Young artist Oscar Gaytan could either become a famous architect or do a 180 and leave the art world behind to be something like a neurosurgeon. Either way, you can expect him to make something of himself.
At least that's what Michel Belknap, art teacher at Red Bank High School, said of her "talented" student.
"He's just a conscientious, brilliant kid," said Belknap. "I expect we will see great things from him in the future."
The upcoming high school junior recently entered the Hamilton SHINES: Please Don't Litter art contest in early May, beating out hundreds of other students with his billboard design. The contest, an initiative by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, awards winners from five different divisions: elementary, middle, high, private and home-schooled students.
Gaytan's design can now be seen on a billboard along Dayton Boulevard at Sweetland Road.
"He had such a clear-cut idea [for the design]," said Belknap. "What is cool about his concept is he took it further - he used litter to spell the word 'Litter.' That's graphic design; he really is an illustrator."
"I thought it would be something different, something to grab your attention; an allusion, so at first glance you may not get it," added Gaytan.
He never would have known about the contest if it wasn't for his art class with Belknap, he said. She often gives her students the opportunity to compete in art contests in the area, she said.
"I was like, 'You know what, I might as well enter,'" said Gaytan. "It would be something new, something fun. Winning was a shock."
He owes his love of art to his dad. When he was younger, Gaytan would ask his father to draw pictures of buildings and cities for him, but when his father had to work, Gaytan said he learned to draw on his own.
"It's good to express yourself in art, because the way people paint what's on their mind ... just by seeing art you can see what type of mood someone's in," he said. "It's a way people can come at a moment."
Since he still has a couple more years left in high school, Gaytan doesn't know yet what his plans are for college and beyond, he said, though he is interested in pursuing architecture and building design.