By Elie Doubleday
At a math and science focused school, a passion for art can be difficult to uphold. After completing the requirement, art becomes an elective to be used sparingly as the rest of the requirements are completed. Time is often considered better spent on work for other classes than painting or drawing. With so many students focused on other classes, it’s hard for the artists to relate to them.
Andy S. ‘16 is one of the few students of the senior class who identifies as an artist. He says he “didn’t have a choice ever to want to be an artist. From when I was born, I’ve always been creative and art was the best outlet for me.” Growing up, he would question why he didn’t want to be an engineer or a doctor like all the other kids. He’s frustrated because out of the 80 or so kids in the senior class, he can only relate to a handful. In school, “when it comes to certain things like college applications, I have to do so much extra works, take extra classes, that there’s this obvious cultural divide.”
Art has given Andy new confidence, not just in art but as a person as well. Now that “I’ve matured and settled in to art and knowing that I’m going to eventually pursue art as a major, I’ve gained a confidence that has allowed me to do a multitude of things.” Artists often influence other artists, and it’s said that no idea is an original one. I asked Andy who his favorite artist is, and he said “I was gonna say Van Gogh and be cliché, but Jennifer Dai, I would say.” Andy joined the game later than she did, and before he even knew he wanted to pursue art, he looked up to her. She was someone his age, making it a lot easier to get advice from her. “She’s a more plausible teacher and friend.” Her work is very technically advanced and her ideas well developed, something Andy thinks all artists should look up to.
For a lot of kids who are passionate about art, applying to art school is the next step. But in order to apply, one must create a portfolio. “I started my portfolio really late compared with most people applying to college. . . I only had half a year to cultivate a portfolio whereas everyone else has had almost their entire life to learn the techniques and foundation.” Once Andy decided that’s what he wanted though, he would bring pieces home every day and work on them for two hours every night. With certain pieces, he would sit in one place for four hours just to finish it, losing himself in the drawing.
Andy’s portfolio focuses on the theme of smoking. Not in the sense of “Smoking is bad!” but more of an examination of the certain individuals who do smoke, and what their story is. “In all of my pieces, I place down the foundation for the viewer to draw their own conclusions.” When he’s working, Andy always visualizes the person behind each piece. Whether or not there is a person actually in the frame, there is always the intent of a person behind it, and Andy makes sure their story comes across.
The main thing with drawing for Andy, is that he was drawing because he really loved to draw, not for the sake of his portfolio, though he did start out with that thought process. “I could sit and time would pass and I wouldn’t notice it, completely engrossed in my work. That’s when I knew art was what I wanted to do.” Though Andy uses different medias in his work, he uses the term drawing to classify what he does. Drawing is what he resonates the most with, things like painting and sculpting just don’t have the same effect. Drawing laid the foundation for his desire to become an artist. “I’m really lucky to know my passion at this young of an age.”