Most people don’t realize who they are meant to be or what they are meant to do until later in life, if ever. However, Chloe Strickland, at just 17 years old, is not at all one of those people. A senior at Hilton Head Christian Academy (HHCA), Chloe has always had a natural pull, and instinctual tact for what art is; whether it be drawing, painting, designing, styling, photographing. She is the essence of what it means to be a natural. “I always have a vision—whether painting or styling a fashion shoot—I can always see in my mind how I want it to turn out,” Chloe said. To prove that, our cover piece for January, “Lily,” was Chloe’s first attempt at using oils. She strayed from her usual use of acrylics and it was a huge success.
Chloe’s talent already had begun to grow and thrive by age 10, preceding her family’s move to Hilton Head Island from Zionsville, Ind. In first grade, she received the award for Artist of the Year, which she said was the first time she began to realize how others perceived her art in such a positive way. She then began selling her pieces at age 12. “I would take old pieces of wood from a dumpster and paint some kind of picture on it. A fish, a sun, just small little pictures. Then I would take them to the farmer’s market with my mom and sell them. I have people who have come up to me recently, and say ‘I have your art hanging in my home from when you were just a little girl!’ That’s crazy to me,” Chloe said.
Although she admits being in the classroom can be challenging at times for her free-spirited artistic mind, Chloe said taking art with LouAnne Barrett, an art teacher at HHCA, has helped her to understand what comes natural to her and what things take a little more practice. “Some things you just have to do every day, just keep going back to it when it’s giving you trouble. I’ll ask Chloe all the time, ‘Where’s your sketchbook? Where’s your sketchbook?’ It’s about finding what inspires you, and how that in turn, feeds who you are and what you’re creating,” LouAnne said.
Last summer, Chloe took two classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in furniture design and jewelry making, deepening her appreciation for art in many different forms and levels. “They really made me realize what aspects of art I love the most, and what I’m able to portray through my art,” said Chloe.
A high school senior, Chloe has applied to a variety of colleges, several of which she said she chose because of the strength of their art departments. The list includes SCAD, Belmont, Vanderbilt and Pepperdine Universities. She will be among the first graduating class at HHCA to graduate with a diploma with distinction, majoring in art with a focus in wearable art.