Most comics feature superheroes and supervillains. “Red Lipstick” is no different. Written and illustrated by Izlia Shepard, a senior at Charles D. Owen High School, the cartoon follows a Palestinian woman whose young child dies during an airstrike. “The anger of seeing so many human lives being destroyed is what drove me to make the piece,” says Shepard, who submitted the comic to the 2024 Western North Carolina Regional Scholastic Art Awards late last year. Organized by the Asheville Art Museum with support from the Asheville Area Section of the American Institute of Architects, the annual competition invites area students in grades seven to 12 to present their work for blind judging. Shepard’s piece was nominated for the American Visions Award — an honor she is both happy and remorseful about. “On one hand, I’m very grateful that my message is touching the hearts of others,” she tells Asheville Made. “But on the other hand, the fact that I feel like I need to convince people to have humanity angers me. I should not have made this piece in the first place.” In late January, Shepard’s comic will debut at the Asheville Art Museum. Art by other students will also be on display.
2024 Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition: January 24-March 25; Closing Reception: Thursday, March 21, 5-8pm
Asheville Art Museum / 2 South Pack Square, Asheville.