Brittney Brunson of John Marshall High School

When Brittney Brunson was 7 years old, she wanted someone to draw her doll for her. The recent graduate of John Marshall High School had already asked her three older brothers.  It wasn’t until she asked her father, Robert Brunson Jr., to draw it that her passion for art was born.

“My brothers couldn’t do it the way I wanted them to, so I asked my dad to do it and I saw how he could do it. I wanted to be able to draw like him,” Brittney said. However, he couldn’t keep teaching her, because he developed arthritis. “He told me one day I would have to learn how to do it on my own, especially if I want it the way I want it. No one could make it the way I want it unless I do it myself.”

That lesson was the first step in a long journey of artistic expression for Brittney. She said she began drawing cartoons at first, figures like Charlie Brown that have no neck so it was easy to draw. When she got to middle school age, she said she began drawing from pictures. “You’d have to draw houses and venues. One picture that I drew was a portrait of Italy.”

Drawing venues was her favorite for a while until she started drawing portraits of people. Her great-grandfather died last year, and her father passed away this past March. She said drawing portraits helped her cope with the pain. “Every time someone passes away, that’s one of my best ways of closure. They knew how much I loved to draw and I would be able to give it to either the wife or the son of my relatives and it also made me feel better.”

Drawing also acted as therapy for Brittney. “With drawing, you don’t have to necessarily connect everything. It can be so abstract and so crazy, but someone will find it so beautiful. I find it therapeutic, because art has so many meanings that I can basically draw a circle on a piece of paper and no one will understand what it means, but there will be so many different meanings to it. That’s the one thing I like about drawing, that it’s not completely defined.”

It’s because of this passion and the inspiration from her father that Brittney will be attending Old Dominion University in the fall with a major in studio art. She hopes to someday use her talents to become a teacher so that she can teach art to middle school students, where she believes the students are in the prime of their creativity.

While many people have told her that artists do not need to attend college, she’s going to ODU for her father, because he always told her that if she went to college she would be set for life. “Even though he’s not able to see me graduate or see me off to college, he pushed me far enough that I have the resources to be able to continue my education,” Brittney said. “He said at least get a degree. He said I could go off in the world and draw, but that I at least needed to have a degree so that he knows that I’m taken care of.”

2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Congratulations Brittney on your success! I remember teaching you art in elementary school at Ginter Park. You were very talented and a hard worker back then, too. I still remember you created a fashion design shoe that hung in a store at the Carytown Art Walk in 5th grade. It has been great to see you progress through the years as an artist. If you would ever like to come talk or work with my art students, please give me a call at Ginter Park ES. You would be a positive role model for them. Again, Congratulations and I wish you more continued success!

  2. Brittany my son has a passion for art. He would draw crazy pictures in Elementary school, and as you’ll do, hang them around the house. After completing high school he went to Hampton University, majoring in Business Administration w concentration in Marketing. He volunteered at the Museum on campus. During his senior year he was complaining that he wanted an internship in his major. I told him to just hold on something may come his way. He was still getting discouraged, but continued to work at the Museum. I told him that you never know where volunteering could go. He waited, and waited, and nothing came. Prior to graduation the Director of the Museum shared with him that they had gotten money to send a student to Italy for the summer to study the language and take Art History classes. And guest one, he was selected. All expenses paid. Follow your dreams, and remember the worthy advice of your Dad. He is with you always.

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