Jayden Thomas, 14, has been an artist since she attended elementary school in Brainerd, where she lived with her mother, who was also an artist. Jayden would constantly doodle in notebooks and even had a few of her cartoons published in the school newspaper.
When Jayden was 10 years old, she was adopted by her grandparents, Eleanor and Carl Thomas, who lived in Coon Rapids. Eleanor said she and her husband continued to support and encourage Jayden’s artistic abilities.
For Christmas 2015, the Thomas’ gave their granddaughter a painting easel, canvas and paints. Jayden got to work right away, creating her first painting with them that night. Her great-aunt later bought it.
“I loved painting right away,” Jayden said.
“She has a natural talent,” Carl said. “It’s God given.”
In the past four years, Jayden has created over 100 pieces of artwork. She does all of her art in a studio at her Coon Rapids home.
“I’m always going to the store to get more canvas and paints so she can do more,” Eleanor said. “Jayden is always in her studio painting and she’s always excited to show us everything she makes.”
Jayden recently started showing and selling her artwork at a few events, including the Uptown Art Fair. She has sold or given away dozens of her paintings. All proceeds raised go directly back to Jayden. This weekend she’ll display her artwork at the inaugural Transformative Circle Youth Art Fair.
Jayden mainly works with acrylic paints but has also used oils and watercolor. A self-taught painter, she received guidance from her grandfather, who’s also an artist.
“I always encourage her to just be herself in her art and not copy anyone else,” Carl said. “She really hones in on what she does best and has developed her own style in her paintings. Each painting has her own fingerprint on it.”
Jayden said, “I paint from the heart.”
Jayden said the things she sees and hears around her often inspire her paintings.
“Whenever I listen to music, read a book, watch TV or just think of something that hits your mind, I always wonder what that would look like,” she said. “That’s what drives me to continue painting. Each painting I make was inspired by a song I listened to, a book I read or a television show I watched.”
Jayden said she encourages other young artists to share their artwork.
“Your imagination is the best thing you have, so use it a creative way to help people feel better and happy about themselves, and then you’ll feel the same way,” she said.
Anyone interested in seeing art by Jayden and other young artists can visit the Transformative Circle Youth Art Fair this weekend.
The event runs 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Riverwind Community Building, 2701 Northdale Blvd., Coon Rapids. To learn more, visit bit.Ly/2M8yEHU.