Art-Tastic: Backlund hopes to work in art therapy


rtists have been painting self-portraits since brushes have first been applied to canvas.

But Princeton High School senior Trista Backlund is taking that concept to extremes this trimester.

For an art student who took her first art class when she got to high school, a self-portrait might sound like a daunting task.

But Backlund is taking her assignment to the extreme. She’s currently painting a 32×46 portrait of half of her face. It’s an assignment of her independent study class and she figures her creation will take until the end of the semester to complete. Her goal is to create feeling through art with her bigger-than-life painting.

Backlund considers herself an impressionist artist with a style of painting that follows that of Van Gogh.

“My art is not finely defined, but those who see it still get it,” she said.

While Backlund had no formal art lessons until reaching high school, she has considered herself an artist since she was a young child.

“I always wanted to make stuff,” she said.

As a child it was her stepmother who provided inspiration for her art.

“When I was a little kid my stepmom drew horses and she was really good at it,” Backlund said.

“I kept trying to compete and as I tried to do better than her I just kept drawing over and over,” she said. One of her more recent art projects is a series of cows.

The future is expected to involve art, Backlund says.

She hopes to attend the University of Wisconsin-Superior to study art therapy.

“I want to do counseling through art,” she said. “I hope to work in a school with special education students.”

“Everyone can be good at art if they try,” Backlund said.

She hopes to share that with others through art therapy and spread the gift of art for years to come.