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Malyssa Ollar

1405

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am a high school senior at Gibbs High, participating in the Pinellas County Center for the Arts, pursuing art history and painting. I am incredibly hardworking, persistant, and put my best foot forward in everything I do!

Education

Gibbs High School

High School
2020 - 2024
  • GPA:
    4

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Visual and Performing Arts, General
    • Architectural History, Criticism, and Conservation
    • Visual and Performing Arts, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Arts

    • Dream career goals:

      Art Historian, painter

    • Cashier

      Publix
      2022 – Present2 years

    Research

    • Archeology

      AP Capstone Program — Researcher, writer, editor
      2022 – 2023

    Arts

    • Gibbs High Mural Club

      Painting
      Various community murals
      2021 – Present
    • Pinellas County Center for the Arts

      Drawing
      2020 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      National Honor Society — Member
      2023 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      National Art Honor Society — Member
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      National Junior Honor Society — Member
      2020 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      Tarpon Springs Library — Created crafts and set up free activities for children
      2021 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Entrepreneurship

    Natalie Jude Women in the Arts Scholarship
    My favorite piece is Routine. As a plus-size woman, I feel that makeup is one of the only ways I garner respect and 'redeem' my physical appearance. My morning routine is tailored to the application of makeup and drives the rest of my day. The use of pink throughout this piece represents traditional femininity and the 'standard' for girls. In addition to pink, the use of embroidery for the flowers blends a traditionally feminine craft and the painting itself. Choosing lilies for the embroidery, I strived to showcase the idea that while makeup began as a mask for me, I am able to reclaim it and use it as an art form instead. Embroidery and sewing have deeply feminine roots, most of these trades being passed from mother to daughter, or grandmother to granddaughter. In my case, my grandma taught me to embroider when I was 7, and I fell in love with it. Using embroidery with this painting, I aimed to channel her grace into the flowers. Overall, my love for creating artwork has carried my grandmother's craft through time and allowed me to express my perspective on femininity and body image. Through the use of intimate spaces and moments, I hope to recount not only a universal morning routine for women but a universal moment of peace and understanding between women of all generations. Girlhood, over time, turns to womanhood and motherhood and allows us to share these intrinsic feminine experiences with our own daughters down the road.
    Lewis Hollins Memorial Art Scholarship
    One of my favorite activities when I was little was making things for my dolls; Clothes, furniture, accessories, and anything else I could think of. I grew up sewing, crafting, and finding artistic solutions to my doll-related dilemmas. As I grew further, my love for makeup triumphed over my miniature creations. Now growing into adulthood, my love for painting has been able to encompass everything I enjoyed doing for my dolls and with makeup. I can express myself however I choose and allow people to resonate with me in ways that I can’t verbally. I started drawing at age 11 to escape the abusive household I was contained within; My small IKEA desk, completely covered in Sharpie stains and colored pencil scratches, was my Eden. I was able to entirely absorb myself in my world while I was drawing; It was something I was good at and something that was uniquely my own. Growing away from the abuse has allowed my art to further itself from being just an escape and flourishing into a miraculous form of therapy. Although my artistic passion was founded out of hostility, I feel that I owe something to my younger self to use this talent for the best and continue creation. Alongside growth, I aspire to honor my grandmother through the use of embroidery in my artwork; Something she taught me when I was little. I have carried a love for embroidery in my back pocket since she taught me how to do it, and learning to create mixed media works with embroidery changed my perspective on art making. Over the course of my creative journey, I've learned so much about myself and the way that I see the world. Throughout my art, I want to explore my anxieties as a result of the abuse I experienced, but not directly concerning that. I often feel disconnected from myself or that I am seeing myself in the third person, and not participating in my own life. I've gathered so much new knowledge in my experiences with art in various environments that I feel equipped to handle my mental health issues from an artistic perspective in the future. I am always interested in hearing the stories art must tell, and how those stories reflect the artist behind the canvas. As a student, I aim to gain as much perspective as possible and continue learning about the world around me, allowing me the most well-rounded version of myself.
