Breaking the norm: Athinarayanan takes on art


Justin Kouch

Shridhar Athinarayanan’s (12) piece of Allyson Smith combines art with science. The portrait shows what a well-rounded and unique student Athinarayanan really is.

When thinking of a valedictorian, a strictly academic student typically pops into mind. This is not the case for the White Station Class of 2019 valedictorian, Shridhar Athinarayanan (12).

As a child, Athinarayanan developed his artistic skills once his family noticed that he had a knack for art.

 “A lot of my family is mathematical and analytical, which I am too, but I think that I have more of a creative bone than my family members, and they were noticing that,” Athinarayanan said. “They were supportive of trying to foster that artistic mentality in me because they wanted me to deviate from that family standard.”

Throughout his high school career, Athinarayanan continued to cultivate his skills, participating in regional and national art competitions where he won numerous awards. In the 2018 National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Athinarayanan received the Gold Key (the highest award) for his drawing, “Emille en Couleur.” The piece was displayed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Athinarayanan’s art is also displayed locally, such as in the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro, TN, and the Memphis International Airport.

“My most memorable art experience was when I won the Regional Gold Key at the Scholastic Art Awards,” Athinarayanan said. “I got the Best Drawing award, which is basically this big scholarship, so I got money for college.” 

After graduation, Athinarayanan will attend Stanford University and pursue a career in Data Science, which is considered the more artistic form of science. 

“[Art has] given me a different perspective on the more concrete objective aspects of life because not everything has a solid answer like how mathematics and science does,” Athinarayanan said. “So, through looking at those subjects through an artistic lens, it’s given me a more subjective look at those topics and made me realize it’s more fluid than it seems.”