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Calumet student art honors past

February 23, 2011
By ZACH KUKKONEN Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET - When deciding on what to enter a Calumet High School student art show in 2009, John Leinonen opted to re-create an indelible image from Ronald Reagan's first inauguration.

Now, with what would have been Reagan's 100th birthday occurring this Sunday, the image appears even more pertinent.

"I wanted to capture his optimism - a sense of happier times that he brought about," Leinonen said.

"I like the expression," Carol Leinonen, his mother, said. "You can feel the joy and warmth."

Using only Crayola crayons, John sketched off and on for nearly a month to get his piece ready for the art show, and ended up winning a blue ribbon for it after a showing in the Calumet Public Library inside Calumet High School.

"I'd say (it took) about three weeks," John said. "I wasn't working solely on it, just in my spare time.

"It seemed like a long time for me because I just wanted to see it done."

Carol was stunned by the amount of detail John put into it with the medium of crayons.

"It's amazing," she said. "He always starts from the eyes, and everything goes on perspective from there."

Artistic talent is nothing new for John, as he has been creating art every since he was much younger.

"He also did a miner's sketch (a while ago)," Carol said. "He won an award on that, too, and had it on display in town."

John's overall artistic inspiration stays within the family, as it originates from some sibling admiration.

"My sister was artsy in high school, and I always wanted to copy her," John said.

With the art now hanging at home, the Leinonens are happy to pay tribute to a past president.

"We wanted to honor Ronald Reagan," Carol said. "Whatever he said, he stuck to and did it. You had to respect the man."



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