COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus native and recent UGA honors graduate has 5,000 reasons to celebrate.

Artist, Temple Douglass won second place in AXA Art Prize, winning a cash prize of $5,000.

Douglass’ passion for art did not develop overnight; even after securing a prize from the New York art contest, Douglass points towards her parents expressing thankfulness that her parents supported her devotion to art.

“I have always loved art for my whole life. I loved drawing and painting as a kid and my parents noticed that and they would kind of reinforce that by taking me to activities like the Columbus Museum or taking me to other museums to see artwork or give me books and games related to famous artists,” Douglass said.

“It kind of became my favorite thing as I grew up and I decided to pursue it as a career.”

After becoming a student at UGA, Douglass came across a professor who vigorously encouraged Douglass to take a chance by entering her artwork into the contest.

“I had a professor at UGA who has worked with the company and the contest before. So she every year would encourage us to apply and she would remind us when the application went out,” Douglass shared.

This was not the first time Douglass followed her professor’s encouragement to enter the contest.

“Last year I entered for the first time and then I got rejected. This year I had a class with that same professor again and she brought it up again, so I decided to enter another piece,” Douglass said.

Even with not making it into the contest last year, Douglass attempted to share her pieces with the New York art world. This year she entered her piece titled Taking Care of Myself. The piece presents the stages of depression that a person can endure from time to time.

Douglass conveyed the idea behind her piece and what she hopes other see when they look at her art.

“My art piece is a self-portrait and there are three versions of me in it. It’s meant to reference the cyclical nature of depression and show me in three different states of dealing with that. In the middle, there is a version of me that is lying on a couch and that is like the times when the depression is really bad and my energy is super low and I can’t really do much of anything besides just lay there,” Douglass shared.

When things get tough and life becomes difficult Douglass says that sometimes you won’t have the energy to deal with day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.

Another version of herself depicted in Taking Care of Myself, Doulgass portrayed how dealing with depression can cause daily responsibilities to pile up, she and others who have dealt with depression have to eventually pick up the pieces of themselves and get back to work and day-to-day life; because life can be difficult and does not wait for you when you’re not ready to resume daily life.

“Then in front of that version of me, there is another one sitting down kind of doing work on a computer and looking at some notebooks and she has kind of an annoyed expression looking at the one on the couch because she is having to pick up a lot of slack and do all the work that I’ve been ignoring when i couldn’t do much. All of those things are piling up so it shows that frustration with myself when knowing I have all of this stuff to do but not doing it in a timely manner because you know I couldn’t,” Douglass said.

In the third version, she shows how when experiencing depression, not only does it affect your productivity, but also personal aspects of your life like having a clean space. Besides dealing with a lack of organization or cleanliness, her third version depicts herself showing compassion to her past self by taking on the extra load of keeping her space clean.

“In the back, there is a third version who is cleaning up the room, and that one has a bit of a more compassionate expression because sometimes it is easier to feel compassion for the past version of yourself that can’t do anything. So she is just caring for her instead of being so annoyed or frustrated and just picking up the room because along with like work and professional responsibilities piling up along with personal things that can get out of wack, your room can be a mess and she is referencing both of those issues,” Douglass stated.

After successfully winning a prize and sharing her art with others, Douglass plans on pursuing a career in art and making a name for herself in the art world.

“I graduated in May and right now I’m planning to move in the beginning of next year. So I’ve just been working and I’ve been doing a lot of commissions for friends and family, which is how I’ve been trying to save money. I have also been working on trying to build a  social media presence and networking with other artists, connecting with other artists.” 

Along with future plans to become a professional artist, Douglass says she plans to use her prize money to branch off and start her adult life.

“I plan to move in January to my first apartment in a different state. So I’ll be using most of it to hopefully furnish my future apartment.”

With plans to share her art with the world, Douglass shared advice to those who are interested in creating art and pursuing art as a career.

“I think it’s really helpful to use the resources that you do have. So the internet is a great resource. Social media makes it super easy to have access to all kinds of art and artists. A lot of people are nice enough to reply to you if you have questions or if you’re looking for professional advice,” Douglass said.

Besides researching and learning about different forms and styles of art, Douglass provided what she says “is the most important” part of someone’s creative journey of becoming an artist…practice makes perfect.

“You can also get, of course, endless amounts of information from those sorts of things. And if you see different types of art or different subjects that you’re drawn to, you can narrow down how to research more artists to look at and just keep practicing, which is the most important thing,” Douglass stated.

While focusing on using the resources on hand, Douglass acknowledges that not everyone has all the available resources on hand or parents and family members to nurture and support their love for art and offers tips on how to learn more about art and develop your personal style.

“If you’re into books as well, that is also an amazing resource; just go to the library. That is a free option, where you can go and check out books about artists or if you just want to learn about certain styles or periods of art. Just picking up some books, even if you just look at the pictures it’s super helpful.”