For as long as she can remember, Annika Crawford has communicated through her art. “Even before I could write, I was drawing,” says the George School senior whose work, “Alton,” won “Best in Show” in this year’s Youth Art Exhibition. “I wasn’t a talkative kid. I would spend a lot of time reading and drawing. It was through my art that I found I could express myself.”
The self-taught young artist is fascinated with nature, passionate about art and compelled to serve her community. When she isn’t drawing, you might find her exploring the wilderness, biking along the Delaware River canal path or volunteering at the Upper Makefield fire station.
She might not have been talkative as a kid, but she certainly has a lot to say—and offer others—about the world around her.
Her winning piece is a provocative work of art, whose subject is Alton Mason, considered one of the top male models in the world today. In Annika’s piece, we find Alton surrounded by a forest.
"I was drawn to this photo of model Alton Mason, because of his curious gaze and relaxed posture. It suggests a sort of serene confidence amid a shifting, natural landscape that reminded me of the woods of Pennsylvania,” she explained.
Even as a young artist, Annika already has a distinct style and a keen ability to interpret the world around her through her art. She is drawn to the power of portraiture and recalls her early influences. “Growing up, I loved reading so much and being in the world of books; it would excite me so much. I would draw the characters that I loved,” she says.
Today, Annika is looking forward to attending Tufts University in the fall, where she will formally study art and focus her studies in the humanities. She is not sure where her art will take her, but she is confident it will play an integral role in her career path. For now, she is excited to be heading off to college in a few months, and taking classes right next to one of her favorite places in Boston: the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).
"Being there (at the MFA) is dreamlike, a chance to see a whole new world of what art can be. There is so much to explore, and I am interested in a lot of different things.”
One of those things is firefighting. She plans to go to a fire school to become a volunteer firefighter this summer. “I hope to do something with my art (as a career), but I am also interested in the wilderness and finding a practical way to serve the community.”
Annika’s commitment to the environment, dedication to community service and brilliant artistic interpretations of characters and personalities around her, inspire us all. We wish her well!
"I was drawn to this photo of model Alton Mason because of his curious gaze and relaxed posture—suggesting a sort of serene confidence amid a shifting, natural landscape that reminded me of the woods of Pennsylvania. I don’t mean parks, but the brambly woods along roads that are so dense in the summer you have to crawl through. I spend a lot of time exploring them. I stumble on bones, magazines, torn cloth, but never one object twice. They always vanish, as if the forest swallowed them back up. No truer a symbol for the inevitability of the forest—of forgetting—than liana vines: these great, wooden vines that choke everything. So, I thought it was meaningful to frame Alton in liana vines, to show the power of portraiture to ward away these vines and preserve memory, though their presence lingers.”