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The talented Fairfield student taking the graphic art world by storm

We chat to 12-year-old Shanai Campbell, a Fairfield student impressing with her graphic art and creative digital illustrations, about her work and life in Bristol

I’ve always loved art but it was Carlos Valdez, a cartoon maker I stumbled across on YouTube, who first inspired me to get into this kind of illustration. My technique is very different, however; I’ve developed my own style using an app called Adobe Draw. I’m really loving what I’m doing and can spend hours and hours on it. I began to learn how to use the app on my phone then saved up for a tablet as I needed a bigger screen to create more detailed pictures. My Aunty Oneeka is an artist who draws art of black culture which also inspired me; her work is beautiful. Looking at her portraits I decided I’d like to learn how to draw afro hair and use the app to shade faces. At the moment this is a hobby which I hope will develop; in the future I’d like to become an architect.

Shanai Campbell attends Fairfield High School in Bristol

Each of my illustrations requires hours of dedication and precision to create 11 layers of graphics. Orders of thank you cards, invitations, gifts and pictures are coming thick and fast from family and friends, which gives me some pocket money with which to develop my hobby!

If I was mayor I would I would make all public transport free for children up to age 16 because I don’t think it’s fair when we don’t work ourselves. If they made transport free it would be a safer way to travel for children (rather than walking on our own) and would also cut down on pollution. I would also like to improve the youth clubs in Bristol because I feel there is something missing with what is being provided at the moment. They should be more accessible, welcoming, fun and vibrant.

I’m currently reading Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – a story about crime and revenge. The writing is in columns, rather than across the page, which I really like. Music-wise I’m listening to Kehlani, HER and Anne-Marie. I love this kind of R&B music, it’s very soulful. I listen to it while I’m doing my artwork as it helps me feel creative and it’s calming.