    Marques D. Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship
    My worst fear is the color white. Whenever I see a crisp white wall or a freshly primed canvas, my brain runs marathons, pondering the possibilities for it. My compulsive need to saturate every surface with color has transformed my walls into a vivid mosaic of artists and albums, ones I cherish daily and will never tire of. My computer, too, is adorned with a vibrant array of stickers and reprints I’ve collected over the years, creating a collage of my soul to bear outwardly. I fear white because a blank canvas is the lack of art, the lack of a story, and a silence that is deafening. Creativity can be a space for safety- an Eden- that we can use to look deeper into ourselves and reflect on where we are and who we will become. Each piece of art, regardless of its form, reveals a story—a story of its creator who also grappled with that daunting white canvas. To me, art is a repository of stories. I love learning about art because it gives me a reason to listen to these stories. The day I watched my mother cry marked the genesis of my story. Muffled arguments behind closed doors, vibrations of slammed surfaces under my feet, and the distant rumble of the Hummer turning over in the driveway; A cycle repeated for years that finally culminated in his definitive departure. The thick Florida air clung to us as we strategically stacked boxes into the truck, our faces streaked with salty tears. While the separation initiated a new chapter in my life, I was still haunted by neglect for myself. After years of hiding in a sketchbook, counting the thuds of each boot under the tile, I didn’t know how to cope with my increasing anxiety, even though my stepdad was gone. At 11, drawing became my refuge from the chaos; I’d lose myself while I scratched away at a piece of paper and felt the Sharpie bleed through into the plywood. Now, painting rectifies these issues for me. My narrative isn't depicted through drawings themed on divorce or sculptures symbolizing upheaval. Instead, it's reflected in how I wield my brushes, how I capture my essence in paint, and how I resort to creation as a coping mechanism. I've maintained this momentum of self-reflection, both academically and artistically, and I intend to persevere through both my anxieties and education. Since my revival, I’ve been able to emerge from behind the sketchbook. I’ve won numerous art awards, participated in countless shows, and been able to collaborate with peers who provided me with an immutable gratitude for life. In coming closer to myself after the separation, I see the world around me in a different light, one that shines on the beauty of being broken. Getting rid of a canvas’s white means covering up silence and rejoicing in the noise that paint offers, creating a symphony of stories that facilitate connection. My connection to art is the growth it offers in a physical form; Having the ability to brandish a palette and paint and use it to externalize introspections has helped me gain a sense of self again and endure my unease. My eagerness to re-learn myself after the separation has allowed me to prosper in new environments rather than sit idle and participate in my life again. Painting has given me a medium to experiment persistently and encourage myself to see things through different perspectives while I continue learning. Through art, I echo my perceptions of the world around me, and what it means to be only human.
    Catherine (Kay) Williams Memorial Arts Scholarship
    Winner
    Title: Routine Medium: Acrylic paint, embroidery thread Size: 3' x 5' Makeup is an integral part of girlhood. Whether or not you were allowed to wear makeup as a young girl supposedly defined the woman you would become in the future; Makeup too young meant you were trying too hard, but makeup too late meant you were unattractive. Growing up, I dug through my mom's collection of tubes and palettes, hoping to find something I could return to my room with and claim as my own. As a plus-size woman, I feel that makeup is one of the only ways I garner respect and 'redeem' my physical appearance. My morning routine is tailored to the application of makeup and drives the rest of my choices for the day. The use of pink throughout this piece represents traditional femininity and the 'standard' for what girls like. In addition to the pink, the use of embroidery for the flowers blends the femininity of the craft and the piece itself. Lilies represent innocence, but also rebirth. In choosing lilies for the embroidery, I strived to showcase the idea that while makeup began as a mask for me, I am able to reclaim it and use it as an art form instead. Embroidery and sewing have deeply feminine roots, most of these trades being passed from mother to daughter, or grandmother to granddaughter. In my case, my grandma taught me to embroider when I was 7, and I fell in love with the craft. Through my paintings, I try to hold all that she has given me in my heart and display the love I have for her onto my