Artistic minds major in the arts

Students hope to succeed in the arts at their respective schools


Cameron Ho

Senior Gautam Vedula, attending New York University for film scoring, plays the piano.

When people think of popular college majors, engineering, medicine, or law might be among the first to come to mind.
But some Cal High seniors are attending college for the arts. Senior Dylan Bretschneider, who is attending Loyola University New Orleans for popular and commercial music, is one of them.
“I’ve loved music since I was three or four,” Bretschneider said. “[Loyola New Orleans] has been my dream school since I was 11.”
Bretschneider has been playing drums, piano and guitar since he was five years old, and he had a band his freshman year called Swing Gives You Wings, which raised $1,500 at their performances for the American Cancer Society.
In addition to his band, Bretschneider recorded songs with a friend and posted on various platforms, such as Soundcloud, and has two singles set to release in June and July.
Another student with interest in music is Gautam Vedula, who is attending New York University for film scoring and data science. Vedula was inspired to compose music by famous film composers such as Hans Zimmer and John Williams.
“I started composing music on my own,” Vedula said. “I started watching movies and trying to imitate those scores.”
Vedula has also worked with senior Aleeza Zakai on several projects, including a documentary focused on quantum physics for a UC Berkeley physics lab.
`“[Zakai] had this idea of making a documentary to bring quantum physics to attention,” Vedula said.
Vedula composed the background music for the trailer, but the movie itself has not been completed yet.
Some other Cal seniors, such as Leia Fisher, have passion for design and art. Fisher is deciding between UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California. She plans on majoring in design, with a minor in computer science.
Fisher has had a passion for drawing since elementary school when she watched YouTube drawing tutorials.
“I kept it as a hobby throughout middle school and high school,” Fisher said. “But then I got more into graphic design and creating websites.”
Fisher works with digital work as well as surrealist-style portraits, which is one of her favorite genres of art.
“I took AP Art my sophomore year, and I’m taking it again this year.” Fisher said. “I want to do UI, or user experience design or graphic design [as a career].”
Senior Beau Strickland is attending UC Santa Barbara for Book Arts, which is an art program focused on illustrations for childrens’ books.
“You’re definitely going to need a good sense of color theory, how to draw basically, and a good sense of graphic design,” Strickland said.
Color theory is how artists mix different colors to express different emotions or ideas.
“Art is everywhere. It can go all the way to science,” Strickland said. “I’m actually getting a certificate right now to become a scientific illustrator for science textbooks.”
Strickland obtained this certificate through online lessons taught by Gretchen Halpert, who was the president of the Scientific Illustrators Guild and taught at Yale. After that, Strickland got an internship at the San Francisco Zoo.
“They didn’t have an internship in place, so I created one,” Strickland said.
Each of the talented students hopes their artistic skills will guide them along a unique path that fewer students seem to be taking.