KC teen artist with ‘eclectic’ style wins Gold Key Award, continuing on to national competition

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Lia Holman describes her art as "different" and a bit outside the box -- and that's exactly what earned her the Gold Key Award.

"I wanted it to be kind of overwhelming," the Winnetonka High School senior said.

A photograph she took of a man in a bathtub, eyes closed and covered in jewelry, earned her the award, which is the highest honor presented by Scholastic Arts in the Missouri Art Region.

"I actually used a red light in this photo to get different variations of colored light," Holman said.

The Winnetonka senior takes advanced placement studio art and has a focus on "the juxtaposition of synthetic materials on the human form," she said. It's reflected in most of her pieces.

"I like the uniqueness in my photos," she said.

Lia Holman

She uses uncommon materials to enhance her images -- things like cotton candy or styrofoam. These props are then glued to the models in her images.

"She just has a really good eye for composition and for lighting," Holman's studio art teacher Susan Sulzen said.

Sulzen said Holman just gets it.

"She's always been very dedicated to her art," Sulzen said. "She puts her whole heart into it."

Holman describes herself as eclectic, motivated and determined. She said she's always been artistic and said her family is the reason why.

"I was born into an artistic family," the Winnetonka senior said.

Her mom is a former model. Her dad, a musician. She also has three sisters involved in the arts.

Holman plans to go to college for business and marketing and then, one day, open her own studio.

The metro teen will be honored March 24 at the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work that earned her a Gold Key Award now heads to the national competition where Holman will be judged against 90 of the country's top pieces.

If you know a young achiever who is 18 years old or younger and is doing exceptional things, FOX 4 wants to hear from you. Nominate them here.