canvas. In using embroidery with this painting, I aimed to channel her femininity and grace into the flowers for the final outcome. I feel that blending these two differing mediums of creativity has opened doors for me to express my unique perspective on traditional feminine roles and stereotypes. Overall, my love for creating artwork has carried my grandmother's craft through time and allowed me to express my perspective on femininity and body image. Through the use of intimate spaces and moments, I hope to recount not only a universal morning routine for women but a universal moment of peace and understanding between women of all generations. Girlhood, over time, turns to womanhood and motherhood and allows us to share these intrinsic feminine experiences with our own daughters down the road.
    GRAFFITI ARTS SCHOLARSHIP
    I am from the California central valley, a spot that is overflowing with graffiti work. My mom always told me it was wrong for people to tag up and paint on these walls, the sides of train cars, and anywhere else. I saw the work as beautiful. I wanted to paint on walls, use bright colors and throw paint around like these artists did. My favorite part was that everyone could see graffiti; You can't not look at it, it's in your face. During our move to Florida, the graffiti morphed into mural works. For me, murals were stories. Murals combined my love for reading stories with artwork, and I always felt attracted to immersive works. I knew around this time that I wanted to be an artist and work as these artists before I had, in large color palettes with larger-than-life subject matter. As high school approached, I was accepted into an art program that does extensive community mural work on the side. No matter how much I've grown and changed as an artist through my high school experience, I will always call Gibbs Mural Club my home. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to provide communities around me with beautiful artwork, especially as President of the Mural Club. My proudest project was our collaboration with Clearwater Community Sailing Center, in which my club painted sailboat sails to be used in sailing lessons for teens. This program was designed to help keep kids off the streets after school and get them into the water. Our original charity project has morphed into a full relationship between Gibbs Mural Club and Clearwater Sailing Center, and we've painted for them for the last two years and don't plan to stop anytime soon. This scholarship would allow me to learn and grow further as an artist, in my mural work and my personal work. My ultimate goal is to be the first in my family to attend college and create a career for myself. Mural work will always be near and dear to my heart, and no matter where I attend college I would love to start/participate in a mural community or club. I believe that murals, and the stories they tell, can bring people together in ways that museum galleries just cannot. Attending college will be difficult for me, as my single mother cannot help pay for much of my schooling. As I also work a job, it is hard to make time for my college preparations. This scholarship would tremendously help in making my college experience less stressful for me and my family, and allow me to fulfill my dream of attending college first generation. Mural work has become more accessible to me over time, but my love for the form has never changed. I've realized it's not only beautiful because I can't have it, but it's even more beautiful because I can do it. Mural work has shown me that my goals are attainable and that I can do what I put my mind to.
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Music & Art Scholarship
    Through my art, I want to make people with mental health issues feel seen. My art focuses on the vulnerability experienced in junction with mental illness. My work uses forensic science as a metaphor for this vulnerability because forensic science allows for all physical evidence to be laid out on the table, but you will never know what's going through someone's head. I believe that mental illness is a large issue that the world has been battling forever, but more intently since the COVID-19 pandemic. Having art in a gallery that doesn't simply display mental health, but the tribulations that come with it, is important in having people feel seen. I would love to be able to improve my art in an academic setting and learn from my peers to create work that positively benefits the real-world perception of mental illness as something beautifully unavoidable; Mental health should not be stigmatized or 'tip-toed' around, but rather embraced as something that needs to be discussed and considered in our modern setting.
    Hilda Klinger Memorial Scholarship
