Astoundingly talented senior Vivian Wang ’23 has certainly made her mark on the Hopkins community. With her impressive contributions to the Studio Art galleries, as well as her extracurricular pursuits, Wang’s work brightens classrooms and the Keator Gallery. Her accomplishments were recognized earlier this year when she was nominated for a Scholastics Art and Writing Award, having already amassed a collection of Gold Keys, the prizes awarded by that competition.
Wang discovered her passion for art in elementary school. She recalls, “When I was little, I was always intrigued by the colorful picture books we read as part of class in elementary school,” she. Even at a young age, Wang utilized her creative instinct to build narratives: “I became fascinated with the many ways storytelling and art overlapped, and, in my free time when I was little, I would draw little comic strips or scenes on the back of my homework or in my sketchbook.” Wang also attributes her understanding of technical art to her early endeavors. She says, “By working with all sorts of different mediums and techniques, I also became interested in the more technical aspects of art.” Wang stresses that her artistic journey has not been linear. “A big misconception that many people have is that the artistic journey follows a smooth, ascending line and that you’re always going up and up day by day,” she says. “The reality is that it’s more sporadic, and a large part of my artistic journey was just discovering a certain medium or style that I liked and sticking with it, which meant a lot of experimentation and finding ways to combat creative blocks along the way.” Wang says that she further developed her personal artistic style through her Studio Art 3 class, which emphasized completing small, medium, and large pieces. Family emerged as a central motif. According to Wang, “For my theme, I decided to choose home and family, since in many Chinese households like mine, family means everything, and I wanted my art to reflect on the ideals that play such an in
fluential role in shaping my life.” Asked to reflect on a project she was particularly proud of, Wang points to the creation of one of her pieces on display in the Keator Gallery. “It’s a large, three-dimensional piece that features a series of canvases with a piece of material connecting all of them,” she says. The description of Wang’s piece reads as follows: “Chinese silk scarves have always been a family heirloom; they’ve been passed down generations, first from my grandmother in China, then to my mother, who ended up giving hers to me after moving to America. I wanted to use a silk-like material and the action of it draping down a series of canvases to display the cultural connections that tie each generation of my family together.”
In addition to being an independent artist, Wang has served as a driving force behind art programs, including the Hopkins Art Club, that inspire others to explore their own creativity. Wang explains her motivation to encourage her classmates’ artistic pursuits: “I wanted to transform the empty art classrooms after school into a colorful space where students of any experience level could come in and not only create art, but also learn alongside a supportive and diverse community.” The result was the creation of an active art community. Says Wang, “I encouraged interactive activities like drawing games, collaborative collage projects, and schoolwide arts and crafts workshops.” Wang emphasizes the role art has had in helping her mature and express herself: “Growing up, I wasn’t very expressive, and verbally communicating my thoughts and feelings became more of a barrier than a source of relief, and so art really allowed me to express these complicated experiences and emotions in my life that I struggled to put into words.” Wang believes that even the more technical aspects of creation have benefited her life. “I think art has also made me more observant and more detail-oriented, and also more openminded as well,” she explains. “The best part of being an artist is drawing inspiration from other artists, and by looking at other art, you open yourself up to various mediums, ideas, and perspectives.”
As Wang graduates, she leaves behind a legacy of creativity and excellence that will be hard to match. Wang,
however, intends to continue her artistic journey: “At Yale specifically, I hope to become a gallery guide at the Yale University Art Gallery, since I’ve always been interested in the historical aspect of art — that is, researching the pieces and learning more about their origins and what they reveal about that specific time period. Wang has no intention of ceasing her own creative pursuits: “I probably will take art classes in college, and I will also be creating art in my spare time!”