10 of the student artists from Shuang Wen

In Their Own Words: Meet the Student Artists behind 'East Meets West: A Look into Our Worlds'

We’re so excited about our latest artists-in-residence — all 28 of them! They’re student artists from Shuang Wen, a dual language elementary and middle school right here in downtown Manhattan, and participants in the after-school Apex for Youth Art Portfolio program taught by art instructor, E-Anna Soong.

We had the chance to ask them what they love about art, how it helps them through tough times, and what inspires them.

Young girl holding a paintbrush to the camera

What do you want to do when you grow up? Do you hope that art will be a part of your job? If so, how?

TIFFANY ZHENG (age 12): I want to be an actress. I want to show people that acting can be a form of art.

ANGELINA WONG (age 11): I want to either be a writer, baker, or doctor because I believe I can do it! I also believe art is a part of those jobs.

MICHELLE CHAN (age 13): I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But I hope art will be part of my job. For example if I have to design a billboard advertising a company.

Young girl holding her papier mache creation

TRACY CHENG (age 15): I want to be a photographer, and I hope art will be in it. The art would be in the pictures I take.

BENEDICT CHEN (age 13): I’d actually rather involve myself in political science than in art. But I'd prefer performing my art than making my art.

CANA JIANG (age 14): I would like to be an animator, illustrator, character designer, a designer, or just any art-related job.

ETHAN CHAN (age 13): My parents constantly tell me to follow a career that I would enjoy. In that case, when I grow up, I would like to have a job where I can help people with problems in their lives. At the same time, make art during any available leisure time.

Students painting a cityscape in the hallway of a school

Has making art ever helped you get through a particularly difficult, busy, happy, sad, or angry time? Tell us a little about it.

TIFFANY Z.: When I am sad, I sometimes ignore the world, completely no connection. Then I just draw whatever is on my mind and just let it get out of me

TIFFANY SZE (age 12): Looking at art makes me calm.

EDWENA TAN (age 11): When I am mad or need to calm down, usually arts or crafts help me because it’s something I enjoy doing.

CANA: Whenever I feel down I draw to cheer myself up or encourage myself that I still have a skill I can cling to.

Two young girls with their art, one painting, the other giving the peace sign

ANGELINA: Sometimes when I feel really sad, or when I’m bummed out, I like to doodle or draw.

ETHAN: Sometimes in times of stress, I like to doodle and draw to assuage the stress.

MICHELLE: In the summer, two months before the SHSAT [Specialized High Schools Admissions Test], I was stressed because I worried I couldn’t get into a specialized school, so I started drawing and it helped me relieve stress.

Three young artists, seated, each holding their papier mache creations

What do you love about making art? What inspires you, and are there certain people in your life that encourage you to make it?

TIFFANY Z.: I love where you can just “create” something, anything, and it’s art. The world inspires me. It has never-ending discoveries. My friends and teachers support me.

JACK: One thing I like about art is that you can’t predict the outcome. For example if you start with a sketch of something that isn’t pleasing, and you paint it, it might make it better than expected. My dad is a tattoo artist so I can see him draw on people which seems fun.

BENEDICT: I love drawing soldiers. Things that inspire me are the traditional and military cultures of Japan, Korea, and China.

TINA LAN (age 14): I like that when making art you can be messy.

A young boy painting with paint on his nose

SUKY LIN (age 12): Making art distracts you from noises around you, for example, a crazy girl trying to sell you a water bottle for three times its price.

MICHELLE: I love when I see the finished product of my art. It shows me how all the time I spent creating that piece of art was worth it. Random graffiti on the store walls inspire me because I like showing multiple drawings all compacted together

ANGELINA: My family encourages me to try hard! And don’t give up so easily.

ETHAN: I find a sense of peace and serenity when making art, which is why I love it. My family, friends and even the environment I learn and live in inspires me.

CANA: Making art is something I cannot leave out of my life. By now it’s just like part of my personality.

TRACY C.: What I like about making art is that there are no rules. You can put whatever color you want and it’s fine. What inspires me is the effort people put in their artwork. Seeing it just makes me want to put more effort too.

East Meets West is on display in our mezzanine gallery from May 20 through July 30.
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