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Rising Artists: Multi-talented Billings Central senior uses art to destress

Tia Schlosser closeup
Posted at 10:00 AM, Dec 31, 2023
and last updated 2024-01-01 10:52:50-05

BILLINGS — It’s December 21, and Tia Schlosser is having a fight with a sewing machine.

"I don’t think I’m a seamstress," she says with forced resignation. "I don’t think I should pursue that."

Luckily, she has plenty to fall back on.

"I’m always out trying to find what I like to do best," Schlosser said. "I don’t like spending my time on things I don’t find fun."

Usually, that means she's creating some kind of visual art, often involving cats.

"I'm a big cat fan," she said with a laugh.

Tia Schlosser cat drawing
Cats are prominently featured in a lot of Tia Schlosser's drawings.

After needing a break from sewing during Billings Central’s 24 Hours of Art, Schlosser sat down to work on something a little different: an intricate, past-its-prime strawberry.

"I really like the morbid bits of nature," she said. "So this, I'm working on a series of rotting fruit. There’s so many different textures and colors and nobody else really pays attention to that. I just think that type of thing is really cool."

Billings Central art teacher Kari Adams can spot a Schlosser a mile away.

"It's gotta have a little quirkiness to it," Adams admitted. "There’s serious work, but I'd say the free-spirited stuff would be more her."

Tia Schlosser art room
Tia Schlosser works on a drawing in the Billings Central art room, where she says she's eaten lunch every day but one in high school.

Both Schlosser and Adams started Central at the same time, so they’ve formed a close relationship. Schlosser says she’s eaten lunch in the art room every day but one in high school. She’s helped make it a special place.

"We sometimes call ourselves the land of misfit toys," Adams said. "It’s a judgment-free zone, and I’ve already seen her be a great role model for a lot of the freshmen."

And not just in that room. Schlosser has only taken one art class all of high school, believe it or not, to leave room for other things like film. Watch one she shot below:

"I like to call myself a Team Mom," Schlosser said. "I just kind of make sure everybody is good: everybody has what they need, everybody is on script, everybody is on time."

She works mostly behind the scenes but flexes her acting chops in speech and drama. Schlosser has won state titles in humorous duo and dramatic duo in the last two years.

"I just love Speech & Debate so much," she said. "This year I’m hoping to double-enter into Dramatic Solo, with Humorous Duo."

So which of these talents is she choosing for a career? None of them. Schlosser plans to go to medical school, but when that gets tough, she’ll know just where to turn.

"It’s almost like a de-stressor for me," she said. "It's something to take my mind off of school and more serious stuff."

"If this is something she can lean back on instead of some of those negative vices people out in the world get into, I think this is perfect," Adams said. "Let this be your addiction."

As long as it’s not sewing.