Humans of ER: Michaela Pettersen

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Humans of ER: Michaela Pettersen

Sophia Leidy, Reporter

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“My first inspiration was this little redheaded boy named Keegan, I think this was in the third grade, and he was just so incredibly talented. He could draw anything,”  senior Michaela Pettersen said.

Pettersen has a passion for art that developed at an early age, and only grew from there. The thing that sets her apart from most people her age is that, for her, art isn’t just a hobby – it’s her job.

Flipping burgers, scrubbing dishes, working a cash register; almost any adult can look back and recall their very first job. Those minimum wage positions are practically reserved for high school kids, and they’re just happy to have some cash in their pockets. It’s not often that you see one who has bypassed this unspoken initiation to the working world.

“It’s really common to find artists online who will take commissions – they’re a personalized request that you pay for. I thought it would be a good way to make some extra money. It’s a nice feeling that other people think my art is good enough to pay for,” Pettersen said.

Not only is she selling her art online, but Michaela has been chosen as one of four artists to draw for Everfree Northwest, a popular convention in Seatac. As an illustrator for Everfree, she will be making artwork for the front page of their website, as well as for posters, badges, and books.

When asked what she does in her free time, Michaela said that art could be considered because it just doesn’t feel like a job.

“I like playing the ukulele, but I honestly don’t have a lot of time for anything but art – it’s my priority right now,” Pettersen said. “I used to be big into video games, but art is just such a huge part of my life. On average I’ll draw for at least seven hours a day, but it’s not uncommon for me to go ten or twelve hours.”

For all those skeptics out there that believe art can’t provide a stable income, prepare to think again. It was surprising to learn that Michaela averages $25 per drawing, and has been earning at least minimum wage. She allows the commissioner to pick their price based upon how much they can afford.

“It sounds awful, but it balances out because some people are very generous and others just don’t have the money,” Pettersen said.

Despite being so far ahead of the game and with a very supportive family, Michaela isn’t sure if she sees art in her future.

“I’m scared that I won’t enjoy art if I turn it into a career, but at the same time, I’m more motivated to draw than I’ve ever been before,” Pettersen said.

Michaela Pettersen is an otherwise “normal” student who found her own source of income in an unconventional way. She has achieved the dream of many adults: to turn her passion into a paying job. Despite the summer being over, and having less time for art, Pettersen is determined to continue with her commissions and see where it takes her.

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