Photo courtesy of Wendy Chau and Melva Deng: On the left, in a self portrait displaying her life in quarantine, senior Wendy Chau, surrounded by stuffed animals and covered with a blanket, peers at her phone. On the right, a hand-painted, hand-crafted wooden goose, designed by sophomore Melva Deng, sits on a table.

Art students paint new paths

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After hours of carving and painting, sophomore Melva Deng smiles in satisfaction as she looks at her most recent piece— a wooden cutout of a goose with its body painted blue as if it was swimming in a lake and a large heart-shaped hole to symbolize its loneliness. Perfect.

Despite the constant criticism about the uncanniness of her work, which include a hand-weaved, taco-shaped basket and a paper mache frog, Deng found that art was the best outlet for her freedom and creativity.

“Some of my projects are based on meaningful events in my life, while others are completely random,” Deng said. “Unlike life, which is always filled with rules and judgement, art is something that allows me to express whatever I want.”

Deng prefers to keep art as a hobby to avoid facing the creative constraints that might be involved if her artworks became a part of a business. She values personal choice and self-expression more than others’ expectations.

“If I worked on art professionally, then I would have to restrict my imagination and create something for others and not for myself,” Deng said. “Still, I spent more time in my life drawing and painting than anything else. Maybe it will not be a part of my career, but it will still be a part of my past and my future.”

While Deng exclusively considers art as a hobby, senior Wendy Chau who is taking Drawing / Painting ⅚ this year, appreciates art as something that helps her bond with others. 

“Art became a way to express my creativity and introduced me to many great artists at our school.” Chau said. “I was able to befriend many of my friends because of our common interest in art.”

Due to its influence on her life, Chau strives to pursue art as a profession. She hopes to improve her skills and develop a portfolio this year while working on personal projects, such as creating a game and painting a mural.

“I plan on pursuing a career in the arts, probably by going to community college and transferring to an art school.” Chau said. “Art has always been a part of my life, and it has been my passion. I never stopped drawing.”

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