WVCSD Artist of the Week: Danielle Prestia

Warwick. This talented senior helps craft the sets that make the school plays so entertaining, but that’s not all.

| 08 Dec 2023 | 04:13

Lately, Warwick Valley High School senior Danielle Prestia has been busy 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), Prestia is also maintaining excellent academics and continuously exploring of the arts world.

Prestia came to the class through their overall love of the arts. Prestia has been painting since they were 10 years old, and is also an avid writer. At the moment, Prestia 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 Prestia. “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.”

Prestia said they weren’t sure what to expect when joining the set design class, but has really enjoyed the experience. They even said that the set design work has led to personal artistic growth.

“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, Prestia 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,” Prestia 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.”

Prestia also loves to write, mostly about people, and particularly people their own age. Prestia’s characters 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,” Prestia 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.”

Prestia said their stories often inspire their visual art, and that they often enjoy taking a scene from text to visual. Prestia’s spirit of creative exploration is the result of a life surrounded by creators. Both Prestia’s mom and dad have artists on their sides of the family.

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

Prestia is unsure exactly what the future holds, but knows for sure that they will continue to feed their passion for art. Prestia is continuing to build their 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.