One sunny morning in Bishopville, SC, a mother walked beside a local playground sandbox where her 4-year-old daughter was playing and constructing sand sculptures. As she approached, the box Katy looked up to her mother, smiled, and with grainy hands said, “Momma, I was born for diggin’ and drawin.’”
Since then, Katy has held true to “at least half that.”
Meet Katy Seymour, junior animation major. Since she was young, Seymour held an interest and passion for fine arts. With minimal tutoring, she is essentially self-taught.
At 13-years-old, she competed in an art contest against older teenagers in the upper-level division at the South Carolina State Fair, where she placed first amongst almost 100 participants and won $50 cash prize for her watercolor painting of a friend riding a horse.
Her greatest feat, however, was her senior year in high school when Seymour had the opportunity to compete regionally and nationally. That night, she took home two first place titles and one second place title in three respective competitions sponsored by Top Nazarene Talent – first for a pencil drawing of a Doberman pinscher, first for a pen and ink drawing of stuffed animals sitting on a bed, and second for a gum-wrapper sculpture of a knight on a horse fighting dragons.
“It’s kind of funny to me,” Seymour said. “One of the pieces [Doberman pinscher] I won took me 26 hours to draw, and the other one [studded animals] was drawn the night before because I didn’t have anything for the pen and ink category. So I just drew it in an hour, two hours max.”
After so many wins, it was only natural Seymour would choose an animation major.
“I’ve considered fine arts and music performance, and in the long run, it came down to doing something that I wouldn’t get burnt out doing … and still have fun,” Seymour said.
Upon graduation, Seymour said she hopes to be a character designer. Although currently “not too picky” about where she would work, her dream job would be to work under studios like LAIKA, DreamWorks, and Real FX Creative Studios.
“I really like all three of them and what they’re doing with their characters,” Seymour said. “They’re not just cookie-cutter films, and I really like that. At this point, I’d really like to work with them, but the industry moves so fast I can’t say for sure where I’d like to go.”
For Seymour, dissecting various art processes has been fairly easy, she said. For instance, after watching a few YouTube videos on artists designing latte art, Seymour decided to give it a try.
“I’ve been a [café] barista for three years, so I knew what they were doing,” Seymour said.
“The next day I had my shift and had my first round at latte art. It’s just one of those things, I can dissect processes easily. … If I self-prompt myself to do something, I do it quickly.”
In her lifetime, Seymour said two of her artworks have been the most satisfying and self-rewarding. The first is small, black and white oil painting of a woman where the top half of her head blossoms into a giant, multi-colored rose.
“That was the first time in a long time I’ve worked with oils, and it went really well,” Seymour said. “And one of my professors actually bought it. He was just like, ‘I really like this, and I would buy it if you had another one.’ So I was like, ‘you want this one?’”
The second is a larger-than-life portrait of the mechanically augmented video-game character Adam Jensen of “Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” The entire piece was drawn with a various assortment of pencils, including mechanical. Although the entire piece was black and white, the eyes were colored blue to accentuate the face.
“It took so long to do,” Seymour said, “but it was someone who I really cared about. They graduated, and I was just able to pour myself into this. And just giving it to him and seeing the look on his face was so satisfying.”
Part of Seymour’s persona involves gifting others with her work to brighten their day.
“It’s one of those things where if I am making something for people, I pour my adoration for that friend into that drawing,” Seymour said. “When I give it to them, it’s like me saying, ‘Here’s a piece of me that I want to give to you.’ It sounds really weird, and maybe even a little bit creepy. But that’s just kind of how it is for me.”
This part of Seymour’s personality is something she believes is inherent.
“It’s something God gave me a passion for,” Seymour said.