To say Zack Teppenpaw is a hard worker is an understatement. At just 18 years old, he’s a student, an athlete, a teacher and an artist. He’s busy, but he likes it that way. When it comes to his art, it’s all about raw emotion.

“Most of the time it’s from my own experiences, especially with this painting,” he said, signaling to an image of a young person in a room, head down surrounded by dark thoughts.  “Most people don’t like the dark side of us. We’ve all been in a place where we’ve battled our inner struggles.”

While Zack’s art may depict a darker side, he brings a refreshing light to the table. He takes his art seriously and wants to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

“It doesn’t seem like work to me,” he said. “Graphic design, that’s what I’ve been doing at BPCC where I’m dual enrolled.”

Not only is Zack an artist, he’s also an athlete. He’s been training in martial arts for eight years and is currently ranked a black belt. In 2017 he was able to travel to Beijing, China to compete with the U.S. Kung Fu team in the Seventh World Kung Fu Championships.

“It was an experience of a lifetime,” he said. “Sixty countries were represented.”

He said he loves channeling his energy into his art and that the two really do work hand in hand.

“In both aspects, I can express myself how I feel,” he said. “I can show who I am and what I like to do. You can see it through my work and when I compete.”

Zack currently is a member of the Talented Arts Program and has been drawing since elementary school. He also had his art on display during the recent i3 Art Expo.

“Most of the paintings I do, people end up buying,” he said, noting that he enjoys doing larger, over the top pieces. One he’s done — a cowboy on a large wood cut out.

When he’s not perfecting his martial arts skills or painting, Zack can be found wrestling. It’s another of his passions and has ranked him no. 5 in Louisiana among division two students. He also teaches tumbling and martial arts class at Bellaire Fitness Center in Bossier City.