For an artist, their most exemplary work can often come from pieces whose subject is something they’re incredibly passionate about or hits close to home. Whether it’s abuse, death, or mental illness, artists of great skill have the ability to make the viewer rethink their opinions and attitudes towards a certain topic, making the Jerzy Kosinski quote all the more true: “The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”

Christian Aquino, a talented student at Steinbrenner, is working to do that through his concentrations.

As a sophomore last year, Christian took AP Studio Art: Drawing, a course that requires each student to submit a portfolio at the end of the school year. A part of this portfolio is the student’s very own concentration, a collection of 12 related pieces all culminating around one central idea. Students are encouraged to select a main theme that is of concern or great interest to them.

Christian decided to make his concentration about mental illnesses and disabilities, especially those that affect the ability to speak.

“I covered things like stuttering, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease,” said Christian. “And other rare illness like Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. When I get anxious, it can be hard for me to speak.”

The latter being a disease where a person’s muscles slowly get replaced by bone, restraining movement.

A student’s concentration should also revolve around the same medium. In Christian’s case, he used colored pencils, watercolors, and newspaper.

Now, as a junior, due to space constraints in his schedule, Christian isn’t able to take any art classes at Steinbrenner, but he hasn’t stopped honing his craft. His next concentration is about different songs from various musicals that have a bigger impact on people.

After St. Petersburg College saw some of his art, they offered to showcase his concentration in their hallways around the campus.

Many artists derive inspiration from the greats, like Picasso or Dali. Christian, however, finds inspiration in his friends and the animators around him. He hopes that people can get something out of his work.

“Someone’s mental health is very important, even if you can’t tell from the outside, it really is. It can affect someone’s entire like,” said Christian.

Christian plans to major in graphic design or animation. He hopes to work with companies like Pixar or create cartoons.



Jordyn Dees // Opinion Editor

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