By Anna Skinner
Aaron and Jen Sherrick come from a background rich in art, so few would wonder how they passed those traits on to their children. The Westfield parents’ reassuring vision led to a family of eclectic artists who work in animation, woodworking, photography, YouTube productions, drawing and comedy.
“My dad was a business owner. He was an entrepreneur my whole life,” Jen said. “My mom identified I was artsy and good at drawing things I saw, and she would encourage me. I had a lot of encouragement to do whatever I wanted to do.”
“Neither one of us was told we could never do something,” Aaron added.
When Aaron and Jen met on a blind date, Jen remembers her friend telling her she would love him because of his artistic side.
The Sherricks’ 18-year-old daughter, Madison, recently won a Gold Key award through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Madison submitted a portfolio of animation and two illustrated pieces.
“The more you submit, the more likely you are to win something,” Madison said. “I got an honorable mention for my portrait and a Gold Key for my animation reel. It was like a frame-by-frame kind of animatic. Like one frame every few seconds to get the idea. It was like a little story about someone who gets lost in the snow and finds a lighthouse and there’s a ghost inside of it.”
Because her animation reel received a Gold Key, it will be forwarded to New York with the possibility of Madison receiving a $10,000 scholarship. Sixteen scholarships are awarded to Gold Key finalists.
Jen, a professional photographer who take takes mostly senior and family photos, said she saw Madison’s talent from the time her daughter was a toddler.
“She’s always drawn things and different than the way I drew and the way (Aaron) did. I have to see it, then I produce it, but she can just visualize it,” said Jen, whose art is photography. “In the end, you want to do what you love. I see people choose a career path that will make them money, and they don’t think art ever will. They regret it and live with the regret of, ‘I don’t feel like I’m doing what I was meant to do.’ Madison always said, ‘I don’t see myself doing anything different.’ Before she was 5, she was illustrating books and selling them on the corner.”
Aaron is a web designer, but his hobby is woodworking. Over the past few years he has created everything from Adirondack chairs to items for local businesses.
“With Grand Junction (Brewing Company), I built eight tables for the new tasting room,” he said. “I’ve made four desks for a mortgage company for a neighbor.”
He also redid his own deck and created shelving units and wall desks for his sons’ room.
Son Caleb is into drawing. Conner creates YouTube videos. The youngest, Christian, is the class clown of the family.
“Caleb is our comedian,” Jen said. “That’s an art in itself.”
Madison plans on majoring in animation and eventually work for a company like Disney. She hasn’t decided which school she will attend.
Aaron Sherrick is a web designer by day, but he does woodworking and graphic design as hobbies. One of his designs still serves as the Nehemiah Vision Ministries’ logo. He used to serve as the ministry’s president before the organization expanded.
“The organization exploded in a good way after the earthquake (in Haiti), and they needed people with experience to run the organization, and I didn’t really have that,” he said. “Our family was growing, so I stepped out.”
Aaron also designed the Westfield Youth Sports, Inc. cross country logo and serves on a civilian communications group with the city.