Art by Celeste Obara

Celeste Obara

Celeste Obara ‘21 drawing animals, people, and landscapes in her art studio, bringing them to life with animation. From watching anime since she was a baby to composing large scale animations herself, Obara has always had a love for animations and art.

Originating in Japan, anime is well known for its colorful graphics, lively characters, and fantasy-like characters. Obara was quickly exposed to animation when she was born in Japan and through having family members who are retired animators.

“The culture of Japan influences my work greatly–both in my artwork and writings,” Obara said. “As a child, I frequently visited my aunt’s house to play with her. But since my aunt didn’t have children, there were no toys to play with. She used to work as an animator, so my aunt and I would always draw. Since then, I’ve been drawing all the time.”

By age three, Obara started drawing the characters she was watching on TV, which originally sparked her interest for animation.

“I was watching a magical-girl show and I thought, ‘I wish I could make something like that.’ That was how my love for anime also emerged,” Obara said. “My aunt and uncle give me a lot of good advice, feedback, and resources for drawing and animating which helped me get better.”

Nine years ago, Obara moved from Japan to the United States, which impacted her views on art and animation with the different styles between the two countries. This exposed Obara to a different perspective while at the same time she was learning English as her second language.

“It was a struggle at first to adapt to living in the United States,” Obara said. “English was my second language and it helped that I was still five. But my love for animation has never faded since then.”

Now, like any high school student, Obara has a packed schedule, and she struggles to find time to draw and create animations.

“I do everything I can to make time for myself, with at least one morning or afternoon open every weekend,” Obara said. “But even then I have not been able to draw as often as I’d like to. During winter and spring breaks, I usually have nothing planned at all, so I draw as much as I can then.”

Alongside with drawing and creating animations, Obara has began to write short stories in English and Japanese to go with her artwork.

“I love drawing, animating and writing because I can create my own, entirely new world,” Obara said. “That is my purpose for every single work I create, to express my desires, emotions, and values.”

Just being a high school student, Obara already has a clear dream for the future.

“I hope to get a job as an animator in Japan, or some kind of anime-related job. I also have ambitions to be a short story author to go along with my drawings.”

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