Matthew Powers isn’t what you would typically picture for an artist. This blue beanie toting, basketball shorts wearing Richland High School senior looks fresh out of a skater magazine. Don’t let his appearance fool you, however. This kid has an amazing gift.

Specializing in charcoal drawings and painting, Powers has entered numerous art competitions including the 2012 Washington State High School Art Show in Olympia, where he won top honors for his watercolor painting titled “Raining Ink”.

“I’ve grown up with art,” he said. “I have always been really creative.”

Powers said he got an early start in the business that also got him into some trouble when he was younger.

“When I was a kid, I got a hold of a spray paint can and went to town on the neighbor’s car and house,” he said grinning. “The neighbors weren’t too happy. My parents actually blamed it on the fact that I was an artist.”

Powers said he has taken art classes every year in high school, as well a couple of classes in middle school.

As for what he prefers to create, he said he loves drawing or painting anything that is creative and different - something that catches the eye.

One of Powers’ most unusual and innovative series of work is a set of paintings that he created using a pottery wheel. Using bright colors and the spin of the wheel, he was able to compose a circular blend of mesmerizing patterns and undertones that were transferred onto a selection of small, rectangular white-framed canvases.

Powers said he also enjoys creating charcoal drawings, some being almost larger than he is in stature.

One of his recent works, a detailed drawing of a grizzly bear that was created using white charcoal on a black backing, is large enough to engulf the almost four-foot wide length of a table located in the Richland High School art room.

Powers said there isn’t any particular part of the art-making process that he enjoys more than the other.

“I love the entire process of making it [art],” he said. “It is something that requires the use of the imagination and there aren’t any rules in making it.”

As far as how long it typically takes to finish a piece of art, Powers said it varies.

“Sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes it’s a week depending on the amount of detail,” he said.

Powers said he plans on taking his skill in art and putting it to use in the future. He plans on majoring in fine art in college.

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