For Carson High School senior Jimmy T. Castillo, finding inspiration for his artwork can be as simple as opening a textbook.
His history book inspired the mural now on display in the hallway at the school. He said he was flipping through the pages of the history book and looking at the pictures when the idea came.
"I thought it would be neat to make a circle representing the world, then put in people that represent different cultures," he said.
Shortly after he sketched out his idea, Robin Williams-Auer, government teacher and an adviser last year for the United Cultures Club, asked him to design a mural for the club.
"We have a lot of students at Carson High that come from a wide range of backgrounds," Williams-Auer said. "What we were trying to impress is that we embrace the differences."
She asked Castillo to design it because she had confidence in his ability.
"He's one of these kind of kids that if I tell him that this is what I'm trying to do or trying to portray, he can put it down on paper and be very descriptive."
Castillo showed her the sketch.
"I showed it to her and she liked it," he said. "So we just went big."
Williams-Auer said the mural captures the spirit of multi-culturalism.
"I think it represents a wide range of countries, a wide range of historical backgrounds and cultures," she said.
Castillo understands the concept of diverse cultures. He moved to the United States from Costa Rica when he was 7 years old.
He adapted quickly to life in the United States, learning English in only six months.
"After all, the U.S. is made out of all different cultures," he said. "We're at a neutral place and everyone should just get along."
Williams-Auer said she has used Castillo many times to help interpret Spanish because of his knowledge of the language and his ability to relate to a variety of people. He also speaks Portugese.
Art has always been a part of Castillo's life, but it wasn't until high school that he really became serious about it.
He has taken several art classes, including an advanced-placement class. However, he is not enrolled in any this semester.
"This semester, I'm trying to focus on my career."
Castillo said after high school he plans to pursue a career in either computer animation or graphic design. He is taking a 3-D design class.
"Once he finds his venue, he'll be an awesome artist - he already is an awesome artist," Williams-Auer said. "Jimmy is not only a traditional artist but he's a cutting- edge artist. He's going to be the type of artist you see 20 to 30 years from now."
However, he knows it will not come easy.
"I'm trying to pay for my own school," he said.
In order to do that he works at Wal-Mart.
His typical day starts with school at 8 a.m. He has swim practice from 2 to 4 p.m. and works from 5 to 11 p.m.
"It's working out," he said. "I have a fair amount saved."
Still, he said he will probably start out at Western Nevada Community College, save more money, then transfer to an art college.
Williams-Auer said she is sure he will be able to realize his goal.
"He's a real serious student," she said. "When I talk about college, he's already nodding his head like, 'Just give me the opportunity and I'll go,'" she said.