Student Spotlight

Alex Kalil ’09 describes himself as “just a creative kid who usually has his head in the clouds.” On the other hand, I would describe Kalil as a creative kid who is terrifically passionate about his love of art, not to mention extremely talented at what he does. Kalil has been artistically inclined since he was little, constantly doodling, drawing and painting. He was raised in North Andover, attending the local public schools until Phillips Academy. His teachers have always made remarks about the eye-catching doodles that tend to accompany his work. Being the oldest of three children has been an interesting experience for Kalil. His younger brother Christian, sixteen, is more of an athlete, and while they’ve always been compatible, their sister, Felicia, tends to understand Kalil more. She’s not an artist, but her mind works in ways similar to Kalil’s. Having the same bedroom for the last fourteen years has been a fine way for Kalil to take his whimsical ideas and bring them to life. His room is filled with tons of random stuff: a live tree, a plush camel, thirteen blankets of various sizes and comfiness, a giant stuffed lizard and the bottom half of a mannequin. He thinks of his room as the physical equivalent of his thoughts, and the interesting décor has the neighbors commenting. Kalil admits to being a very right-brained person. He’s much more gifted artistically and creatively than he ever hopes to be mathematically. At Andover he has struggled through every term of math, while he can effortlessly pull a six in an art course. When he first began at Phillips Academy, he denied his artsy side; he felt, and still feels, that art is less valued here than more scholarly courses. However, as time passed, he learned to embrace his artistic side and care less about how others feel about what he does. As the new year unfolds, Kalil has high hopes for the future. He’s taking Art 500, a yearlong AP course that finishes with an Individual Project (IP) in the spring term. In addition, he plans to take a few terms of Video II, in which he will be producing his own films. He also intends to enroll in Art History. Kalil’s dream school is Rhode Island School of Design, where he hopes to be able to push his work to another level. Over the summer, Kalil produced a number of unique pieces. The project he’s most excited about is a one-of-a-kind pair of Converse he designed and created. He’s sure we’ll all take note of them when he begins wearing them around campus. In addition to the shoes, he’s worked on many multi-media pieces. Kalil looks for inspiration almost everywhere, from a piece of lint to art around campus to highly acclaimed artists. A few of his favorites are Wes Anderson, a film director, Audrey Kawasaki, a young woman from Los Angeles who works with oil paints and wood and Banksy, a British graffiti artist. Kalil aspires to be an influence in another young artist’s life one day. A bit of advice from Kalil: “Don’t give a shit about what people think of you or your work.” Kalil is also involved in the music scene on campus, mostly playing guitar. In the past years, he’s preformed in a number of coffee houses, including the Abbot Cabaret last January, in which he performed “The Prettiest Girl in the Room” with Michael Scognamiglio ’10. This year, he plans to sing in addition to playing the guitar. In his mind music and art are inseparable. According to Kalil, any way you feel comfortable expressing who you are and how you feel is art.