WVCSD Artist of the Week: Razeen Raja

Warwick. This high school senior enjoys writing stories and creating visual art.

| 15 Mar 2024 | 04:22

A multi-talented senior at Warwick Valley High School, Razeen Raja likes to explore his passions for the arts.

“I’ve always liked reading books and writing because it’s a way to express yourself,” Raja said. “Throughout most of my school life, I felt like I was writing because I had to, not because I wanted to, but last semester with Ms. Debella, I was in a creative writing class where we were given more freedom to write however we wanted to. It was really fun to express myself in that way.”

After taking creative writing with Danielle Debella, Raja found himself writing outside of school hours and constantly trying to improve his work.

“One of the first prompts we did was to write about a moment in our life that had a big impact on our lives and I wrote about the time I moved to Pakistan, my home country, where I lived for a year. I went to school and everything. And typically, the people there were more poor, but there was more happiness.”

The second piece he wrote was a short horror story, which he then developed into a full five-page story. This year, he can see how much his writing has improved.

“I would say it’s definitely better than it ever was before, because I’ve been able to write not just about different topics but also in different genres. I would mostly write persuasive essays or narratives but this year it felt like I was actually writing stories and books. So, it was pretty fun.”

In addition to being a talented writer, Raja is also a visual artist. “I have built a bunch of computers on my own at home, and I also do boxing. So, I have a bunch of different things that I do and if I’m feeling stuck on one thing, I focus more time on another thing. I think where the block comes from, even artist block, it comes from doing it over and over and then you feel like you’ve thought of everything,” Raja said.

When he first started drawing, he drew inspiration from the TV show Dragon Ball Z. “I started off watching the people or looking at images and just trying to copy it down on paper. I probably have hundreds of drawings. I slowly started incorporating ink into it and colored pencils, markers, and other stuff. I did that for a long time before I tried anything else. Then I started getting more into a comic book style.”

In February, Raja’s artwork was featured in the annual “Arts Build Confidence Showcase” which was hosted by the Orange County Arts Council.

In terms of inspiration, Raja’s is rooted in culture and family.

“The biggest inspiration, in my life, overall outside of art and everything else would be my religion. I’m Muslim, and right now it’s Ramadan. I’ve been fasting and it’s actually a great source of pride for me and being able to have that sense of purpose in life.”

“I’ll also say my dad because he’s lived a very tough life and through it all, he’s had to work so much in his life for everything. Watching him do all that is inspiring. He’s really like a superhero. My mom, she’s definitely the one who instilled my morals and made me the person I am today.”