Brothers Christian and Levi Colton take similar journeys to Boro

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Nestled on the outskirts of town, their minimalist apartment is everything you’d expect. Antique couches worn thin on the corners and faded on the arm rest. Cabinets barren, containing only the absolute essentials: coffee and cups to drink it out of. 

One dropped out of California University of Pennsylvania, and the other faced a similar fate while attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania; “miserably dropped out” Christian Colton adds. He and his younger brother, Levi, took eerily similar journeys on the way to their lives here at Edinboro. 

Levi Colton is a second semester sophomore while Christian has only three semesters before he can graduate. Both having dealt with their fair share of obstacles makes every finished assignment, every finished semester and every finished year that much more rewarding. 

“You sort of have to be a snooty person. You have to be critical of your work. You have to make something objectively good, not something that you just like,” Levi Colton said of being an art student.

Lately, he’s been focused on abstract painting while Christian has continued his work on digital illustrations from last semester.

In terms of digitally constructed art, or at least a combination of hand illustrations and digital work, it gives you more leeway to make minor mistakes, Christian Colton admitted.

He continued: “You don’t have to worry about stray marks as much, and if you want, you can just start over. You don’t have to buy paint or anything like that.” 

When asked about artistic preferences, they find it more difficult to do paintings based are objects larger in nature, such as landscape painting, a less controllable sample to work with. “You see what you’re bad at really quickly,” Levi Colton joked. 

Christian, meanwhile, explained the emotional value to doing illustrations up close. The ability to observe and accentuate every freckle and blemish is something he takes an enormous amount of pride in. 

 Before attending Catholic middle school, their big family of nine children were home-schooled. No cable television and no video games at their disposal, they resorted to drawing. Joined by a third brother, Seth, the three had made such an impression that their mother made every Friday “art day.” 

They lived this life until grade school, both admitting that when they finally did go to private school, it showed.“I didn’t really have an identity. You would look at one kid and know that he was the jock. I became the art kid,” Christian Colton said.  

Levi agreed that it only grew exponentially as they got older and moved onto high school. The two credited their teachers along the way, most notably one that Christian emphasized gave him an “F.”

“I know he did it on purpose even though I didn’t deserve it,” he clamored. 

It worked. Christan Colton would go on to California University, citing partying and his immaturity for an abrupt drop out. Levi Colton admitted it wasn’t much different for himself, stating that he simply hated it.

“I think I was intimidated by the big city, and I just didn’t feel like I was making an impact. I was caught up with my girlfriend and other things, and I didn’t really know how to deal with all of that,” he said.

Following that, the pair took classes at a local community school, claiming they were just anxious after a while to go back to school. 

“Everyone told me not to got to art school. I wanted to be a journalist at one point. I think I tried to talk myself into every major that wasn’t art before I finally just gave in. At one point, I was almost convinced to draw maps (cartography),” Christian Colton joked. “You don’t know what you want to do until you’re there.” 

In 2015 Christian Colton came to Edinboro, his brother a year later after much convincing. 

“We have been extremely lucky to have a lot of amazing teachers,” Levi Colton said. The two seem to have finally found their place and their artistic comfort zone.

Christian Colton continued: “You know that feeling in your stomach when you want to do something again. Like when you’re playing video games and you get sick of it, but when you wake up in the morning, you are energized and just itching for more; that’s what it’s like for me, that’s what it’s like for us.”

Michael Lantinen can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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