16-year-old Reno artist receives national recognition

RENO, NV (KOLO) 16-year-old Savanna Guidas unzips her portfolio to open up her world of animals, eyes and owls.

“Blending in with the camouflage and everything. Blending in with people--blending in with others,” she says of an owl drawing for which she won national recognition.

She says she started drawing at about age ten, when anxiety started to get the better of her. That anxiety has only intensified, and with it, art work so precise it looks like a photograph.

Only it's done with paper and colored pencil.

“I think anxiety is a growing problem,” she says. “And I think I kinda want my art to draw attention to that.”

Home schooled for a time, she now goes to Reno High School, where she attends regular classes. But that anxiety is never far away, and sometimes during math or another difficult subject, she pulls out her sketch pad to listen but to also quell her uneasiness. She wants teachers to know she means no disrespect.

“I am doing something that helps me, and helps me calm down. And makes me feel a lot less stress and I think that is productive,” says Savanna.

She has names for, and stories about, each one of her drawings. She says she loves to draw eyes.

“Eyes are mysterious,” she says.

A self-portrait focuses on the eyes, but the face and the light that reflects off of it as well.

Animals are her companion as she brings them out from her sketch pad.

“Love cats, all kinds of cats, and I decided to draw this and name it "Innocence," she says as she points to a drawing of a baby cheetah.

A display of her artwork recently won 17 awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest.

Her teacher says they've done the research, and can't find anyone who has received so many Key Awards at one time.

For someone so soft-spoken, at times anxiety-ridden, it's tough to understand why she would want her work to be judged in such a public light.

“If I can kind of be like this owl, and blend in with others while still standing out…,” she says referring to that oil painting once again.

We leave her to her pencils and pad and with anticipation wait for her next thoughtful, masterful, work of art.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019