Kalani’s Two-Time American Vision Award Nominee


Haruto Gannon

Kalani senior Karen Oh is a 2022 American Vision Nominee for the second time in her high school career. The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers only gives out five nominations in each state every year.

Haruto Gannon, News

Walking down a beach at Magic Island in 2020, with her shoes stepping on the soft, gentle sand, Karen Oh (12) decided to take a picture, just a nice view of the land that she chose to capture on a whim. Then, she decided to draw said photo for her art class. Little did she know that the drawing would win her an American Vision Award Nomination for the second time in her high school career.

Oh has been drawing since she was five years old, but she “never finished any pieces until freshman year.” And, with no extra classes taken, James Mosher has been her primary mentor for drawing and painting 1-3 and AP 2D design teacher here at Kalani High School.

Oh’s 2022 American Vision Nominee art piece, “Beach Pandemic.” Photo of Karen Oh’s art piece by James Mosher. (James Mosher)

“She emailed me recently just about that,” Mosher states. “She didn’t think that she would have realized the talent she had unless she took my classes. I mean, she surprised me with her talent. Many kids are like her where in [drawing and painting] 1 and 2 they’re talented, but I just don’t know how high they’ll get. She got really high.”

Mosher describes his classes as “cumulative and progressive,” so it was certainly “surprising” to both Mosher and Oh when Oh won her first Regional Scholastic Art Award as an American Vision Award Nominee her sophomore year.

Of course, winning a second time her senior year is an even bigger surprise to both of them, according to Mosher. To Oh, the two winning pieces were just another art piece inspired by a picture she just decided to take.

“It kind of just comes to me because if I look at something and it looks cool, then I just take a picture,” Oh says. “Sometimes I’ll edit a picture if I want certain things in it, or take some things out, but yeah. I usually just draw straight from the picture.”

Even though Oh says she thoroughly enjoys art and has many successful pieces, she is still undecided if she wants to pursue this path after high school. According to Mosher, many talented and successful student artists tend to “go a different route.”

“I’ve applied for some art schools and some art majors, but I’m mostly undecided for colleges because I still don’t know what I want,” Oh says.