Art has been a part of Kamea Comeaux’s life since childhood.
“I grew up with it,” said Kamea. “My uncle is an artist. I’ve seen it all my life. It’s my passion. I didn’t have a doubt about my major; I just went for it.”
Kamea’s uncle, who was also an NBA player, and her mother and grandmother all encouraged her artistic proclivities. “My mother really pushed me to pursue art, and my grandmother, who lives in New York—she’s originally from Canada and is really spunky—she would send me news about artists and exhibitions. She is very supportive of my ventures. I’m so grateful to have family like that.”
Kamea was born in Houston, Texas, but her family has roots in Louisiana. Her father completed medical school at Howard University in Virginia, then moved the family to Louisiana, where he completed his residency. Beyond the influence of her family, Kamea attributed her interest and talents in art to her early exposure to art museums, such as the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “Seeing the works of such successful artists really influenced my decision to major in studio art,” said Kamea. “It reminds me that I can do this when so many people don’t understand or think I’m crazy.”
She also fondly recalled her sophomore fine arts teacher at Sulphur High School, Mr. Danos, as a major influence in her choice of major. “He was tough and hard on me, but he saw and acknowledged my strengths as an artist,” Kamea remembered. “He taught me a lot and pushed me to take more advanced art courses. I grew as an artist because of him.”
Kamea wants to be a painter and is considering pursuing a master’s in art therapy after graduation. “Art therapy is an important field and a great way to have a career and practice art at the same time.”
She spent her first semester at LSU completely enmeshed in art. “All my classes were strictly art,” she laughed. “No math or English composition, although I know I’ll have to get to that. For now, it’s two- and three-dimensional composition, art history, and, my favorite, painting and drawing.”
Kamea’s favorite artist is surrealist Salvador Dali, and she attributes her creative bravery to her love of Frieda Kalho. She also idolizes George Rodrigue, painter of the famous Blue Dog. “He is the epitome of Louisiana to me. I love this state because of the food, culture, music, and all that—but for me, it’s the art here. I want to create art that’s native.”
As a well-rounded, hardworking student ensured for success, Kamea was awarded The Hearst Foundations scholarship, which is intended to help the college recruit and retain underrepresented groups in art and design. Each Hearst scholar receives $4,000—$2,000 a year during their first and second years of study. The scholarships may be used for tuition, supplies, living expenses—whatever the students need to succeed in their studies at LSU.
“The scholarship takes a lot of stress off financially,” she said, “and I am more motivated with this acknowledgment.” Kamea said she searched everywhere for art scholarships. “There just aren’t that many scholarships out there for studio art majors. It really put me in the dumps not being able to find anything, and then this scholarship found me.
“I’ll do very well with this scholarship,” added Kamea. “And it will create more opportunities for people like me to pursue art.”