My life did not start out perfect. When I was very young I had a speech delay, which made it very difficult to communicate. But when I took to drawing stick figures with expressive faces, I found that I could convey my emotions through art. Over time, I began to create dozens of my own characters. I wove them into increasingly elaborate stories, so that by first grade I was developing short graphic novels. My freehand drawings and the words I wrote to accompany them became an outlet for my curiosity. I took whatever art courses I could in the coming years, and joined every art-related club throughout elementary school and middle school.
In high school I have expanded into new mediums of art whenever possible. When I first took Digital Arts in my sophomore year, I sensed the scale of what I could achieve with my work. I expanded my techniques greatly, especially within the animation spectrum. In my free time I maintained my animation channel on YouTube for fun. I realized that Freestyle Academy offered an amazing opportunity, and I applied to be one of the 80 people per year who can enroll in this parallel arts high school that’s a separate campus next to my high school. Spending part of each day at Freestyle Academy has pushed me in many ways. While previously I had only scratched the surface of Adobe Photoshop, now I have learned Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Animate, and InDesign. When I dove into photography, I found that static images have a limit and can’t be exaggerated the way that freehand art can.
This past summer I had my deepest immersion into art. At Rhode Island School of Design, from late June through the end of July, I met people from all around the world. I expanded my style based on the influences of many of them. For example, one ambitious graphic artist inspired me to better design characters and tell stories. The formatting of her panels struck me in their simplicity. With beautiful color shading and outlines, they told a compelling but pretty basic story. Based on critiquing with two other artists, I was inspired to design a dream sequence that balanced horror and comedy. I realized there’s no limit to the art styles you can learn from others.