the art show poster. Yet, she remains humble about her gift as an artist. “People have told me before that I show promise, but I just love what I do. I’m lucky to be able to be alright at it,” she said. The piece that was entered wasn’t even her favorite design work of the semester, a true sign of impressive things to come. “It makes me want to enter other shows,” she said.
Creating compelling art is an enviable talent to many—what feeds her creative side? Poet believes it comes from emotion. “I have always been told that I have a very high range of emotions. That I experience things really intensely, more than other people might. So I think it’s fed a lot by that. I’ve always thought that the best art comes from the polar opposites of emotion. So, if you’re really sad, then that’s going to be great art. If you’re really happy or really angry—that’s where the best stuff comes from.”
With her talents and growing confidence in her work, Poet has decided that art will remain a major part of her life. If she had the choice, she’d create just what appealed to her own emotion. “I’d be a freelance artist, make my own work, and not have to have anyone understand it,” she said. But the idea of having a gallery of personal works, while appealing, does not fit the practical side of her personality. “I want to have a successful and concrete career and I think working as a graphic designer can help me do that,” she said.
No matter what direction she takes, her talent is undeniable. And as she continues to follow her passion and her heart for self-expression one thing is sure—she will always remain true to her name. She is, without a doubt, a poet.
Q&A with Poet Turosak
CEC: Poet, what grade are you in?
Poet: Age-wise, I’m a sophomore, but credit-wise I am a junior.
CEC: What do you like about attending the Denver Online High School?
Poet: I went to a traditional high school and it just wasn’t working out for me, so my parents decided they wanted to get an alternative high school for me and Denver Online came up and it’s been great for me ever since. I was a bit skeptical at first, I didn’t think it would be as challenging as a traditional high school, but it is! It takes a lot of self-discipline, but it’s so much more flexible and offers me the time to go to the Community College of Denver for some of my classes.
CEC: What classes are you currently taking at CCD?
Poet: Cultural Anthropology, Graphic Design 100 and Art History—Ancient to Medieval times.
CEC: How has the Multimedia and Graphic Design class at CEC helped you enhance your design skills?
Poet: The introduction to Illustrator and having access to the CS5 environment could not have been more valuable. Illustrator is everything in the graphic design world. Without having that instruction to it, I would never be able to create anything or have any promise in graphic design as a career. And the way Ms. Havekotte teaches it, is just incredible. Actually contrasting it to my current graphic design class at CCD, we were taught much more theory about design at CEC, which is invaluable. In my CCD class we’re just learning how to use Illustrator as a tool, we haven’t learned anything about what might be aesthetically pleasing or how to communicate, which is what we learned from Ms. Havekotte.
CEC: What is your favorite thing about CEC?
Poet: The access to the real work environment. We get to actually experience what it would be like in the career and how someone would actually work in the professional world.