Sculpting their future

Pauline Villegas , Asst. A&E Editor

Creating art can be challenging for most people, however, some students here at Diamond Bar High School excel at channeling their feelings into a form of art. Senior Emily Zhang, sophomore Hailey Shi, and senior Eunice Chung are among those who have made an impact in the high school art world, while expressing themselves in a creative way.

Shi draws and paints in her free time, and her work has been acknowledged by the National Holocaust Art Competition and the Congressional Art Contest. Shi has also been given the opportunity to hold her own personal art exhibition at the Affiliated High School of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China.

Art teacher Coleen Gee met Shi when she was a freshman and was immediately impressed by what she had to offer. Gee was also fascinated by how dedicated Shi was to her art work and her school work in general.

“I create art to tell stories and to communicate and connect with my audience. Drawing is my way of expressing myself because I am an introvert. I find myself at peace when I am immersed in my painting,” Shi said.

Although creating art while being a student can be somewhat hard to manage, Shi takes an AP Studio Art class, and finds that art is more than just a part of her everyday homework.

“I spend more time on art than academics because I need to put more thought and feeling into my artwork,” Shi said.

While Shi expresses herself through painting, Chung creates art in the form of sculptures. The sculptures are inspired by things that interest her, such as music. The use of three-dimensional art allows the viewer to relate to the substance in the real world.

“Unlike working with traditional canvas board or paper, there’s an organic freedom in creating three-dimensional, in-the-round figures, which I really enjoy,” Chung said.

Her inspiration comes from many different outlets, but music plays a huge role in the pieces she creates.

“Music has always played a major role in my life, and I wanted to fuse my love for this craft with my artwork,” Chung said. “From the degradation of modern music, to the visual representation of sound, I aim to explore the interplay between art and music from a kaleidoscope of angles.”

While creating art, Chung believes that her art is a tool for social change. Her art intends to make a statement about music, and with each piece she hopes to portray a clear, unique message that carries through in her artwork.

“Eunice is one of the most amazing students I have ever taught in the 18 years that I’ve taught art here at Diamond Bar High School,” Gee said. In the time they have been together, Eunice is the only student she has taught that has submitted both an AP Studio Art Portfolio and an IB Visual Arts Portfolio. Chung received a perfect score on the AP Studio Art Portfolio and Gee believes she will also receive a perfect score on the IB Visual Arts Portfolio.

Chung is inspired by artists who take risks. Artists such as painter Wassily Kandinsky and architects Min Suk Cho and Frank Gehry inspire her to create original art that will hopefully inspire others.

“These innovators have challenged convention and I seek to emulate their bravado in my own work,” Chung said.

Chung takes pride in all of the pieces she creates and believes that her artistic risk-taking has been her biggest accomplishment so far.

Zhang also creates murals, illustrations, and sculptures in order to portray what she is feeling.

“I really want to create art that will inspire other artists to get into their own art,” Zhang said.

Zhang is inspired by artists such as Shepard Fairey, the creator of the famous brand “Obey,” and Chris Sanders, an animator and illustrator for Walt Disney Pictures. These artists have inspired Zhang to strive to become an animator or director.

“Because of my young age, I have a younger perspective and a more youthful vibe. I understand what a lot of teenagers are going through in high school and in social media,” Zhang said.

One of Zhang’s favorite personal pieces was an interactive sculpture that was displayed at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Everyone that was apart of the piece was asked to write on a slip of paper. The sculpture eventually grew to be quite large, with everyone’s slips of paper coming together to create something beautiful.

“After checking up on it a week later, there were hundreds of papers that all started with mine. It was so cool to see,” she said.

Gee has also had the pleasure to teach Zhang in her art career at DBHS. Zhang  proved to be one of her best students at design composition and color theory while working with Gee.

“She is gifted at not only traditional paintings, but she is also really good at graphic design and digital design,” Gee said. Zhang has helped Gee work on many extra projects such as AP Design buttons and WASC posters.