Vanessa Sosa is a talented and impressive young artist. Her work so impressed the judges at Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, she was named a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Award Portfolio Gold Medalist (one of 16 medalists from thousands of student applicants). The award came with a $10,000 scholarship that Sosa hopes to use to attend the University of Texas in Austin.
Sosa submitted eight works to the competition, including the drawing at the right. We have to admit, when we first saw it, we thought it was a photograph. Wrong. It's a hyper-realistic drawing Sosa made with colored pencils. It's a skill she's honed over the past three years working with Sam Rayburn High School art teacher Daniel Reyna.
The subject matter, food, is one of Sosa's favorite. "I like to eat," she laughs. "I draw lots of things, but food has a lot to do with my work."
Lots of messy food, going by the images we've seen. "I'm interested in things that aren't perfect. Broken things, things that are old or that people think are useless -- that's what I think is beautiful. People, too. I've met some 'perfect' people, but I like weird people. They're more interesting; they have something to say."
What she does: Sosa calls herself an artist and says the purpose of her work is akin to primitive drawings -- to document the world around her. "I consider myself as someone who takes a moment in time and captures it. Years from now, people can see my art and know about our ways, our culture, just like the first humans [who] painted in caves thousands of years ago."
Why she likes it: "I like the fact that there are no restrictions to art. I can be whoever I want to be and express myself in any way I want."
What inspires her: "Most of my inspiration comes from the things that I personally love and by other artists. I draw things that I see, everyday things."
Being named a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Award Portfolio Gold Medalist has been inspiring, Sosa tells us. "Winning any contest is always a big payoff, but what always keeps me working harder is making my parents proud and the positive reaction from people after they see my work."
If not this, then what: Sosa hopes to be a fine artist or an illustrator, but says working in animation is also attractive. "I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be involved in art when I grew up. Digital animation has always fascinated me, and if I couldn't do this, I wouldn't mind doing that instead [of this]. I would love to be an animator for Pixar Studios."
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If not here, then where: Sosa hopes to be attending the University of Texas in Austin next year. "It's cheaper than lots of other schools and it isn't too far from home. I don't think I'm quite ready to go too far off."
Eventually, she hopes to get to New York. "New York seems to be a great place to grow as an artist and get lots of inspiration from. It is also the best city to meet more artists. Like the saying goes, 'If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.'"
What's next: "Right now, my main focus is attending college and expanding my skills." She's already expanding her skills and has started painting. Her first project is a portrait of her six-year-old brother. What does he think about getting his portrait done by a gold medalist? "He doesn't care," she laughs. "He's little and that sort of stuff isn't important to him yet."