Qiao interns for art platform


Art ached to be noticed by Cindy Qiao (12), but at the time, Qiao wished to stay far, far away.

Art wanted to see her every single day, every single hour, but only had one after-school class every week with Qiao in middle school.

It wasn’t until high school that Qiao started to pay attention to art’s calling.

“Even then, I didn’t think of art seriously, but once I started finding these artists and designers online and meeting people who created amazing things, it was a slow, gradual realization, and I was like, ‘Oh, this can really happen,’” Qiao said.

Two years after her realization, Qiao and art are in a committed relationship.

“I recognized how amazing art was for me and how much I loved it,” Qiao said. ”It overtook every aspect of my life.”

Last summer, Qiao went to Rhode Island School of Art and Design for a pre-college program.

“I don’t really go outside of my Rancho Penasquitos bubble,” Qiao said. “Going to RISD was the [first step] to realizing that art and design was more than what I was doing.”

Students who were accepted into the program would attend classes at RISD over the course of six weeks, taking classes such as Illustration or Design Foundations.

During her stay at RISD, Qiao met the woman who she would later spend three months interning for.

“One of my design professors, Clara, had an online art platform, sort of like Khan Academy for art,” Qiao said. “Anyone can access it, it has tutorials, it has videos, how to do this and that, and what projects you can do if you’re interested in a certain field. I was aware of it, but hadn’t really thought much about it until after I came back.”

After returning from Rhode Island, Cindy began her senior year.

“I asked Clara for a letter of recommendation,” she said. “She emailed back, introducing her company and said that she would love to have [me] intern.”

After consideration, Qiao joined ArtProf in the beginning of December.

Being a part of ArtProf has helped Qiao discover new facets and nuances in her art, forcing her to look beyond the canvas and paint.

For her first project as an intern, Cindy did visual journaling, a process more abstract, yet similar to scrapbooking.

“Visual journaling is a spread of a notebook,” Qiao said. “I cut out shapes and objects from magazines I really liked, and then I decided on my subject by looking at scraps I cut out. Then, you collage together random materials and drawings onto a page.”

Qiao chose balsa wood as her medium to for a second project for ArtProf.

“I don’t usually do sculpting, I always do drawing and painting,” she said. “It brought me back to my design class, where you handle a lot of 3D things. Getting my hands on something different meant a lot to me, and it gave me a new medium to express myself.”

Another part of ArtProf is their artist columns, featuring student artists and graduates in the field.

“My artist column covers how it is necessary to make bad art. My process of art and finding my voice has come about making huge quantities of art, no matter how good or bad it is,” she said.

Qiao’s next step in her internship is another project: animation.

“I’ve never done animation and the thing that I like about the internship is that it forces me to do things that I’ve never done,” she said. “It gives you the opportunity to explore.”

As to what will happen after the internship, Qiao is less sure.

“My art so far this year has mainly been towards my portfolio and getting into college,” she said. “Without that and without the internship, I have this new freedom and I don’t know what to do with it yet. I want to try out fashion, industrial design, different things before I go to college.”

As for Qiao’s relationship with art, when asked about where she will be in 10 years, the only sure answer is that she will be doing what she loves in an art-thriving city, like Los Angeles or New York City.

“Art has changed me in the sense that it has enveloped every single part of my life entirely,” she said. “I can’t think of a moment where I am not thinking of art.”