This term’s top artists Colton Curley and Autumn-Breeze Silva are two academically-focused and incredibly talented artists that create amazing artistic works both inside and outside the walls of La Follette High School. Both are dedicated to their art form while also finding time to balance their academics, extracurriculars, and the ever-stressful process of searching and applying to different colleges.
Colton Curley can be easily recognized from his musical workings as an actor or as a solo artist. He has starred in La Follette’s theater productions as “Charlie Brown” in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, “Mortimer Brewster” in Arsenic and Old Lace, and “The Cat in the Hat” in Seussical the Musical. In addition to these great performances, he has also produced his own music under the alias Colton Lukas, with his most recent album released being named 24th Avenue featuring songs such as See Me, Chained, Ready to Find You, I Fall Back, and its titular song, 24th Avenue. These songs can be found on Spotify, along with his extended play Lost, and the songs: Lost, Easy Way, Let Her Go, and Now. He credits his ability to write lyrical stories such as these to his previous English classes, one of which being Mr. Corbett’s, specifically his units on play-readings.
“It all started when I was very young, I’d say that my family has always [had] a [big] musical influence on me,” said Curley, regarding his early beginnings with music and the arts. He first started off singing with children’s choirs, and some local singing competitions. He was even part of a singing and dancing group for youth called Kids From Wisconsin, a local group that tours Wisconsin and performs sixty times over the summer. In sixth grade, he performed at La Follette High School in his first musical, Oklahoma, alongside his brother and sister. He then continued to perform in musicals throughout his time at Whitehorse Middle School.
He began taking his musical career seriously in high school, focusing on his vocal technique, and improving his skills with the instruments he had picked up over the years. “I’ve picked up [other instruments] and I’m always interested to learn more about them but, singing has always been my focus,” added Curley. Around Colton’s freshman year that he picked up songwriting, which is the time he describes to be the early stages of when he discovered his voice. “Everyone finds themselves when they find something unique about themselves,” Curley commented on self-discovery.
Similar to the passion that Colton dedicates to his songwriting, fellow senior Autumn-Breeze Silva focuses on drawing realistic and hyper realistic works. She uses mediums such as graphite, charcoal, watercolor, and has begun improving her skills with colored pencils.
“I always drew as a little kid, probably more than other kids,” she stated. However, it wasn’t until eighth grade at Sennett Middle School that she really started to take an interest in drawing. “In the art classes we were [in], we were doing a self-portrait, and I was just really into it, and I discovered I was actually really good,” Silva added.
From that point, she began to invest more time and resources to bettering her abilities on paper, and in turn, was able to apply more passion to her art. Over time, it became a more fluid and a relaxing activity for her to partake in. “Art was one of my coping methods for really hard times, [like] when school was getting really rough. It was something I could invest in and I can create my own stuff, zone in on it and I don’t have to think about anything else,” Silva said about the effects of art on her life. It is a stress relief for her, which enables her to perform better within her classes, her volunteer work with Key Club, and in her personal occupation. She credits part of the reason she has such good days here at La Follette to be her first period, Drawing and Prints 4, taught by Mr. Nichols, one of her noted inspirations. She also credits art as the way she is able to take on her Honors and AP courses and maintain a 4.00 GPA. “If I’m not feeling the homework, I can relax with art and then get straight to my homework,” Silva said.
Regarding the future, Autumn hopes to get accepted into the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design to learn about being an illustrator. Another plan is to get accepted into the Madison Area Technical College, and later transfer to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to study humanities or social work for school counseling.