Aiden Itsalapron, 16, of Middleburg recently won a prestigious " program, which honors creativity in several artistic categories.
By winning a National Gold Medal it means his work was in the top 1 percent of all teen national submissions. His name will be published in the Scholastic Art Awards Yearbook 2020. His artwork can be viewed in the online gallery at artandwriting.org.
Aiden won in the category of Architecture and Industrial Design for a project called "Abandoned House." The work is evidence of his ability to see a structure as it exists in real life and recreate it with extraordinary detail.
"His art is completely handmade," said his mother, Casey Itsalapron. "Everything Aiden makes from scratch. Every tiny piece is applied by hand. It depicts an old home that has been abandoned. Most people might look at these old structures and ignore them, but to Aiden they are interesting."
He just goes out into the country, Casey said, and is fascinated by things that are falling apart.
Aiden uses photos he takes of abandoned homes and building and creates the 3D image. It is made of wood, plastic, paper, grass, paint, and many other art materials, to show every detail of how the place now looks. "He loves to show the details in something old and deserted, that others may disregard as ugly and no longer useful," Casey said. "Aiden has been great at art ever since he was young, and has kept building and refining his skills over the years."
"It usually takes me about three weeks to complete a project," he said on Tuesday — something that even Casey finds amazing.
Aiden is heading into 11th grade, lives in Selinsgrove school district, but attends PA Virtual Charter School. Although their address is Middleburg, they live in the country and fall into the Selinsgrove School District territory.
His mother, and teachers, first recognized his talent in kindergarten. "I thought he was good," Casey said. "But as a five-year-old, he was much advanced in his drawing skills over other five-year-olds."
Aiden first won a regional competition, held at the Everhart Museum of Natural History, before the national competition (held in NYC).
For regionals, he won both the Gold and Silver Keys for two of his works, the "Abandoned House" and the "Abandoned Gas Station" (in January 2020) in the category of Architecture and Industrial Design.
Although it is a bit too early to think about his future collegiate plans, Aiden said he would like to have some kind of a future having to do with architecture.