Artist of the Week: Danielle Prestia


Artist of the Week: Danielle Prestia

December 7, 2023

Lately, WVHS senior Danielle Prestia has been busy with, but enjoying, their time in the high school Set Design class taught by Rocco Manno. The class is currently working on sets for the WVHS Drama Club’s spring production of the musical, Cinderella. And, even though they are helping build a house, a carriage, and a clock (which will stand more than a story tall, mind you), Danielle is also maintaining excellent academics and their personal commitment to growth and an always-expanding exploration of the arts world.

Danielle came to the class through her overall love of the arts. Danielle has been painting since they were 10 years old, and is also an avid writer. At the moment, Danielle is also enrolled in a second art class, Portfolio Class with Kristen Spano. In that class, students not only hone their skills, but also prepare a body of work for presenting with art school applications.

“Building something 11 feet tall is a lot less intimidating than it sounds, and a lot more fun,” said Danielle. “It’s fun to work with smaller set pieces; things you’re able to hold in your hand. But seeing something on such a grand scale, in the end, you feel even more fulfilled.”

Danielle said they weren’t sure what to expect when joining Set Design, but has really enjoyed the experience. They even said that the set design work has led to growth in their personal artwork.

“My personal art has improved drastically throughout these past few months,” they said, “and I’m very proud of that.”

When it comes to their personal work, Danielle credits Claude Monet as a major influence on their painting, and that they love the artwork and approach of the Impressionists overall.

“[Monet’s] use of color and texture, a lot of his strokes, the beautiful scenery that he captures. I just love it,” Danielle explained. “But there are also modern artists I look at when it comes to inspiration in digital art. It’s beautiful, in a way, that you can take such different media and be able to apply similar artistic skills, like with textures and everything.”

Danielle is also someone who loves to write. They write mostly about people, and particularly people their own age. Danielle’s characters also tend to be representative of that demographic, which also suits a storytelling focus on modern teenage life.

“It’s a lot harder than what being a teen used to be,” Danielle said. “And it’s easier to express my feelings and emotions through [characters], rather than talking about myself. It’s easier to put those feelings forward and show them to people.”

Danielle shared that their stories often inspire her visual art, and that they often enjoy taking a scene from text to visual. Danielle’s spirit of creative exploration is the result of a life surrounded by creators. There are artists on both mom and dad’s sides of the family!

“My cousin, who is my age, we grew up doing this together,” said Danielle. “She focuses on more realistic stuff, so we have two very different styles, and we can bounce ideas and inspirations off of each other.”

Danielle is unsure exactly what the future holds, but knows for sure that they will continue to feed their passion for art. Danielle is continuing to build her portfolio with Ms. Spano’s guidance, and is looking forward to April, when the sets for Cinderella will be unveiled and in action for everyone to enjoy.


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