Wings on a pig? |

Wings on a pig?

Nicole Frey
NWS Emage Contest PU

EAGLE-VAIL – Maria “Mimi” Karachobanova sat in her kitchen, drawings spread over the tabletop. It was midnight and her entry for the skateboard design contest was due in just a few hours. But Karachobanova wasn’t happy. “There’s something missing,” she said surveying her work. Despite the late hour, the 18-year-old senior at Battle Mountain High School student picked up her colored pencils and started drawing again. She was determined to deliver something better to Patrick O’Toole, the owner of Emage skate and snowboard shop, who had invited Battle Mountain students to design the next skateboard the shop would sell. Sitting at the kitchen table, Karachobanova pondered skateboarding – nothing came to her. But then, lightning struck and Karachobanova began to draw. She rapidly sketched a fat, pink pig complete with curly tail and gristly bits of hair. But this was no ordinary pig. Karachobanova gave the pig an iridescent pair of blue and yellow butterfly wings. In midair, a smile curled under the pig’s protruding snout, it’s eyes closed in ecstasy, ears angled forward.

“What’s more ridiculous than wings on a pig?” Karachobanova said. “Maybe it’s because I feel like a klutzy piggy every time I’m on a skateboard, so this is a way to give me wings.”It was one of those moments when you don’t have any ideas, and it poofs out of you,” she said. “It was random, but I like random. But really, I didn’t have much faith in it.”

But random worked on O’Toole, who fell in love with the drawing the moment he laid eyes on it. From the about 20 images O’Toole received, he immediately decided on the pig as the winner.”It was a no brainer,” O’Toole said. “I can’t wait to see a flying pig on 200 skateboards.”O’Toole invited all the contestants to a party at Emage where he showed off all the entries. Gazing at her competition, Karachobanova began to worry.”The others were really good,” she said. “I thought, ‘God, I better tighten my pants.'”But she didn’t have to worry. Fretting over the pronunciation of Karachobanova’s long, foreign sir name, O’Toole omitted it altogether announcing Mimi the winner. “She really wanted to win, which was cool because she definitely had the best stuff,” O’Toole said. “She was pumped. She didn’t stop smiling for, like, 10 minutes.”For her efforts, Karachobanova will receive a skateboard with her design on it, which should be available in Emage stores in a few weeks. “Maybe I thought if I could win, I could get a skateboard, that it would make me learn to skateboard,” she said. “Now I better get started.”

While those around her have always praised Karachobanova’s artistic talent, she laughs off the compliments. “People say you’re talented, but it’s actually just practicing every day,” Karachobanova said. For Karachobanova’s advanced art class, she works in all mediums of art, but her passion lies in watercolors, colored pencils and markers – the stuff she has the most control over, she said. She especially likes drawing cartoons, which make the skateboard contest an easy fit. But in the long run, Karachobanova wants to go into fashion design and will carry out her mission when she attend the Art Institute of Oregon in Portland in the fall.

High on paint fumes in the Battle Mountain auditorium, Karachobanova painted the Emerald City for the spring musical, the Wiz, “a ghetto version of the Wizard of Oz,” she said. “I’m ready to get out of here,” she said. “I’m ready to do even more art. It’s a great way to let yourself loose and make a difference.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or Vail, Colorado

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