Artist of the Issue: Kaya McCutcheon


Jason Upton, Sports Editor

Kaya McCutcheon has one of the more unique, as well as controversial, artistic styles you’ll find in Hellgate. “My artistic style is a little vulgar I guess, I do a lot of depictions of nudes, I draw a lot of naked people, also I do a lot of violent things” said McCutcheon. Despite some staff discouraging her bold drawings, she has kept her distinct style throughout her drawings.

The topic of censorship is a very polarizing issue around public schools. Just a few years ago, the Willard Wire published their controversial “Free the Nipple” issue that was pulled from publication. Recently, principal Judson Miller has been avoiding the controversy by taking down McCutcheon’s drawings that are put up around the school for her classes.

“I don’t know [why the drawings are taken down], they don’t really give me any reason. I put up my art because we have to for class and stuff and it’s always flagged and I think it’s because of the nipple thing. His [Principal Miller] only reason was that if people come into the school they would be like afraid and be like ‘oh is this what they’re teaching the kids?’. But he hasn’t really talked to me and given me any reasons, but I think that’s probably the only one.”

Still, McCutcheon sticks to what she likes to draw. “I just love being creative, being different. I like to express different emotions through art and it’s kind of like a feeling of feeling free.”

Kaya uses a style called ink wash to create her drawings, where you water down ink to a point “where it’s kind of like watercolor but more vibrant colors, giving it a wider range of colors.”

Kaya has brought a fresh perspective on art to Hellgate, with a bold style where she favors mixing nature with people. For example, she’ll put a deer head on a human body, or mix trees and skeletons. She prefers to draw more in the realm of realism, but still enjoys the occasional abstract drawing. Winter is her favorite season to draw, because “everything fits in with bone structure and stuff.”

Her favorite drawing she’s done so far was an enormous, almost life-sized, painting of a female and male both nude. The male had a flower head and the female had thorns as her head, while sticking close to the realistic side. Connecting back to her theme of mixing nature with people, the painting was displayed on stretched canvas. Not surprisingly to Kaya, the painting was flagged by the school.

McCutcheon believes in raising attention to the stigma against portraying nudity in drawings. “It’s kind of like a feminism thing I have” remarked McCutcheon.

As for whether censorship has progressed from the past, McCutcheon believes that we haven’t made much of an advancement. “It really depends on the person and the society they grew up in. I feel like it’s more strict to be honest now, because back then in schools you could draw nudes and stuff because that was not really a normal thing, but a thing that was really popular to draw. I think nowadays, it’s kind of seen as obscene, it’s not what you usually would look for.”

McCutcheon strongly advocates for an increased openness in what people will draw for the public. “Younger artists in this school, don’t be afraid to draw whatever you want, because even if it gets flagged, you won’t really necessarily get in trouble. I’ve never been in trouble, but they just take it down. Don’t be afraid to draw whatever you want.