From artists to best friends

Michael Soler, Giovanni Spampinato balance friendship, talent as they work to achieve graphic design goals


Rusty Joe Gonzales

Working side by side, juniors Michael Soler and Giovanni Spampinato concentrate on two digital pieces that they are working on. “Giovanni has helped me a numerous amounts of times on what I should draw next,” Soler said. “Everyone has a road block a few times in their life, but he always seems to help me come up with something relative and unique every time.” The two met in a sixth-grade English class, and have been friends ever since.

The sound of paint splatter is nonexistent, but the gliding of stylus pens across iPads can be heard by those near.

Juniors Michael Soler and Giovanni Spampinato, two artists – and best friends – move their designs, and themselves, through the art realm together.

In a self-portrait he created for VASE 2022, junior Michael Soler Aguilera is shown. Soler said the drawings around his portrait symbolize his imagination as being “free and wild.” “My inspiration is derived from many real life experiences,” Soler said. “I really just wanted to work my hardest on this piece, because I don’t want to be tied down by any stuff. I want to have good vibes, I always want to be happy, and my imagination is always that of a happy person. I want my artwork to show the positives instead of negatives.” (Michael Soler Aguilera)

Their love and passion for art brought them together after their families both moved to Texas during their sixth grade year. They said they met in a place neither expected to find a friend – English class. Now that they’re in high school, their friendship has inspired years of new ideas and creative topics to share.

“Giovanni has helped me a numerous amount of times on what I should draw next,” Soler said. “Everyone has a roadblock a few times in their life, but he always seems to help me come up with something relative and unique every time.”

Spampinato said the same thing.

“There’s always moments in my life where I feel like I’m missing something from my art piece, or I’m just completely stumped on what to do next,” he said. “Although those occurrences don’t happen often anymore, like they used to, I have always been able to count on Michael, as well, to help me with coming up with something.”

Both entered an art competition their sophomore year to design a sign to spread awareness for people to stop leaving their pets and children in the car. With that, Spampinato came in first place as the winner of the competition, where he also received a $1,000 scholarship from 7-Eleven and the Prosper Economic Development Commission.

“I seriously couldn’t even believe it when I heard my name being called,” Spampinato said. “I was more so in shock, but I was also extremely excited that I won, as well as getting some scholarship money.”

In his sophomore year, graphic design student Giovanni Spampinato took his skills into a competition last spring sponsored by the Prosper Economic Development Commission for a safety program. Spampinato received $1,000 in scholarship money for winning the competition. “I never really believed that I could win a competition like that,” Spampinato said. “Not because I can’t do it, but mainly because I feel like there’s other artists way better than me.” (Giovanni Spampinato)

On the other hand, Michael had an “enthusiastic” reaction to his best friend winning the competition.

“I was jumping and screaming like crazy when I heard his name being called out as he won,” Soler said. “It was seriously so amazing. I am so proud of him. I was probably more hyped than he was.”

As much as their hobby of art takes up the majority of their time, they said they also love to do other artistry-related activities – especially filmmaking and photography.

“On the side, I do a little photography here and there,” Spampinato said. “It’s not necessarily to capture something unique and new, but more so to experience a good time with the outdoors and the people around you.”

On the other side, Soler looks to the lights-camera-action type of recording. He does film projects both inside and outside of school.

“I love making short films with my friends because it’s kind of a reliever in a way,” Solar said. “I don’t need to be so focused on one thing at all times. It gives me something fun to do.”

Another friend of theirs, junior Adam Miles, offered his view of Soler and Spampinato.

“Michael and Giovanni are extremely funny – maybe better to say goofy when they’re working together – but, they’re also extremely nice,” Miles said. “I am also proud of Giovanni for winning the competition, and I am proud of both of their consistency and persistency on maintaining their working ethics.”