Senior artist paints his future path


Marty Blader

Senior Ben Abarro uses art as a therapeutic strategy, as well as a potential career path.

Marty Blader, Sports Editor

While the rest of his class is busy taking notes, senior Ben Abarro is more concentrated on the cartoon sketches that he brings to life in the margins of his classwork. His knack and talent for art awarded him an invitation to The American Academy of Art College, in Chicago. Abarro looks back on his artistic journey and looks forward to the path ahead of him.

Abarro has found himself participating in several art programs at DGS: jazz, concert band, marching band, ceramics, drawing and painting; the list goes on. Instead of being satisfied with where he is now, Abarro wants to use the program as an opportunity to grow as an artist in order to pursue his dream career as an illustrator or graphic designer.

“[The program] will definitely unlock my potential that I’m missing in terms of art knowledge. So, it will be helpful in the future,” Abarro said. “I’m excited to know a lot more and be able to use that newfound knowledge to help me make a career out of it.”

Art for Abarro, however, is not just about getting to the endpoint in terms of career goals. It is also a way for him to cope with stressors and advance his skills throughout his journey.

“It is an outlet, it’s very therapeutic and calming, although it can be frustrating with the amount of time it takes to do drawing. I always sketch in class if I’m trying to pay attention, and it does help me pay attention for some reason,” Abarro said.

While Abarro typically focuses on arts, in terms of music and drawing, one form that inspired him at DGS was ceramics.

“[Ceramics] is different than what I normally do; it’s kind of outside of my comfort zone. Sculpting isn’t something I do often, but it was fun… It gives me a bigger pallet to work with, so I don’t just specialize in one certain field,” Abarro said.

Visual arts teacher Katherine O’Truk had Abarro in her drawing two class his junior year. O’Truk reflects on Abarro’s adaptability to all forms of art.

“He learned a lot of new materials. So drawing two we do a street art project, we do a colored pencil still life, we do an illustration marker and perspective drawing unit and we do a graphite pencil drawing. He knew some of those things before, but he took to all of them really easily. It came really naturally to him,” O’Truk said.

While adaptable to all forms of art, Abarro likes to focus primarily on cartoons but still manages to incorporate that into some of his other pieces.

“My favorite form of art would have to involve cartoon work, especially drawing comics. I get to not only write my own story, but also bring it to life with visuals. I’m currently working on a comic I’ve been messing with for two years now,” Abarro said.

Abarro’s unique style in his artwork is an inspiration to others, without him even knowing the full impact it has.

“I remember he did a really cool perspective drawing of looking down a hallway, and one side was columns and one side was windows, and there was light shining through the windows, and it looked really good. I still use that drawing as an example in that project now as good lighting,” O’Truk said.

Junior Estee Raceala has been doing art for 13-14 years, with a primary focus on digital drawing and photography. As an artist and a friend of Abarro’s, Raceala has an appreciation for his artistic style.

“Ben is a very creative artist, he sees the “design” in anything. He’s got a mixture of cartoon and anime, with pronounced line art and dynamic poses. His art style has a very confident, action-hero vibe; it’s fun and interesting to view which I believe makes him stand out from most artists,” Raceala said.

O’Truk has seen many people go in and out of art classes in high school but acknowledges the significance of Abarro continuing his art career beyond high school.

“I think a lot of people are nervous that ‘If I study art, that won’t get me anywhere,’ and that’s not true, and I’m glad that [Abarro] is open to more possibilities and the open-endedness studying art in the future holds,

— Katherine O'Truk

Raceala reflects on the success of Abarro’s journey, thus far, as a person and as an artist.

“When I heard [Abarro] got into this art program I was so ecstatic, I couldn’t contain my pride for him and his accomplishments. He’s come so far as an artist and as a person, he definitely deserves this reward and more. I hope that he can become a renowned, successful artist one day,” Raceala said.