Mammoth High School Senior Miguel Flores has won another prestigious art scholarship.
Flores, 17, was recently awarded an Academy of Art University (in San Francisco) scholarship based on work he did last summer when he attended the California State Summer School for the Arts program. The scholarship, will be shared with one other student, a music student from Carson.
Flores also received another scholarship, awarded last year for $40,000, which he can use to attend the college of his choice. That scholarship also came as a result of the program he completed last summer where he was one of three (out of 500 summer students) to get the scholarship.
One of Flores’ Mammoth High School teachers, Jennifer Wilson, told Flores about the program (and helped him to apply for it) after noticing the young man’s talent as an artist. During his time at the summer program, Flores said he heard about the Academy of Art University scholarship.
“I was really happy to hear about getting it,” he said. “I still don’t know what I am going to do, but I am glad I have this option.”
But it wasn’t exactly a surprise, he said.
“I knew they were trying to reach me because they have been trying to send me the notice in the mail for the last few weeks. For some reason, it couldn’t be delivered to my physical address,” he said.
“Finally, they just called me.”
Flores has been applying to art colleges—his top choice is School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He’s not sure yet where he will eventually settle, but he knows, no matter what, he will make art for the rest of his life.
“It’s just something I can’t not do,” he said. “It’s like breathing. I just have to.”
Driven in his earlier years by a love of all things underwater, especially mermaids, he drew and drew and drew, most of the time at his home in Mammoth, surrounded by his parents and brother and sister.
By the time he was in third grade, teachers began to notice his work.
“I drew a whale with two whales in its belly to illustrate a math equation in Ms. Barker’s class in third grade,” he said. “She really noticed that.”
He didn’t take any specialized classes, except required art classes, until recently.
When Flores was a sophomore, resource and AVID teacher Wilson realized she had a student with something unique.
“He has such a passion for his art,” she said. “I started watching him because he was good. And then I noticed he was more than good. I was a theatre major at USC. I know something of that passion and excitement for your art, when everything around you dissolves except the work you are doing. Miguel had that.”
Wilson guided Flores to apply for a summer art program at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.
He was accepted and what he learned and took away from the school changed his life.
“There were about 500 kids there, all in music, theatre, dance and the visual arts,” Flores said. “When I got there, the first day, it was pretty hard. I had never been in a big city like that, but within a few days, I loved it.”
He hadn’t always fit in, with his drawings of exotic and stunning female figures and his wild and intense line drawings in the often sports-dominated Mammoth scene.
Under the constant direction and guidance of the elite teachers in Valencia, with the friendship of other equally passionate artists, he blossomed.
“It transformed a sort of a misfit, an eccentric, into a positive thing,” he said. “That’s even what I do with my drawings.”
A sample of Flores' work. Photo/Submitted