“Positive Interruption”

Spotlight Date: 
March 16, 2018
Ava Campana

Ava Campana, a senior in the Digital Media Department, began developing her craft in middle school. “I started creating artwork in middle school around seventh grade. I went to Watson B. Duncan Middle and was in their finance program for sixth grade. Thank god the school created an art program the next year or else I would probably be studying finance of some sort. In seventh grade I took two art classes where I was exposed to drawing, painting, pottery, photography and more ways to express myself creatively.”

Recently, Ava created an installation piece for Building 9 titled, “Positive Interruption.” She says the inspiration for the piece comes from Building 9 itself. “The building as a whole has been a space that has always inspired me every time I stepped into it. I am so lucky I have gotten to call it my home for the past four years, and even though I will always love this space, I’m going to be devastated when I have to leave for college.  I feel as though I have interrupted the space of Building 9 but in a positive way. In my photography work I visually translate the idea of a perfect or positive situation into vertical stripes because a vertical stripe can travel on forever and is a perfect entity… until it is interrupted. These vertical stripes will always be interrupted by something in my work, whether it is a social situation, person, item etc.” Ava also added that she selected the colors she used for the stripes from all around the Dreyfoos campus in order to make sure that her piece encompassed Dreyfoos both visually and conceptually. “I hope that my mark left on Dreyfoos and Building 9 inspires other students just as these walls have inspired me.” 

It wasn’t until Ava’s sophomore year of high school that she realized she wanted to study digital art. Ava explains, “I think that’s because I tried a lot of different forms of art in middle school and freshman year, really expanding my horizons of all art. Finally, I settled into what I loved the most, photography!”

Ava’s peers, high school experience, and the social atmosphere of South Florida have been the main influencers of her artwork. “I began concentrating on my own personal experiences, such as making my artwork about my family home that I have lived in for seventeen years or photographing my best friends in the space we are always in (the school campus) has really helped me become comfortable with my artwork and proud to call it my own.”

Sometimes a color might inspire Ava or even a past experience, and she will begin writing down her thoughts and feelings about the situation in a sketchbook. “Then, I try to sketch out an image of how I would like to conceptualize that feeling into a photograph, making sure to include props, color schemes and who I would want to use as a model.”

Ava was able to really develop her skills and techniques during a summer program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York. Ava says, “It was the best three weeks of my entire life. I was immersed in the rich New York City culture while learning new techniques and methods of photography. I was also able to meet a lot of like-minded kids who wanted to do the same thing I did…It was also really important for me to experience what an art college was going to be like before I committed to studying at one.”

Ava plans on attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York. She wants to major in Photography and obtain a minor in Art History as well. “I know for a fact that I’m going to become a photographer, mainly because I’m not really good at anything else. In the future, I plan to work as hard as I can to become either an editorial photographer for a magazine, such as Vice or The Fader, or work directly with other artists when photographing them. I have always wanted to go on tour with a vocal artist and experience life on the road, so maybe that is in my future as well! Regardless of the job I’ll be doing, I’m going to work as hard as I can to become some sort of photographer. As long as I’m doing photography or some form of artistic media, I’ll be happy.”

Dreyfoos to Ava meant an opportunity to grow. “Grow in my friendships, my experiences, my artwork and almost every aspect of my high school life.” Ava also acknowledges that “If I chose Gardens High School over Dreyfoos, I know for a fact that I would not have fit in or been as involved with photography…Without this school, I really don't know what my career path would be. I never felt out of place at Dreyfoos. I always felt like I had somewhere to sit or someone to hang out with, and I feel like that is all thanks to the positive environment and mindset of every student that walks onto our campus. We all know we want to study hard for our majors, and that collective determination is what brings all of us together.”

The goal as a school is always to prepare our students for the future, help them grow and develop as artists, as well as teach them to become citizens of the world. Ava says, “Dreyfoos taught me how to become a better artist, and then gave me the opportunity to seize my own future as the artist it created me to be. I have made friendships at this school that I know I won't ever let go. I have knowledge that only Peter Stodolak could have taught me in the field of art and photography, and I have real world experiences of what it is like to be an actual working photographer.  This is all thanks to Dreyfoos. This is a family more than it is a school, and I will always be thankful that I had this foundation in my life as an artist. I grew at Dreyfoos and now I will flourish in my future.”