A female astronaut hovers in space as she looks out into the black sky dotted with white stars. As she looks, the reflection of a half moon shines across her helmet. Sophomore Stewart Key depicted this out of this world image in a painting that was featured on NASA’s’s website for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Stuart and I are the only two students in our painting class, and I decided to interview Stewart about this achievement and her love of art.
Stewart says she’s been making art for as long as she can remember. “I started with those coloring pages you do when you’re little,” she says.
And art runs in her family. She says everyone on her dad’s side are artists. “My dad is a photographer. My dad’s mom is an artist too,” Stewart says. While many may not know it, Stewart has a twin sister, Campbell. And although you may assume Campbell is into the arts like her twin, that is not the case. “It’s funny,” Stewart laughs, “I look like my dad’s side and I like art similarly as they do. But my sister looks like my mom and is into horses, like the family on my mom’s side.”
When I first heard about Stewart’s painting being featured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, I assumed that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. But it’s really the subject matter, in this case, that reflects her long term interests. “Actually I want to do something with space like be a NASA engineer or work in space aeronautics. I am obsessed with the idea of space,” she says.
This makes the recognition from NASA even more meaningful to her. “I didn’t even win the competition NASA held,” she says. “But somehow my piece was still on the cover.”
Stewart has done work for other more Earth-bound organizations, including Chastain Park. She also has a “side job” doing commissions for people’s pets.
Lovett art teachers have played an important role in her development, especially Vernon Smith, Ashley Schick, and Amy Story. While she has loved doing most types of art, going all the way back to her coloring book days, she does have her artistic pet peeves. “I HATE printmaking with a passion!,” she says.
While art is Stewart’s main hobby, she makes room for other things like swim team.
Even though she spends many hours making art, and has now gotten recognition for it, she isn’t fond of her work. “I don’t like anything I make,” she admits, “I am a perfectionist.”
Whether Stewart’s talents came from her family or she is naturally gifted, her talent for art will take her far, maybe even to space where the face inside that NASA helmet might be her own.