Michelle ’10 sits hunched over her easel on the tenth floor of a high-rise in Koreatown, carefully adding paint strokes to her latest creation. On this Saturday afternoon, she’s already been mixing and applying paint for over four hours on a painting of Cinderella looking into her future.
After dedicating six to eight hours most days over the summer to demanding work on her college portfolio, Michelle now spends 22 hours a week improving a diverse skill set through classes at Vision 21, an art and design portfolio school.
Michelle has a clear vision for her career path following graduation. She plans on attending art school and majoring in illustration to pursue a career in communication design and commercial and advertisement art. Because indecisiveness is in her nature, Michelle said that she needs the structure of assignments to guide her creativity. She is currently enrolled in a second year of Senior Thesis art.
Art instructor Chelsea Dean said that Michelle has the ability to take risks in her work. Dean said Michelle’s piece “Big Bang” (displayed in Senioritis) on raw wood shows growth in her body of work. Michelle continued to ask herself how she could push the piece a little further, Dean said. After completing the painting of a realistic gun on wood, at home, Michelle used pliers and a gas burner to burn the text “BIG BANG” onto the wood with a long nail heated over her kitchen stove.
Although she experiments in her art, she also pays great attention to detail, said art instructor Kathy Rea. Her illustration of a monkey and a syringe is a commentary on the study of an AIDS vaccine in a monkey model. Every hair on the monkey is precisely drawn.
“She’s always been a perfectionist,” Rea said. “Trusting herself as an artist allows her to take more risks and feel like there is a payoff.”
Classes at Vision 21 have allowed Michelle this room for creative risk taking and expand in her knowledge through collaboration with other artists. Michelle takes classes that range from foundations, where she works with still life, figure drawing with live models, to illustration technique and design.
“I like that art is really a way for everyone to see your thought process. Especially in commercial and advertising design, what sets a person apart is her views of a certain object or item, and how unique that view is determines how it sells,” Michelle said.