At Del Val, only a few close friends know that Madison Scott, a sophomore from Holland Township, has a budding art business with more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.
Sarah Ruppert, who teaches the Intro to Drawing class, says that when Madison “is not quietly smiling and listening to the random art-room banter, she can be found with a fine-tip Micron marker in hand, slowly creating another lavish line illustration. Madison has a knack for radial symmetry. Creating original designs without a plan, she fills negative spaces with smooth line mandala-like designs.”
Madison is a private person, who enjoys “getting lost in the lines and patterns” that she puts on paper. But when it comes to monetizing her reveries, Madison is wide-awake.
Among her most recent accomplishments is the sale of five designs for $175 for inclusion in “The Power of Positive Coloring.” It’s a coloring book for grownups, with 50 images accompanied by motivational words. It will become available from Amazon in February for $9.99.
“I am really excited to see her work in print,” says Ms. Ruppert. “As with anyone that is skilled at their craft, Madison spends hours honed in on her ink and lines. It takes practice, lots of practice.”
A couple months ago, she came in third in Seton Hall University’s Pirates Pitch high school entrepreneur competition. Vying with more than 250 teens from seven countries, Madison was one of the 10 finalists chosen to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. If she decides to attend Seton Hall, a $4,000 scholarship awaits her.
Last spring she was one of two winners of the Central Jersey Association of Women Business Owners’ young entrepreneur awards.
She started an Instagram account in 2014, and challenges herself to post a new design each week. Many of her followers are fellow artists, but some of them are simply fans of her designs.
A visit to her website, MadisonsDesigns.com, shows why the judges were so impressed.
A link to Society6 reveals that several of Madison’s designs are available on a wide variety of items, including wall clocks, shower curtains, tote bags, stationery, laptop sleeves, iPhone skins, and of course, T-shirts. Those designs include her wolf, an antlered buck, an elephant, and more.
The site also gives an aerial view of a cake she decorated. It’s one of her mandalas, all right, but executed with tubes of brightly colored sugar gels. For logistical reasons, this fragile kind of handiwork hasn’t yet been enjoyed beyond her family circle.
Madison’s custom-design sideline, also accessible via the website, has brought her a dozen commissions. One client wanted a design for a simple paisley arm tattoo, for which Madison charged $25 – installation not included. Another customer asked for a wolf design, which Madison made for $40. She retained the copyright, so she can continue to market the image.
Madison supplements her e-commerce efforts with one that dates back more than 1,000 years – taking some of her merchandise into actual marketplaces as she did at the recent PTA Holiday Vendor & Craft Fair in Bethlehem Township. In between peddling her own Christmas ornaments and note cards, she embellishes the arms and hands of willing customers with her designs, using henna dye. Catherine Lent of Frenchtown taught her that technique.
Madison’s introduction to the mandala art form that she has embraced so enthusiastically was made by Holland Township School art teacher Lorraine Najjar in grades 5 and 6. Ms. Najjar’s successor, Megan Whipple, gave further encouragement and instruction.
Now at Del Val, Ms. Ruppert is introducing Madison to other techniques and media, but so far she hasn’t tried any art forms that she likes half as much as her mandalas
She did expand her horizons though, with Ms. Ruppert’s technical assistance, by creating an ornate map of the world that soaked up 20 hours of the young artist’s in-the-zone time. “She created a flat representation of the earth,” says Ms. Ruppert, “filling the oceans with floating shapes, flowers, leaves, and flowing lines.”
“Madison keeps getting better at controlling her line quality and fluidity. Her lines move like water over the page. The designs draw you in, fill the page, and make you smile. It is a happy kind of art, meditative in its repetition and patterns,” the teacher says.
Madison says, “My ultimate goal is to turn Madison's Designs into a brand name and become a well-known designer.” Toward that end, she aims to keep the artwork flowing, pausing every so often to shake the money tree.