FREDDY HEREDIA — Special to Southern News
Living in Cyprus, Greece until the age of 12, Maria Lappas had many pieces of art to be inspired by.
Having historic Greek art close to her home in Greece, it was her mother as well as current and former teachers that inspired her to venture down the road toward becoming an artist.
“First I got the passion for art from my mother, she usually paints landscapes, and ever since I was small I watched her,” said Lappas. “[I] wasn’t that interested until I had one teacher who shook me. You could say he inspired me.”
It was her middle school art teacher who first opened her eyes to the stories of the artist behind the painting and why they painted them.
Exposed to many different styles of artwork, Lappas decided to pursue a career in art education, wanting to pass the same information to high school students in the future.
Practicing many different styles of art growing up, painting and drawing are the two specific genres Lappas is most fond of.
Taking both education and art courses to fulfill her requirements, Lappas already knows exactly what she wants to accomplish with art; she wants to teach overseas and eventually go for her MBA. Lappas also said the professors at SCSU continue to inspire her with their own artistic abilities.
“I am flabbergasted at how much he knows, Wiley Carr, I’ve never met a teacher that actually knew how to make his own paper,” she said. “He is very knowledgeable in his field and I have a huge respect for him.
Another SCSU art student and friend of Lappas, Glenn Paskiewicz, has seen her work firsthand and believes one can see her passion through her artwork.
“She is really dedicated and focused. She wants to strive past her current point. Maria always wants to take things to the next level, but she is always having fun while she is doing it,” Paskiewicz said. “I can see her being a great teacher because she likes all forms of art and is grasping many types of art to educate to others,” he said.
Progression is a key factor in what Paskiewicz has seen in Lappas’ artwork, believing that as time goes on, so does her work.
According to Lappas, “having an open mind” is one of the most important characteristics for an artist to have, and without it, the fun of art would not be there.
As an artist, Lappas knows that there is always going to be criticism in the field of art but with support from the one who helped inspire her into the arts, her mother; Janet Lappas is behind her the whole way.
“I encouraged her all the time. I always knew that she possessed the talent and am very surprised she has developed her own style,” she said. “She has achieved a lot so far, she has learned not to be afraid, that there are no boundaries and she knows where her talents lie.”
When it comes to becoming a teacher, Lappas is aware of the challenge her daughter will have to confront when it comes to teaching high school students.
Lappas believes that you have to meet students halfway with respect and treating the students like adults, and her daughter has all the qualities to achieve what it takes.
“She’s great with people in general. I thought it was a good career opportunity. People have said negative things about it, but you have to do what makes you happy,” said Lappas. “If she achieves what she wants to do and she’s happy, then nothing else will matter. I am very proud of her.”