Close this search box.
Eleven-year-old digital artist Ava Hibbs with her favorite creation, 'Shikisu.' Ava's exhibit 'Aura' is on display from 4-8 p.m. Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 6-7 in the Colonial Theatre Art Gallery and is free and open to the public.

Japanese-style fine art exhibit by 11-year-old artist Ava Hibbs is open for just two more weekends

BUCKHANNON – Gomuchi, Nerora and Doyaku.

Those are the names 11-year-old Ava Hibbs has selected for three of her Japanese-style animated characters who come to life on canvas, each with their unique outfits, facial expressions and accoutrements.

It’s the vivid colors they’re depicted in that makes each character pop off the page: They’re seeped in and surrounded by brilliant hues, one in deep purple, another in lime green and the third in a striking swirl of turquoise.

But 11-year-old digital artist Ava Hibbs says ‘Shikisu’ – a female character bearing a sword with no shortage of fashionable accessories and a ruby red background accentuating her strong, well-shaped arms – is her favorite.

The deep crimson is most pleasing to Ava’s eyes, she says.

It’s Friday, Oct. 16, and Ava is hanging out at the Colonial Art Theatre’s Art Gallery for the opening of her first fine art exhibit, “Aura,” which is comprised of series of 13 two-dimensional Japanese-style portraits featuring 12 distinct characters.

Sponsored by ART26201 and the City of Buckhannon, this is the first time a young artist has set up a solo exhibit in the newly refurbished Colonial Theatre Gallery, part of the Colonial Theatre and Cinema V Restoration and Rehabilitation project that’s ongoing in downtown Buckhannon.

A Buckhannon native who is home-schooled in Upshur County, Ava immediately points to “Shikisu” when she’s asked what digital artwork she’s most proud of.

“This is the one that I put the most time into and that was three-and-a-half hours,” Ava recalls. “It’s all digital, and I think my favorite part about it is, I put a lot of different detail into the character design and into the outfit. It took a lot of time to do, but I feel like because I put a lot time and thought into it, that’s why it’s my favorite.”

Ava says “Demon Slayer,” a Japanese manga series that tells the tale of a young boy who becomes a ‘demon slayer’ after his family is killed, was the inspiration that spurred her to develop her own set of one-of-a-kind characters.

“That’s where I got some of the inspiration for the characters,” says Ava.

She began work on the series in July and continued for several consecutive months thereafter.

“It took a long time to get all of this together,” she reflects. “It was two or three months, but for me, personally, I think my favorite part of what I did was the bright colors and using the color palettes.”

Ava sketched each character out on her iPad with a pencil stylus, she said – an evolution of her prior penchant to sketching in pencil, filling notebooks upon notebooks with clusters of drawings. She particularly enjoys anime, an illustration style used in Japanese film and animation, because the genre is much more detailed than typical cartoons in the U.S.

“It’s just way more advanced than a lot of American cartoons,” she says. “There’s a lot of different [details] that go into it because most of it’s, like, action so it takes a lot more time and work, so I think that’s pretty unique, that they’re spending that much time and work on characters. The art style is a lot different than many other cartoons.”

The daughter of Sasha and Timothy Hibbs, Ava says that beyond art, she likes to spend her time listening to music – but not modern music.

“I’d say I like a lot of older music, like older classic rock,” she says, “and that’s also sort of been an inspiration in my art.”

Carrie Perry, treasurer for ART26201, which promotes local arts and other creative endeavors in the area, said ART26201 is thrilled “Aura” is the gallery’s first youth solo exhibit, and Ava is its first featured youth artist.

“We wanted to get someone in this space right away, and then we came across Ava’s work, and it’s just fabulous,” Perry said. “It’s a different genre and a lot kids are into it, so we wanted to put that in this space and present it as our first main feature art show.”

“We’ve just worked really hard to promote this, and we’re really pleased with the attendance,” she added.

Haven’t made it yet? There’s still time to check out “Aura,” which will be open from 4-8 p.m. the following two weekends – Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30-31, and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6-7.

The Colonial Theatre Art Gallery is located inside the Colonial Theatre at 46 E. Main St., and the exhibit is free and open to the public.

A collaboration between the City of Buckhannon and ART26201, major financial assistance for the Colonial Theatre and Cinema V Restoration project has been supplied by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!