Fiorella Benitez is a bright, hardworking and remarkably creative Huntington High School junior. The teenager’s artistic skills have grown by leaps and bounds and she’s advanced to the level where one of her pieces was recently chosen for the Huntington Arts Council’s annual Nightmare on Main Street exhibit.
“My illustration, ‘Nocuous Best Friend’ is a piece that can be interpreted in many different ways, perhaps the title could be taken literally or one could theorize if the woman shown is not what she seems,” Ms. Benitez said. “I didn’t want to make the story clear, but instead I wanted to create something that would make someone imagine and theorize. I will say, however, the main premise I wanted to illustrate was showing the mystery of the paranormal since I’ve always been fascinated by how vast the ideas of the paranormal and things beyond human comprehension are.”
Huntington High School junior Fiorella Benitez
The teenager has always been interested in art, even while she was just a little girl. Countless hours of drawing, experimentation and practice has sharpened Ms. Benitez’s skills.
“Ever since I was young I’ve doodled on anything I could get my hands on, but around my middle school years my interest in digital art sparked,” Ms. Benitez said. “So, when I entered high school I took a digital art class with Ms. Mohanty and ever since then I’ve been working with her and I truly believe that she’s been a massive help when it came to elevating my art to the next level.”
The teenager and her teacher have enjoyed a wonderful relationship. “For example, in ‘Nocuous Best Friend,’ Ms. Mohanty was the one to suggest adding textures and overall reworking things that would make the piece that much better,” Ms. Benitez said. “The piece and my digital artwork would not be what it is today without the help of Ms. Mo, so I thank her greatly for that.”
The junior is pushing herself as an artist. “This year I’m taking Advanced Placement Studio Art: 2-D Design, which is my first time delving into the more professional side of art,” Ms. Benitez said. “I’ll admit, it’s been a bit rocky so far, but I hope as I start getting more comfortable with what the course is about, it’ll become a lot more fun and as enjoyable as were my past art classes.” Ms. Benitez said.
A talented artist in her own right, Ms. Mohanty is teaching, encouraging and guiding Ms. Benitez. “I’m very grateful that I have a teacher who I’m comfortable with to help me better understand what I need to do,” the teenager said.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Fiorella over the past two years,” Ms. Mohanty said. “This year, I’ve worked with her as my AP student. I was first introduced to this quiet and hard-working student when she took my introductory Computer Graphic class. From the very start she exhibited a natural curiosity and talent in the digital arts. Her artwork has a distinct charm and illustrative quality, similar to pen and ink drawings painted with mostly muted tones and layered with texture. I am immensely proud of her accomplishment considering all the challenges today’s situation has put us in. It’s wonderful that her professional appearing artwork will be enjoyed in a lighthearted manner. It’s so very needed these days. I am looking forward to the rest of the year with her. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.”
Ms. Benitez isn’t firm just yet on which direction she wants to go in the future. She’s identified a handful of possible colleges and two very different career routes, but the teenager isn’t ready to commit to anything at this point.
“I’ve bounced between an artistic career and a medical career, especially since my parents desperately wanted me to be a doctor when I was younger, but if I’m completely honest I’m still a little in the dark when it comes to choosing a career path,” Ms. Benitez said. “As for colleges, if I were to follow the medical route, Stony Brook University, I believe, would be a great place not to mention it’s very close by; I know there is the School of Visual Arts in the city and numerous others in the state, but again, for now I’m still in the process of figuring out what I want to do in life.”