Attracted to sketching and painting since kindergarten, Chase kid Grace Chen '19 always feels most at ease behind a blank page - with paintbrush or pencil in hand. Often inspired by nature, Chen spends a good deal of her time at Chase immersed in her artistic pursuits, which include mediums ranging from watercolors to sketched animations.
“I like sketching,” explained Chen, about the form her art most often takes. “But I love colors because they are vibrant and you usually can express more than black and white, but black and white is also good because it creates a kind of mood.”
Chen first became accustomed to experimenting with the palettes and emotional effects of art back home in China. She remembers her grandparents influencing her decision to take two or three years of sketching and acrylic painting classes. And since coming to the United States for high school, Chen expanded her artistic pursuits by taking Drawing and Advanced Studio Art at Chase.
“I changed a lot during the course,” laughed Chen when asked about her Advanced Studio course - one of her favorites. “At first I planned to do more drawing than painting. I planned to do a bunch of portraits with flowers around them but actually found that it didn’t turn out like what I wanted. So, I changed [direction] to do oil paint. I’d never done oil paint before, but Mrs. Carter let me try it, and I’m really happy about it. Whatever you paint, the oil will naturally dry very slowly so you can always go back and make changes if you don’t like [something] - I really like that.”
Another medium Chen recently ventured into playing with is watercolor - using the liquidy pigments to create the page design for this year’s 2018 Alumni Weekend Guestbook, an honor given to a Chase kid each year by the External Relations Department.
“I was really excited and surprised that she [Mrs. Carleton, Director of External Relations] wanted me to do it,” explained Chen. “And also, I felt kind of nervous because I didn’t want to mess it up.”
Deciding to paint a whale, which happens to be the class mascot for this year’s Alumni Weekend honorary class - the Class of 1968 - Chen also incorporated the class motto, “we can because we think we can,” along with as much color as possible. She explained: “I used a brush to create [a sense] of, like, going into the water, but not really water, because of all of the different colors [used].”
Chen took inspiration from the Class of 1968’s Salmagundi yearbook to develop her guestbook design but explained how important it is to her that her artwork is always her own.
“It’s really important that you show your own work,” stated Chen. “That you’ve put your own thought into it is much better than copying other [people’s] work.”
Chen hopes that alumni will enjoy her unique vision when they visit Chase on June 1st & 2nd for Alumni Weekend festivities. And while she doesn’t necessarily plan to study art in college, she does intend for art to be a lifetime hobby.
“I found it [art] is really a way for me to express myself and my emotions,” explained Chen. “It's just like writing - you can do it regularly. It's a way to release your stress.”
Are you a Chase alumni looking for more information about Alumni Weekend 2018? Find the schedule of events and registration information here: http://bit.ly/ChaseAlumniWkdRSVP
~Kelly Ann Oleksiw
Digital & Social Media Specialist