Jaylen Holt Paints His Own Creative Senior Year 


Caitlin Karshan

Emerging Artist: Like all other seniors, Jaylen Holt — a member of the Marching Warriors — has had to confront change. He’s using his senior year to develop his already very prodigious art skills. Here he holds his colorful and unique acrylic-pour canvases that are making splashes on social media platforms.

Senior Jaylen Holt is one of the many North Atlanta students who has had his senior year thrown off kilter by the ongoing pandemic. To be sure for all members of the Class of 2020, a long-anticipated senior year is not unfolding as initially planned. The daunting possibility of not getting an in-person start — or even an in-building finish? — weights heavily on this class’s collective mind. 

However, this year’s resilient senior class is determined to not let COVID-19  completely disrupt their lives — or their opportunities for personal growth. For Holt, one of the more creative members of his class, the pandemic has given him a unique opportunity to further develop his expanding artistic talents.  

For three years running, spanning his freshman to junior years, Holt has been an active member of the drumline for the school’s marching band, the Marching Warriors. Like all other band members, Holt has had to confront the crushing disappointment associated with missing out on this fall’s action-packed season of football games and epic halftime shows. The loss is particularly acute for Holt because he was slated to be this year’s drumline captain. “It would have been a really cool leadership experience,” Holt said. “It’s hard not to think of what might have been.”  

Holt cited not just the missed experiences he has with his fellow band members, but also the thrill of interaction with other school’s band members at band competitions. 

The talented senior comes from a musical family. His aunt is a singer and his brother, LeRon Holt, a Class of 2020 North Atlanta graduate, was also a drumline member. But one closed door leads to another open door, and in Holt’s case it’s always going to be a creative open door. The band’s inactivity has meant Holt has had time to further develop as an artist, specifically painting. It’s a passion he first picked up in middle school and his current painting focus involves creating acrylic pours on canvas. He calls his art a mixture of abstract expressions and modernistic color mash-ups. And he uses his increasingly prominent Instagram social media platform to exhibit his colorful paintings.

His proud mother said she enjoys watching her son take his creative talents in the many directions they take him. Caitlin Karshan said she’s never surprised to see him push himself artistically. “When he was just a toddler and I first handed him a marker I could tell that he was an emerging artist,” said Karshan. “I never stop being amazed by what he’s capable of doing.”  

For college, Holt said he’s been applying to art schools and hopes to further develop as an artist at the next level and possibly major in photography. 

While the ongoing uncertainty of a COVID-impacted senior year, a proactive Warrior like Holt is bent on using the seeming “down time” and directing that time toward self-improvement. All North Atlanta students might take a page out of Holt’s playbook and turn a new leaf — artistic or otherwise — during these seasons of change.