By MARTIN ESPINOSA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sharon Wasik usually knows where her son Daniel has been. The budding fashion designer often leaves pieces of thread everywhere he goes in their well-kept, spacious Fountaingrove home.
They are evidence that Daniel has been hard at work in his studio, a burgundy-colored bedroom he shares with two mannequins, a sewing machine and an ironing board.
Everything in the room speaks of creativity, from the large bellows-turned-coffee table to the pile of knitwear he has produced with fellow artist and best friend Catherine Sieck.
“I spend pretty much all my time in this room,” said Daniel. “If there was a kitchen in here, I’d probably never leave it.”
The Santa Rosa High School graduate’s “passion for fashion,” as his mother puts it, has paid off. In a short time, Daniel will be attending Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, one of Britain’s most revered and the world’s most prestigious design schools.
And while it’s a long way from Santa Rosa to London, Daniel’s story is a testament to what’s possible given enough loving parental support, a strong local arts programs and, of course, a phenomenal amount of talent.
Daniel’s abilities “went above and beyond and made my job as a teacher really joy-filled,” said Brooke Delello, a teacher in Santa Rosa High’s award-winning ArtQuest program.
Delello, Daniel’s teacher in AP studio art, said the program allows students like Daniel to discover “what the arts can do and what they can make possible.”
Daniel’s four-year ArtQuest journey began with drama, switched to choir and ended with fashion design. He also took classes at Santa Rosa Junior College, including clothing construction, flat patterning, contemporary fashion designers and fashion draping.
Daniel was born in Plano, Texas, an affluent suburb of Dallas. He has two older brothers, Brian, 21, and Chris, 25. His father, Henry, is the CEO of a San Jose telecom company, and his mother, a former dental hygienist, has been a supportive stay-at-home mom for 23 years.
In Texas, Daniel got into theater as a refuge from his hometown’s “cookie-cutter” culture, participating in the Plano Children’s Theatre. After Daniel’s family moved to the North Coast when he was 13, he continued doing theater with Roustabout Theater and Cinnabar.
Theater had become so much a part of Daniel’s life that he says he had to “wean” his parents off their hopes of him becoming an actor. But the weaning got easier with each costume, evening gown, skirt, blouse or coat he created.
“As soon as I was able to demonstrate that I can do things, they’ve been with me 100 percent,” said Daniel, adding that he’s very excited about moving to London.
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AT A GLANCE: Daniel Wasik
School: Santa Rosa High School
Lives with: Mother Sharon, father Henry and brother Chris
Pets: Dog named Tyson
Favorite music: Lady GaGa, Regina Spektor and Madonna, or anything dance-able.
Favorite food: Lasagna, buffalo wings or fine cheese.
Favorite movie genre: Nothing in particular. Enjoyed “Moulin Rouge,” “Dark Knight,” “Lord of the Rings,”“Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Finding Nemo.”
Job: Currently receiving commissions for custom designed garments
Most inspirational figure: “One of the most inspirational celebrities to me is Ellen DeGeneres, but the most inspirational person in my life is my father because he has an incredible work ethic that I admire.”