Popcorn and theater tickets. Kenosha’s red lighthouse with white sailboats skimming the waves. A skateboard transformed into a giant pencil.
These are a few of Theo Guyton’s favorite things.
They are also a few of the featured elements in an artwork piece created by Guyton, which has brought the 17-year-old national recognition.
Guyton, a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha, has been named one of six grand-prize winners in a national Chips Ahoy and MyFuture design contest. MyFuture is a program initiative established by the national Boys and Girls Clubs.
Guyton’s design will adorn limited-edition packages of Chips Ahoy cookies rolling out next May. It was one of three submitted to the contest by the club’s Teen Center members.
The contest came to the attention of Boys and Girls Club staff a couple months ago.
“We like to keep our eyes out for (creative) contests to engage our club members,” said Jason Justus, BGC Kenosha director of teen services.
Current contest rules required that artists depict a vision of their Boys and Girls Club, Justus said.
Artistically inclined, Guyton was a natural choice to enter the contest, Justus said. Being asked to participate was an honor and a surprise, said Guyton.
“I walked in one day and Jason said, ‘I’ve got this assignment for you for a contest,’” Guyton recalls. “He said it needed to be colorful with ‘all the things that are important to you.’ My mind was blown away.”
Guyton set to work immediately.
“I put in everything that’s important to me and to Kenosha: boats, water, movies, popcorn,” he said. “Also, I love to fish.”
While the finished piece looks like a painting done in watercolor and perhaps acrylic, it is actually a montage of images created through a method using a hybrid of traditional media and digital technology.
Assisting Guyton with the technological elements of the project was Miguel Suarez, BGC tech lab instructor.
“I helped him turn his art into a digital file and manipulate all of the images in the iPad,” Suarez said. “I took a photo of his drawing, put it into a vector file, and then he used Illustrator software and digital tools.”
With those tools, Guyton accented his images with digitalized markers, paints, crayons and oil pastels.
Subjects that matter
Guyton started with charcoal drawings he had in a sketchbook. What began as two people hugging shifted to the person hugging a skateboard and eventually hugging a giant pencil.
Other favorites joined the design, including abstract images of a soccer ball, a piano keyboard and music notes. A giant “thought bubble” ties the images together.
The lively combination of vibrant images and colors obviously caught the eyes of the judges.
In addition to the honor of having his art adorn cookie packages, Guyton was awarded his own digital art tablet and a pair of earbuds.
“The club also received $2,500 from the cookie manufacturer, some of which we will use to purchase more tablets,” Justus said.
When it comes to the arts, Guyton’s interests are several, he said: “I love drawing and dancing, singing and making music. I find myself drawing at least 10 times a day.”
He pursues most of his favorite activities at the BGC, he added.
Guyton said his family and friends are excited for him.
“Everyone in my family are artists,” he explained.
Regarding his drawing skills, Guyton said: “I just think about something and draw it.”
A junior at Bradford High School, Guyton says he would like to pursue a career as an architect.
“This (award) is very exciting,” Justus said. “We will urge Theo to go into graphic design (in college).”
Having his work recognized has given Guyton new confidence with his art, he said.
“I feel like this is opening up doors to me,” he added.