Artists Association showcases student creativity

Sophia Li’s (11) brush swept onto the watercolor paper, leaving hues of blues, pinks, and oranges in its trail.

“I felt excited to see the end result of my painting because it was the first time that I didn’t follow my reference exactly,” Li said. “I incorporated my own style, and I couldn’t wait to see how the elements that turned out.”

She squinted at the paper as she added the last of the shadows and highlights in colored pencil to the rippling water and feathers of her swan. After about four hours of working, Li finished one of her two pieces for Artists Association’s pop-up gallery, March 28.

“[The pop-up gallery was held] to expose artwork,” Co-president Cindy Qiao (12) said. “The entire purpose of our club is to show appreciation for student [art]work because I think people don’t really realize how talented students are at Westview. Our job is just to spread that around campus and off-campus and give [the artists] opportunities to showcase their work where usually they aren’t able to outside of the classroom.”

In order to prepare for the event, Artists Association contacted teachers to make announcements regarding art submissions and created a sign-up sheet that collected information such as the artists’ names, pieces, and the medium they worked in.

“The pieces that we showcased were in acrylic, watercolor, oil pastel, tempera, and on scratch board,” Co-president Michelle Huang (12) said. “Next time, we plan to try [to] showcase art in even more mediums such as photography and ceramics.”

Qiao said that through the event, she hoped to reach out to other student artists outside of the club so that their works could be displayed as well. Altogether, 15 students contributed to the booth.

“I think just being able to see like what people are creating is really interesting and as an artist myself I think it’s really important to look at other people’s work and not just your own,” she said. “I think it’s really important that you get exposure and the opportunity to see others’ reactions to your work, and really just to be a part of a community that is willing to encourage each other.”

According to Qiao, seeing positive reactions to one’s art is important in order to solidify notions of truly being an artist.

“[Seeing other people admire your art] really helps in beginning to realize that you should take yourself seriously as an artist,” she said. “People respect and want to know your ideas, so you should respect yourself too.”

Artists Association also started selling stickers this year at their club rush booth and pop-up gallery. These stickers were designed by students digitally with Illustrator and Photoshop or by hand. The club then compiled scans of the designs onto a document and printed them out onto sticker paper.

“I feel like [selling stickers] is a way to appreciate art without having it be too serious,” Qiao said. “Sometimes there’s a stigma around art in that it’s not for everyone, but I think especially when students make their own stickers and prints, it’s very easy to gain everybody’s attention because it’s just something so casual and so we sort of made it an easier thing to approach.”

According to Huang, making art approachable is extremely important. By having the artists bring their friends and other people who would not normally be exposed to art to the pop-up gallery, Artists Association aimed to help cultivate an interest for art.

“The idea of art becomes more intimate; people no longer regard it as a foreign subject that they think is intimidating or that they can’t do,” Huang said. “It’s not something that you think is tangible, either for you or even your close peers to do. [But the pop-up gallery] makes [art] less foreign because then the artist and the piece aren’t separated, and the art is created by someone you personally know.”

According to Qiao, not many students involve themselves in subjects like STEM and art at the same time. By displaying student art, Qiao wanted to let others know that there are opportunities to do art alongside other subjects, and that people don’t have to focus on solely one or the other.

“I think that separation [between STEM and art] needs to be broken because [art] is a really interesting way to think,” she said. “I think [art is] just really good to get a different perspective on how to approach problems and how to express yourself, and I think it is a break from doing things specifically in one way.”

To Qiao, art is something that everyone can connect with, whether people are in the club, taking art classes, or just doodling on their own.

“Because art is a common thing between all of us, it really does help us communicate and understand each other,” she said. “[Art] is just something you can connect to other people with very easily.”