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Get to know the M'Art'ch Madness 2024 Bracket Winner

In the recent M’Art’Ch Madness bracket hosted on our Instagram (@artsforlifeutah), Ainslee Nylund’s work titled “Interlocked '' was selected as the winner!  Ainslee is a 17-year-old Junior attending Lehi High School. Arts for Life Utah interviewed Ainslee to learn more about her and her artistic process. Read the interview below. 

Get to know Ainslee and “Interlocked”

My name is Ainslee Nylund and I was born and raised in Lehi, Utah. I enjoy traveling and exploring new areas around the country. I love training German shepherds and learning ASL. Art has always been a big part of my life. I don’t have a specific art medium I stick to since I prefer experimenting and mixing media to create new artwork. Some of the mediums I’ve worked with so far consist of making jewelry, sewing, ceramics, woodworking, floral design, tie-dye, makeup, and crocheting. I also play a handful of instruments, such as guitar, ukulele, omnichord, and kalimba. 

This piece, “interlocked”, shows two people standing, who are fused by their heads, arms, and one leg. I created this piece using green floral foam, coated in metal paint. I used a steel-infused paint and then sprayed it with an oxidizing patina, as well as rust. The colors shift between dark green, brown, and bright orange. I used a fettling knife to carve out the negative spaces between the arms and the base. Then I used my fingers to blend out the rough edges. I made a base for the sculpture with foam and used E6000 to adhere the two pieces together. 

My favorite part of this piece is the color scheme. The way the paint oxidized and rusted turned out really interesting. It feels really organic and natural too, with the different hues of green, brown, and orange.

I did not know exactly what I was going to make at first. I created this piece for a sculpture class I took last semester, with Mrs. Anderson, who is an extremely talented teacher at Lehi High School. The goal of this project was to make an idea or object look more abstract and organic. So after a few options, I chose to fuse two people together.

I didn’t originally plan to have the two people elevated on the base. Once I started carving out the platform beneath the people, I realized that it would look a lot better if they were on a sturdier and taller base. Also, when I first sprayed the patinas, I didn’t know how the colors would turn out. Especially because my results weren’t immediate after I sprayed the patinas, I had to wait in suspense for the outcome of the colors. 

Opening up the negative spaces within the sculpture was pretty difficult. I had to stab a small hole into the foam and use the knife, and my fingers to widen the cavity. The E6000 also struggled to stick to the foam, so I had to hold the two pieces in place until the glue was more firm.

Ainslee working on "Interlocked"

What is art to you?

In my opinion, being an artist is having the ability to take an idea or image from your mind, and to find a way to portray it in a way for others to see and enjoy. Whether that may be a painting, music, or a sculpture, there are so many ways to portray a single idea. I think that art is both the experience of creating art and perceiving the works others create. Art is a way for us to show who we are, and to leave something behind to prove we were a part of this life.

I know art will always be a huge factor in my life. Art is in so many aspects of the world, and I’m extremely grateful that I get the ability to experience it all. Art is like the glue that bonds our community together. We can all create art to enjoy and view together. We can trade our works with those we love. We can teach each other new media and share our knowledge. The experience of sharing is what I love about art. 

It’s easier for me to connect with people who are more creative and artistic. With people who have passions and goals. I think it’s beautiful how we are all so different, but we all get to share our love for art.

I’ve grown closer with my family and friends through art. I’ve learned so many wonderful things from numerous people in my family. It’s very important for me to spend time with the people I love. I enjoy creating art with people, especially since we’re all making memories through our art.

View some of Ainslee’s other artworks here!

What was your inspiration for this piece?

Since I made this piece in a sculpture class, part of my inspiration comes from Mrs. Anderson for providing the medium. I thought that it would be interesting to transform the human figure into something more abstract. When I first started planning my piece out, I was certain that I wanted to do something with the human form. But originally, I was only planning on having one person in the sculpture.

A lesson I took away from this project was the fact that unplanned art is beautiful. I loved the anticipation of how my piece would turn out. It’s good to have surprises in your work. Mistakes are bound to happen, because no one is perfect, and that’s what makes all of us human. Life can be chaotic, but we are meant to learn and grow from our mistakes. 

Another lesson that I took with me is that no one should settle for less than what they deserve. We all have our special person, and they will know your worth. When we find who we are meant to be with, we will know it’s them. We all deserve love, and we all deserve happiness. If they don’t treat you the way you are meant to be treated, they aren’t really the one for you. If they wanted to be kinder to you, they would. If they won’t put in the time or energy for you, they shouldn’t get the gift of your presence. No one should be stuck with someone who treats them poorly just because they have yet to find the one they are truly meant to be with. We all have our one and only, we just have to be patient. It will be worth all of the wait in the end. 


It's evident through Ainslee that the power of creativity and artistry extends far beyond mere expression—it's a catalyst for connection and understanding. In the M’Art’Ch Madness contest, we are privileged to see a great diversity of artwork from students all over the state of Utah. Regardless of skill level, medium, or subject matter, art gives us new ways to connect with one another. We are excited to see what Ainslee does next with her artistic talents, you can find her on instagram @ainsleenylund

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