Artistic passion turned to business

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BY STEPHANIE STONE

PRINT NEWS EDITOR

For as long as she can remember, junior Maria Morales has been interested in art. Now, she makes and sells chokers as another way to express her passion.

“I love making art, so I wanted to sell my chokers and prints at the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) Festival,” Morales said. “I made the chokers since they seem to be really popular right now, and I wanted to do something different for the festival.”

She first sold the chokers at the NAHS festival, where she had her own booth to display the chokers and encourage students to buy them. To make the chokers, Morales creates them with ribbon and leather from Colombia. She is selling them for prices ranging from $5-$12, with most of them being $8. Although she has just begun her business, she said it has been successful thus far.

“It has only just started, but so far so good,” Morales said. “I sold more than 30 chokers at the art festival. If things keep going well, I might open an Etsy store. ”

Now, since the popularity has grown, she is starting to sell them outside of school.

“Having my own booth was an awesome opportunity to get my name out there and sell my artwork and chokers,” Morales said. “It was also a ton of fun. Since I am an officer of NAHS, I was so happy that we had an amazing turnout. It allowed many artists around school to get some serious recognition.”

Maria Carolina Morales, Morales’s mother, said making the chokers was a great idea

“The chokers seem to be the new trend amongst teenagers. All her friends wear them and her younger sister’s friends do too,” Ms. Morales said. “She will hopefully be creating a website with more chokers and more of her art. It was a success at the art festival and now she continues to sell them outside of school.”

NAHS adviser Elizabeth Jenkins said the chokers have been such a hit and is proud of the business Morales has started.

“I think the chokers are something that are unique and something she likes to make and have. Each one is a little different and fairly priced which people responded to well,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “It is always good when artists like what they do, rather than do something they think will make them some money.”

Along with making chokers, Morales has enjoyed other aspects of art. She is involved in painting and pen-work. In addition, she has also done commissions such as illustrating a children’s book and painting murals. Mrs. Jenkins said Morales is an excellent artist because her work varies.

“Maria is very creative and pretty diverse which allows her to be the artist she is,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “She continues to work in a variety of media and prints.”

Ms. Morales said art has changed her daughter for the better and is happy she has found her joy in life.

“Art has really influenced the person she is today,” Ms. Morales said. “I love that she is passionate about it and that she has big dreams for the future. Her talent can help her get into a great university of her choice and then further assist her career.”

Morales said she anticipates on continuing art after high school because of her appreciation and skills in the subject.

“I hope to go to an art school after senior year,” Morales said. “I want to fulfill my aspirations of becoming a graphic designer.”

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