AOM: Chella Garcia



Chella Garcia with her Dolan Twins “Tunesdays” album cover painting. The painting ended up getting noticed by the twins.

Sidonie Brown , Staff Writer

During the summer of 2017, senior Chella Garcia accomplished what few can say they have done—she turned her dreams into a reality. With only some paint, a two-by-four piece of wood and a whole lot of hard work, she was able to complete a massive project and see her artwork ultimately reach the hands of her idols, the comedic YouTube influencers and brothers, the Dolan Twins.

For Garcia, this journey is reflective of her resilient nature and inspiring message that, as long as you put in the work, you can fulfill any aspiration.

Even though she did not start taking classes until high school, Garcia has been drawing since a young age. She initially started to make art to be able to do something for herself and have creative control.

“I wanted to feel proud of it and have fun with it,” Garcia said. “When it comes to art, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do and not have anyone tell you that you have to do it a certain way.”

From pen to pastels to makeup, her work encompasses many different mediums. According to wellness education teacher William Graham, a teacher and close friend of Garcia, her artwork shows her detail-oriented character.

“Whatever she’s making, I know exactly what it is,” Graham said. “It’s really clean. It’s really crisp, and you can tell that she put her heart and soul into that.”

According to senior and friend Abby Jaynes, to those who know her, Garcia is seen as incredibly tough and resolute.

“She’s very strong and very persistent,” Jaynes said. “Even when something pushes her back, she gets right back up. Nothing keeps her down forever.”

Garcia has faced many challenges throughout her life, including a period where she faced verbal and emotional abuse. While getting through these difficult times, she found solace in the YouTube channel of the Dolan Twins, made up of Ethan and Grayson Dolan. For Garcia, the Dolan Twins’ videos were more than just a mental escape from a time when she said she felt completely trapped—they were also a reminder of a brighter future.

“{Their videos} made me realize that there’s going to be a point in your life when you’re not going to be sad,” Garcia said. “There’s going to be a point in your life when you’re going to be happy, and you’re going to be positive and be free.”

After all that the Dolan Twins had done for her during these experiences, Garcia said that she wanted to do something to give back to them, so she came up with the idea to make a painting of the cover of the Dolan Twins’ compilation album, Tunesdays, and eventually send it in to them. She said that she wanted to create something that no one has ever done before.

“I didn’t want to do something that everyone else was doing. I wanted to be different,” Garcia said. “I kind of combined my appreciation for them, my passion for art and love of their compilation album, and I just mushed it all together in a painting.”

According to Garcia, at times, the task of actually making the painting was grueling. It involved long hours of working, crouched over the kitchen table with the utmost concentration. After around a month of prepping and painting, she said that she was relieved when it was all done.

“I felt like quitting so many times because I felt like I was messing up at every point, and I was just getting frustrated as I wanted it to look a certain way,” Garcia said. “Even though I knew I wanted to finish it, there were just days when I had had enough, but I still pushed through because I knew it was going to mean a lot.”

In the end, it all paid off: Garcia’s painting of the Dolan Twins received large recognition across social media, and once she sent it to the Dolan Twins’ P.O. box, it was even featured in one of their videos. From this whole process, Garcia said she learned the true meaning of hard work and the benefits that come with it.

“Basically, the moral of my story is no matter what you want to do, as long as you work hard, you have motivation and you dedicate yourself to whatever it is you want to do, you’re going to find success,” Garcia said. “Nothing feels good knowing that you didn’t do it yourself. I feel like making your dreams come true can only happen if you put in work.”

According to Graham, Garcia is the most resilient student he has met in his life, and her artwork speaks to that. He said that he will miss her when she graduates, but looks forward to seeing what she will continue on to do.

“I hope that others that get to meet her, get inspired and learn that, no matter what, if you work as hard as Michelle does, you can be very successful, and she’s just a testament to that,” Graham said.

The project also gave Garcia the opportunity to connect with other fans of the Dolan Twins across the globe through her fan account on Instagram. She said that though the account mostly brings positive comments she has received some negative feedback.

“{When I say that I have a fandom account,} people are like, ‘Oh, so you’re obsessed?’” Garcia said. “It’s not because I’m obsessed. It’s because I admire the Dolan Twins and because there are other people you get to interact with.”

According to Garcia, through her account, people often talk to her about their own problems and struggles. They tell her how the Dolan Twins and stories like her own have helped them to have a more optimistic attitude. For Garcia, these discussions are what makes her project all the more worth the effort.

“That hits home a lot because that’s kind of one of the reasons why I did this project,” Garcia said. “It was because I was in a rough situation, and the Dolan Twins helped me to have a positive outlook. For me to do the same because of them—it’s kind of the best feeling in the world.”