EVERETT — Abigail Dahl, 17, is a homeschooled student who has been able to follow her artistic passions from her own studio as well as the studios at Everett Community College, where she is a Running Start student. She won a Gold Key and two Silver Key awards in this year’s Scholastic Art Awards. Last year, one of her animations went on to win a National Gold Medal and be ranked among “the most outstanding works in the nation.”
Question: Have you always been homeschooled?
Answer: I can’t even remember being in a school, since like in preschool. I think I went to a Catholic preschool or something but that was it. So that made starting Running Start classes quite the jump for me, but I like it.
Q: Have you liked being homeschooled?
A: It was good for me, because it gave me a lot of opportunity to explore what I was interested in without the influence of a lot of other people around me, and it gave me a lot of time and space to explore. … It hasn’t made everything super easy. But it’s all I’ve ever known. And it’s made me who I am, and I like who I am.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: Right now I’m taking French 2, Art 116, which is Drawing II, English 101. At home, I’m taking a government course and pre-calculus, and a history course too.
Q: You draw, paint, make videos, and play piano, guitar, flute and ukulele. Do you have a favorite art form?
A: I would say animation mostly because it’s a combination of everything I love.
Q: Have you always wanted to be an artist?
A: I always assumed everyone wanted to be an artist until they found they weren’t good at it. Then I heard a lot of stories of artists and how hard they worked at it. I realized I could really do it if I put in the effort.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration?
A: It’s hard to put a pin in one exact source of inspiration, but much of my work tends to come from me trying to define a particular feeling that I have a hard time articulating verbally.
Q: Your favorite piece at the moment is a 4-by-2 oil painting called “Swimming Pool Sun.” Tell us about it.
A: One of my most vivid memories as a child of light was being in a swimming pool and at night really bright swimming pool lights shining through the water. I wanted to capture that.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m in my senior year right now and I’d like to go to an actual art school. My first choice is CalArts. It’s really competitive.
Q: Do you have anyone who has inspired or mentored you?
A: I tend to look to great artists and famous people as inspiration. … Right now my art professor, professor Linda Berkley, it’s been really neat working with her because she can give me personal advice and tell me things I could never have found out on my own.
Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I’ve always kind of wanted to be in the animation field, either the storyboarding part or character development, the visual design part. But I think I’d be happy as long as I’m working on something I like.
Q: What is it like to see your work on display at the Schack Art Center?
A: It’s kind of weird, because I’ve been staring at it for so long. So seeing it next to other pieces on the wall, I see it in a different way — kind of as an outsider, which is always a different experience.”
Q: We don’t know about this year yet. But last year you won a national Scholastic Art award for your short animated film “The Proper Care of Sprouts.”
A: I got invited to Carnegie Hall and got a medal for that. It was fun.
Q: What else do you enjoy?
A: I’m an avid music critic. I love listening to podcasts on music and learning what’s new.
Q: What’s it like at this stage of life?
A: I think it’s exciting. It’s full of possibilities. The great thing about being an artist — as long as I’m making things that I love, I’ll be happy.
The Regional Scholastic Art Awards exhibit runs through March 4 at Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett.
See more of Dahl’s work abigaildahl.com.