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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Student Art Spotlight: Aya Zemrani

Aya Zemrani is a WCHS junior who has spent a majority of her life creating art. She has been very successful and now has popular social media accounts with over 500,000 combined followers.
Photo courtesy of Aya Zemrani
Aya Zemrani is a WCHS junior who has spent a majority of her life creating art. She has been very successful and now has popular social media accounts with over 500,000 combined followers.

For many WCHS students, art is a hobby that fills up their free time and exercises the creative part of their brain. But for WCHS junior Aya Zemrani, art is much bigger than a hobby: it is a passion. With her Instagram account @picklegrl at 191,000 followers, her TikTik account @picklegrrl at 348,000 followers and a newly founded non-profit organization, Art Hub, Zemrani has already made a substantial impact with art at only the age of 16.

Zemrani’s initial interest in art came from reading comic books at a young age. The interest in reading and observing the illustrations soon turned into a desire to replicate their bold colors and strokes. 

“In second grade, my friend and I decided to create a comic book series,” Zemrani said. “We made around five books and ended the series in 4th grade. That definitely got me into the habit of drawing every day and starting to seek to improve my art.”

This love of comic book animations inspires the style Zemrani uses today. Much of her art features groups of characters standing side-by-side while wearing outfits with coordinating color schemes in a comic animation style. Elements of fashion design are featured as the characters’ outfits are extremely unique and chic. Even the background of the images matches, typically consisting of patterns made with colors to match the outfits. 

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“My art style is a result of the combination of various influences like artists I follow on Instagram, Monet paintings, Riot Grrrl Zines and nostalgic shows that I used to watch when I was younger, like Winx Club,” Zemrani said. “I started drawing seriously when I was eight and really fixated on drawing people, and over time, I stylized it to reflect my interests.” 

Along with being a passion and a pastime, art has become a business for Zemrani. Her loyal social media followers watch and interact with all the art she posts, and their consistent engagement even led to an interest in purchasing the art. 

“I decided to start sharing my artwork on Instagram and TikTok in 2020 because I wanted to inspire other artists on the Internet in the same way I was inspired by artists I saw on the Internet when I was beginning to draw,” Zemrani said. “When my accounts started to gain traction, I was definitely really excited to find that my art was getting noticed and people actually enjoy what I do.”

Zemrani initially made art digitally but started experimenting with other mediums this summer. She started using oil pastels and soon realized the privilege that is needed to be successful in art. This led to the creation of Art Hub, Zemrani’s non-profit organization that makes art materials more accessible to the underprivileged.

“I found that I had the privilege of even being able to afford these art supplies to experiment with, the privilege of not having to really worry about financial costs when creating art,” Zemrani said. “That’s why I started Art Hub, to provide people the same ability to be able to explore the full landscape of art and one’s creativity without worrying about the cost of doing so.” 

Art Hub has become a big focus in Zemrani’s life. While still focusing on her art and social media accounts, she is dedicated to making her non-profit successful and reaching its goals. 

“The main goal for Art Hub is to be a multifaceted organization that not only provides free maker spaces for teen artists to create art without boundaries but also donates art supplies to shelters, nonprofit visual arts programs, and schools with low-funded arts programs,” Zemrani said. 

A significant focus has also been put on scheduling workshops where people can use art spaces and create for free. Zemrani has leveraged her social media following to gain traction on the Art Hub account and to connect with local art establishments to set up these pop-up events for the public. 

“We have scheduled our first free pop-up event for November 12 at VisArts Center,” Zemrani said. “You can sign up for free by filling out the Google form linked on our Instagram, @arthubmd. We are so excited to be getting to work and start making a change and so excited to see everyone at the pop-up!”

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About the Contributor
Claire Moylan, Photo Manager & Assistant Features Editor
Claire Moylan is a junior and a Photo Manager for the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism and she is super excited to continue working on the Observer. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer and lacrosse and spending time with friends.

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