My name is Cayla Johnson, and I am from the Bronx. I love art, and I want to become the best cartoonist I can be. I applied for high schools last year and got into my first choice, the High School of Art and Design. I just started my freshman year remotely due to the coronavirus. For college, I am either going to the Fashion Institute of Technology or Cooper Union, and once I graduate from one of these colleges, I am moving to California to work for DreamWorks and create my own anime and cartoon characters for movies and tv shows.
My first school was Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School from 1st grade into the beginning of 7th grade, but I switched schools in 7th grade and went to the Bronx Charter School for Excellence from 7th through 8th grade. None of my schools had an art program, so I never got to make art in school, but that never stopped me from drawing.
My mom always tried to get me into other art programs when she could afford to and lucky for me my dad was an artist. He was a really good artist, and he compares his work to mine which I look at all the time. He encourages and works with me. He is my most important mentor because I look forward to his opinions since I feel like I am following in his footsteps. I have also attended classes at the Bronx River Art Center since I was 5 years old. The classes at BRAC sometimes did not work with my schedule because I was a dancer for a long time and am still currently a competitive swimmer for APEX Swim Club. My coach allowed me to design the logo for our team t-shirts, and I still had to get good grades at school, so I attended only when it was convenient. My favorite art teacher at BRAC is Mr. Joel: he was my first real art teacher.
It was so bad that every single teacher complained to my mom that I was doodling so my mom took away all my art supplies and my sketchbooks to teach me a lesson: but it still did not stop me. I started drawing in my class notebooks, on my hands, and one time on the wall of my room. The worst punishment was when she took away my phone, but I still found ways to draw and paint.
When I am drawing, it takes me to a peaceful place where I am not stressed. I feel like I missed out on many opportunities, especially when it came to preparing my portfolio for High School. I did not put together a portfolio ahead of time or receive the advice from an art teacher at my previous school. My mom researched and enrolled me in the portfolio class with Ms. Victoria Febrer. Ms. Victoria is a great mentor and a great artist. Not only was I able to get some great pieces for my portfolio, but she inspired and guided me as well. I did so many different types of mediums in her class, even my mom and dad were impressed with what she was able to help me with in such a short time. I think I can learn so much from this program here at the Art Students League. It will help me get into a FIT or The Cooper Union and eventually be able to accomplish my most important dream of working at DreamWorks.
High School of Art and Design
Seeds of the League Scholarship-2020