Fraser student selected for prestigious art competition

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published June 8, 2022

 Clare Knox’s piece “The Last Line” portrays the struggle frontline workers and medical personnel have had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clare Knox’s piece “The Last Line” portrays the struggle frontline workers and medical personnel have had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo provided by Kristin Ledford

FRASER — One Fraser High School senior will be honored in New York this month for her outstanding artistic talent and vision.

Artist Clare Knox was selected among 2,000 regional student artists for consideration as part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

“The Scholastics Art and Writing Awards is the oldest and most prestigious art competition in the U.S., and 2022 marked the 99th year of its existence,” one of Knox’s high school art teachers, Roger Drabant, explained in an email. “To break it down, Clare’s piece was one of 300,000 pieces submitted and only one in 800 to receive a National Award — or one of 0.3% to earn a National Gold Medal, as well as being chosen as the top piece from the Michigan Thumb Region.”

Knox competed in the Michigan Thumb Region division, consisting of Macomb, Lapeer, St. Clair, Huron, and Sanilac counties, which had roughly 2,000 pieces submitted.

Knox’s piece, entitled “The Last Line,” was meant to represent the struggle and effort medical professionals and other frontline workers had to endure during the last two years while confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was a struggle for a lot of people. It was a big thing that happened in the world,” said Knox. “I was starting to do a portfolio about things going on in the world right now. COVID affected a lot of things. It affected my school, it affected everyone around me; I had COVID over the summer. I saw a lot of nurses and so forth, so I thought it would be a good idea to highlight them.”

“The reason it resonated so much to viewers, I believe, is because of the rawness in the person she chose to draw, as well as the use of the real masks as the background,” Drabant said. “Clare has proven throughout her years at Fraser High school that she deserves all the accolades that she is now receiving.”

Knox has worked in a variety of mediums but said that pencil work, which she used for “The Last Line,” is her favorite. She hopes to continue her artistic ambitions and perhaps teach it to others later in life. “I do a lot of photography, but with drawing, I prefer it. I like working in pencil because I like the feel of it and the look of things in black and white,” she said. “I’m going to the College for Creative Studies for drawing, painting and sculpture. I also want to do art education, and I would love to become an art teacher in the future.”

“Clare will be the first to tell you that she was shocked by the attention her work has received,” Drabant added. “In her video recording accepting the American Vision Nomination, she said that ‘this type of thing doesn’t happen to her.’ She can no longer say that. It is her humbleness and willingness to accept and work through critiques and issues that she might be having with a given piece that really pushes her to be the artist she is. Clare is a multifaceted artist as she enjoys working in pencil, like this piece, as well as ceramics and photography. Clare’s work has been showcased not only through Scholastics, but also through the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens and the Fraser Public Schools Annual K-12 Art Show.”

Knox said she is very pleased to have her work recognized.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I never thought anything like this would happen. This is going up against the best young artists in the United States. It will be at Carnegie Hall on June 9.”

Her best advice for young artists is to keep at it and to never doubt or give up on themselves.

“Even when you think you’re not good or that nothing you do is worth something, just keep going. You can always push through it. It will always turn out better than you think it will, and it’s usually worth it in the end.”