About the Author
The 2023 Battle of the Teal showcase, “Best in Show” awardee Kenan Alsabony is an incredible young artist from Westlake, Ohio. We have the privilege of knowing his journey, impact and look forward to seeing how he contributes to the future.
Kenan’s winning piece (Dad, it’s your turn) was won over by our 11-artist adjudication panel. “I painted a father and son playing Monopoly, but the father had passed out. They are poor, as seen with the bills and eviction notice on the table. The father spends all the money on drugs and alcohol. Monopoly is a game centered around having money, a situation that directly opposes that of the father and his son.”
When I was in preschool, my teacher recognized my passion and would hang up my drawings. As a child, I was always so excited for my work to be recognized. I believe that’s where my true passion originated.
In the 4th grade, my class had a coloring contest, and I was not allowed to participate after my teacher saw my work. “I was confused: why wasn’t I able to participate?”. Years later, I realized this was a compliment in disguise. I worked on my craft for years up until the age of 10. All of a sudden, I lost my passion for art. I had no desire to do anything creative. It just wasn’t me anymore. When I was told that I should draw, I would always answer with, “There’s nothing to draw’’. For the next three years, I didn’t touch the art and did nothing productive. The few times I tried to do art, it felt unnatural and unappealing. Art had completely taken the backseat. This was a difficult time.
I would follow tutorials of renowned artists’ trying to improve. I loved drawing my favorite athletes, celebrities, and characters. This didn’t come without failure, though. There were countless times when I would draw people, and when I showed my brother, he struggled to know who it was. My opinion of my art depended on whether he recognized the subject of the drawing or not. I kept a majority of those drawings, and today, it’s something with which I can reflect upon how far I’ve come. It also is a way of motivating myself. Seeing the difference between my old drawings and my current ones makes me want to constantly improve.
A Reignited Passion
While playing video games was fun I didn’t have a purpose, and I didn’t feel accomplished. Overall, I wasn’t satisfied. When the pandemic hit in 2020, many people were forced to stay home with little to do. This was the best thing that could’ve happened in my artistic journey; my passion had been reincarnated as something I couldn’t have expected. All of a sudden I was drawing for hours, staying up into the night and working on my craft. From this point on, I knew I was going to pursue art very seriously.
Art has been a lifelong passion of mine, a creative outlet that allows me to express myself in ways words cannot. It’s my favorite way of constantly challenging myself as I’m forced to problem-solve and be more creative with each piece.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been working extremely hard every day trying to improve. I also started an Instagram account (@ka7_art), which helped me maintain my discipline. I’ve also been able to grow my Instagram to over 5,000 followers, and I enjoy sharing my work on a daily basis. Art is all I do at this point, and I put all my effort into it. I’ve sacrificed sleep as well as time with friends and family.
In return, I’ve won several contests and awards. Most notably, the 2023 Battle of the Teal contest. Winning was a huge honor and accomplishment for me, as many great artists entered this contest. Along with contests, I’ve also participated in several live shows. I was recently at Fan Expo Cleveland, where I was able to sell my art and connect with a lot of new people.
As of right now, my goal is to improve my painting skills. Painting is something I’ve struggled with all throughout my journey. I’ve found comfort with digital art over the past few years and have been hesitant about the challenge of painting. Recently I’ve learned to embrace this challenge with the help of my Art teacher Will Wilson. Now, I’m pushing myself to do not only paintings but more pencil drawings as well. I used to believe to be a great artist; you could just specialize in one area. Over time I’ve realized you must be well-rounded in all areas. This is especially important when trying to build a portfolio, as I’m doing at the moment.
I hope to build a well-rounded portfolio and attend an art college or university after high school. I feel it is a great place to learn and grow, and I could take my artistic journey to the next level. In the meantime, I will continue to work towards my goals and try to perfect my craft. I’m very grateful for the support of my family, friends, teachers, and more. I hope to make them proud as I continue to pursue my passion in the future.