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Student Spotlight: Maddy Kemp

By: Lily Criswell and Tracy Truong

Maddy Kemp with her favorite piece of artwork

A common misconception about art is that it’s only found in museums and artifacts. However, art is a part of our daily lives – anywhere from the design of the chair you’re sitting on to the clothes you wear. Art is all around us.

Maddy Kemp, a senior at MMACHS, expresses her artistic abilities through the pants she wears.

She started drawing at a young age, using mediums like markers, paint, and eventually acrylics.

“I started first drawing when I was five, that's when it really sparked” she explained.

Maddy got her inspiration to paint on clothing from TikTok and pictures from Pinterest. “After seeing videos and pictures, I thought ‘well if you can paint that [on paper], imagine that being on something else.’”

Since then, Maddy has learned to paint on a vast range of textiles.

“I definitely do a variety of different clothing items like shirts, jeans, shoes, and even tote bags. It's so fun to customize different things to make them unique.”

Through trial and error, she has painted over 30 pieces of clothing both for herself and others. Maddy has even crafted her own creative process. The first step is looking for inspiration.

“I’m usually inspired by famous painters like Vincent Van Gogh, Bob Ross, and a couple of other top artists that I follow. I also scroll through Pinterest.”

A few articles of clothing decorated with Maddy's artwork

The next steps are to figure out what is desired and then Maddy envisions the final product.

“I ask what kind of colors they want. If they say ‘surprise me’ that’s a struggle because I don’t want to disappoint them. I like to know what I’m doing for them. I also like that it's free-range so I get to envision a picture in my head of what that person would wear or what they remind me of.”

To Maddy, the benefits were clear.

“I really love painting, but with MMACHS, you can't really do a whole lot of art and music. Having this hobby is my way of expressing that because painting is one thing that I really enjoy and love. It’s one of my outlets so it reduces a lot of stress and anxiety. In addition, I get to paint and listen to music at the same time,” expressed Maddy.

Her passion and enthusiasm never fails to lighten the moods of all those around her.

“What I love most about Maddy is her smile. She always has a smile on her face even when she feels the pressures of school and life. I love seeing the creativity she uses as she paints her own pants and shares her talents with her classmates. She has many talents and I'm grateful to have been a small part of her life” exclaimed Mrs. Hurst, MMACHS’s CNA teacher.

However, with so many benefits comes a few challenges along the way.

“I have to make sure the texture of the paint is perfect – not rugged or scratchy – and check that the colors are correct. It’s also difficult to find time to actually paint because it takes a while.”

Even with those challenges, she never lets them get in the way of her passions or interfere with her artwork.

For those of you who want to try painting on articles of clothing, Maddy has some great advice for you.

Maddy shared, “Do not beat yourself up about it. If it doesn’t turn out the way that you want it to the first time, definitely keep trying and don't stop. Express yourself. That's what it's there for. Have it represent you and what you love instead of just doing it for the trends.”


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