She’s a new graduate of Guntersville High School, but Maggie Bachman is already a very decorated artist.
She won Best in Show at the Congressional Art Show when she was only a sophomore and her painting hung in the Capitol in Washington D.C. for a year. She and her mom Jenny Bachman got to go to Washington and see it as a result.
In addition to winning Best in Show, Maggie won first place in one of the categories at the Congressional show every year she was in high school. She won painting as a freshman and colored pencil as a junior and senior.
She’s multi-talented and works in a variety of mediums, including photography.
“I actually haven’t painted in awhile,” Maggie said. “I’ve been working in colored pencil. I also like drawing with a pen and stippling, where you make a picture with dots.”
We at The Advertiser-Gleam are partial to one of her more minor works. For the bicentennial celebration at Guntersville High School back during the spring, students in Val Jones’ art class were assigned various historic buildings around the city and asked to paint them on a brick.
Maggie did 2 or 3 different bricks. One of them was a painting of The Advertiser-Gleam. It’s now proudly displayed in our office.
It took Maggie a week or so of working during art class to do the brick. She also helped a classmate and did the lettering on his painting of Streamline Cleaners.
Maggie is such a decorated artist that she has earned a large scholarship to Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. It costs about $53,000 a year to attend Loyola. Maggie’s scholarship will cover about $42,000 of that cost.
“I think I can work and come up with the rest,” Maggie said. “I don’t think I’ll have to take out any student loans. I don’t mind working if my money is going towards something worthwhile.”
She plans to study either design or illustration.
She would start in mid-August, but she has decided to take a “gap” semester and start after Christmas. She is very close to her mom and her brother Gus and wants to spend more time with them and work more before starting to school.
Maggie is employed at Starbucks. Before that, she worked at Jamoka’s. Maybe there’s just something about coffee and artistic people.
Her artistic side even comes out at work.
Everyone there is trained to do a variety of jobs and they swap up duties. But making the drinks is Maggie’s favorite activity at work. When she gets the chance, she likes to experiment to come up with new drinks.
She occasionally does a little art work for money, but it’s mainly for friends and family. She painted a design on an office wall for a friend of her mother. She’s currently working on an illustration of an old truck for Joe Cagle, who plans to use it to promote his band.
Maggie is not at all concerned about the stereotype of the “starving artist.”
“I can’t imagine working at something I found to be a chore,” she said. “I believe very much in pursuing your dreams.”
She was actually born in New Orleans and still has relatives there. She and her family travel back there about 4 times a year, although she's never been to Mardi Gras. She expects to find new inspiration for her art in the sights and sounds of the city once she begins college there.
On their trip to Washington for Maggie’s Congressional Art Show honors, Maggie and her mom spent a lot of time touring the various Smithsonian museums.
“The one with all the animals was my favorite,” Maggie said. “I guess it’s the Museum of Natural History. I thought about the movie, ‘Night at the Museum.’”
We asked Maggie if GHS art teacher Val Jones is as great as she seems to be.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I love Mrs. Jones. She’s one of my favorite teachers. She has been like a grandmother to me.
“One of the things I love about her is she is so totally honest,” Maggie continued. “She’s not afraid to tell you when your art is bad. Whenever she would make a suggestion, I would always follow it, even when I didn’t want to, and it would turn out great.”
In addition to her art, Maggie loves spending time with her family and she likes being outdoors. She used to play the guitar, but hasn’t found the time for it lately.