    Growing up in a completely divided household, I've always struggled with expressing my emotions in a meaningful way. Throughout my childhood, I was constantly being creative, anything to feel escape from the negativity of my household. I had a small nook in the corner of my room, my desk drawers spilling over with colored pencils and Crayola markers, spare papers and old tests I had doodled all over. That nook was my safe place; My little heaven on earth. Throughout the years, we moved several times, but that beat-up, Sharpie-stained desk was always there for me. Art has always been my saving grace, my escape to fall back on to this day. After finally leaving the negativity and abuse of my ex-stepfather, I realized that art was truly more than just an escape. My art had grown with me, shaped me, and kept me safe from my realities. My love of art was sowed in negativity but has bloomed into a beautiful flower. When I was young, I begged my grandma to let me sew with her. She is amazing at what she does, and I wanted to be like her more than anything. After she taught me to sew, I began designing clothes to fit my dolls; I wanted them to have the best of the best. I created everything for them; outfits out of scraps from my grandma's projects, furniture out of cardboard boxes, and food from Model Magic. Creating these stories and environments for my dolls to live in gave me the creative outlet I needed to escape. I wanted to live in the little world I created for my dolls because it was a world I had control over. My love of art stems from the ability to have control of my world. I have always connected with art history in a way that many people cannot. My love for storytelling and visiting imaginary worlds allows me to have this ability, and I am so beyond thankful for it. My favorite group of artists has always been the Post-Impressionists. Their ability to tell stories through mark-making is mesmerizing to me, and I've found myself drawn to those loud, thick brushstrokes of Van Gogh and Gauguin time and time again. Although this entire period of art history is my favorite, my favorite artist is Henri Matisse. Matisse is a French, Post-Impressionist painter that completely broke down the barriers between acceptable and unacceptable in painting. His scenes from everyday life can be deemed as 'bad' in a world full of hyper-realistic still lifes of fruit, but no one can deny the sense of safety in Matisse's loud color palette. Color has always been a large part of my love for art, and Matisse heavily valued color as one of the main reasons for creating. Colors allow you to escape your world of dulls and enter a world of cadmium and phthalo. His complete disregard for anyone telling him what he can and can't do with his art is a beautiful message to those who are using art as an expression of themselves. Art should allow you to do whatever you want with it; It is yours. Using art as an escape from reality draws me to Matisse in particular, but the complete ownership of the 'bad' art style, with unclear forms and seemingly meaningless designs, rounds out my love for him. He does not care what others think of his art; he creates solely to create. I aspire to be like this and continue to use art for myself rather than creating to please others.
    Isaac Yunhu Lee Memorial Arts Scholarship
    This piece is titled "Out in the Open". This piece contains all of my everyday items, including my work nametags, shoes, and keys. Painted as a crime scene photograph, it displays how I would be viewed if I were to ever be gone. This superficial reality of me poses questions about who I am on the outside versus the inside. The way I display myself is an outer shell of who I truly am, but you still cannot see my personality through my items. You may be able to tell someone's interests, "read them like a book", or judge them based on superficial items, but you will never truly understand someone's soul until you speak with them. This piece is inspired by these feelings of exposure and the anxiety associated with defining yourself. Because being a human is so complicated, you cannot boil yourself down to a few items. Thinking deeply about myself and meditating on who I want to be cannot be shown through these items or any of my items; My self-improvement, experiences, and relationships must be told through me, and cannot be described through superficial items. When you're young, you're told not to judge people based on how they look or their backgrounds, cultures, or religions. Items can hold such a strong significance to these things, to where we come from and can help us to understand how someone lives their life, their priorities, or their situation. The items in this piece describe my situation; My work habits consume a lot of my life, whether those habits be in art, job, or school. My everyday jewelry and phone tell a lot about me as well, the stickers and charms show my interests, displaying myself for strangers to judge me. My anxiety about my appearance and how I am perceived is portrayed through this piece. Allowing people to judge my interests, habits, and physical appearance has always been hard for me, staying inside and keeping to myself is why I began art in the first place. My casual interest in forensic science drove me to execute this piece the way that I did, with a crime scene photography style. Overall, this piece is the epitome of who I am in a superficial light, with all of my items defining me as a person. This all represents my greatest fears and best achievements; I am proud of who I have become artistically, academically and personally, but I am fearful of being judged by appearances and first impressions of me as a person.