Photo by Stephanie Xiloj

Karla Cardenas

Walking through the office, you have probably noticed art on the walls that looks quite different from the typical landscapes and floral patterns. The canvases with wrinkled old men or pudgy baby faces were created by Karla Cardenas, this year’s Excellence Award winner for Art. 

Senior and Art classmate, Esmeralda Lopez saw how Karla’s art evolved over the years. 

“When she first started drawing in her sophomore year, her creepy little art sketches, at that point they were just like literally lines,” Esmeralda said. “And then this year, I really got to see how she evolved with that. She’s definitely very talented”. 

To apply her passion for art to a career, Karla wants to become a videogame designer, where she hopes to be able to use her own artistic style without being restricted by an artistic curriculum. 

“I don’t want to draw art that pleases people,” Karla said.  “The only way I can do it my way is if I create my own stuff.”

Senior Christopher Guerrero, who has known Karla since 6th grade, has seen her grow more bold and confident.

“If she has an opinion, she’s not afraid to say it,” Chris said. 

Her confidence has developed through understanding that her grades do not define her success. When she found herself struggling with schoolwork, Karla became proactive in looking for help and preparing for the next challenge. 

“I’m not going to just sit there and be like, ‘Oh, I’m worthless,’” Karla said. “I would just tell myself, ‘Next time, I’ll try harder.’”

Karla will continue her academic and artistic journey at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she will major in Computer Science with a concentration in video game design.

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