By: Eileen Guo
Visual and performing arts are an essential part of the American education system. I’ve been interested in arts my whole life and recently started immersing much of my time in drawing, painting, graphic design, and video production.
Walking into a class full of techy upperclassmen as a freshman, on the first day of school was so overwhelming. I had no idea on how to run a live broadcasted show, no idea what shutter speed or aperture was, nor did I know how to edit on any kind of software. I was starting on base one, when everyone else knew how to work the equipment, knew their fellow classmates, and had already built a great rapport with the teacher. Me, on the other hand, knew no one and nothing. Slowly but surely, I started raising my hand during class discussions, I decided to take leadership roles in filming and script-writing with the support from upperclassmen. Going out during lunch to film interviews, and holding a camera just gave me a strange sense of power. I was able to capture and tell the stories that have yet been told. I received so much help from my teacher and other classmates, and soon, my first video was finished! All the hours spent planning the video idea, scheduling an interview, checking out equipment, filming, and editing finally paid off; not really– I watched videos that my fellow classmates had made, and looked online at professional videographers’ videos and realized my video was so terrible. But I had set my mind to it; I had deeply fallen in love with video production and was determined to improve.
The following year (this year), my teacher asked me to be the lead videographer and lifestyle producer of my own content group. I was ecstatic; it was time for me to teach others the skills that I had learned and share the love for this subject I have. My lifestyle group and I have built an inseparable bond and I’m so glad that we’ve gotten to learn more, together throughout this year.
Outside of school, I also do drawing and painting. For years and years, I used pencil, watercolor, pastel, chalk, clay, to create art, that by the standards of my teacher, were never good enough. It was extremely disappointing: so much time and effort, and no visible improvement. I transferred to another teacher who would basically neglect many of his students, and we had to sit on an uncomfortable wooden bench for three hours, drawing a sphere with a dull piece of charcoal. I thought that this was even worse than my past art classes. After going to these classes for a few years, I suddenly sparked; drawing became easier and more enjoyable. Quickly, I moved from charcoal on to oil painting. The splashes of color on a canvas made me so happy. From still-life, I moved on to landscape, and then to portrait. I love going to art to learn more and see my pieces come to life, week after week.
Drawing and painting can be seen as more of a traditional, old-fashioned form of visual arts. With the quick, technological progressions happening in our world, I thought that graphic design would give me a new insight on a contemporary form of art. Just in the past few months, I’ve gotten to learn how to use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and many more softwares I had never even heard of. We’ve gotten to make our school posters, different logos, our own fonts, and stickers! Not only is getting to learn a new art form exhiliterating, but the community I’ve gotten to know is also amazing. I’ve gotten to build a great rapport with my teacher, and he helps me think of ideas, not only for digital designs, but also names for my paintings, or ideas for new pieces that I’m creating. I’ve built friendships with talented upperclassmen who bring so much joy into every class period, and most importantly, learned a new art form that I’ll be able to use forever.
All these forms of visual art have sparked new joys, taught me new lessons, and have opened up countless opportunities in my life.