Devoted to her art

Winning first place in the annual art association high school competition was just a day in the life of 18-year-old Alexandra Vay, who is already developing her own artistic brand and comic series.

The recent Burbank High graduate took home gold at the Burbank Art Assn. Annual High-School Scholarship Competition for her watercolor of two withering tulips, “Dying.” The competition was held at the association’s May 25 meeting and chose Vay’s work out of 20 others from Burbank High, John Burroughs and Bellarmine-Jefferson, she said.

She spent about 28 hours one week completing the piece for her advanced art class at Burbank High.

“I was looking through a book of photos of dying flowers shot by Irving Penn, and I thought they were so beautiful, so I decided to do my own interpretation,” Vay said.

Her art teacher, Loi Than, said he was not surprised by her accomplishment.

“I had Alexandra as a student for two years, and it is too bad that I didn’t have her for all four because she is so talented and always comes into class in a cheerful mood,” he said. “She has especially improved in painting watercolors, and this year she took it to a whole new level.”

Vay, who plans to attend Otis College of Art and Design in the fall, has always had aspirations to become a professional artist.

She is spending her summer vacation working on creating an art-related brand, which she describes as similar to the Paul Frank and Hello Kitty enterprises. She eventually plans to create her own line of comics.

She started painting at the age of 4, after her mother, Barbara, handed her a canvas.

“I am also an artist, so I decided to give Alexandra a canvas and acrylic paints one day,” Barbara Vay said. “I left her alone to do my own project, and when I came back she had a completed an entire painting. Gallery owners who had taken my work in the past looked at it and were impressed.”

Alexandra Vay’s most recent achievement is one of several. She recently won a nationwide contest sponsored by for her drawing of Fall Out Boy lead singer Pete Wentz playing the guitar. She was chosen to do the artwork for Burbank High School’s centennial celebration in September.

“I’ve never been able to stop doing art,” she said. “It was a hobby, and now it has grown to be so much more. It has become a part of my everyday life, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

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