Monday, April 22, 2019

Being an Artist at Duke (and in life)

Ever since I was a toddler, I have been an artist. In sixth grade,
I created my first portrait (of Taylor Swift), which sparked
my passion for portraiture and other drawings. Every time I
finished a new drawing, I brought it in for my classmates to
see. There was something so exciting and gratifying about
the way their faces lit up after seeing my work.

Since then, art has been a central part of my identity. At some
moments, it becomes a priority, something at the forefront of
my mind; at others, it acts as more of a hobby. I attended a
very academic private high school, where my main focuses
were good grades and STEM-related activities. But every
Saturday, I found solace at my 3-hour art classes, where I could
express this essential side of myself.

People have always been surprised to find that my two main
interests are math/computer science and art/music. When I
explain how much I enjoy both sides of myself, most people
say that they haven’t met many people so drawn to both
quantitative studies and art. But I have always loved using
both right and left sides of my brain. Honestly, I think that
my interest in math has helped my art, and vice-versa. Years
of drawing and painting classes have given me patience and
attention to detail, which I apply to problem solving in more
quantitative areas of my life.

Coming into Duke this year, I promised that I wouldn’t let
myself lose my love for the arts. Through playing violin in
the orchestra and taking Intermediate Drawing, I have kept
this promise. I’ve also made an effort to experience art forms
outside my comfort zone, like Hoof ‘n Horn musicals and
dance performances. Going to these performances makes me
so happy; it’s amazing to see how incredibly talented Duke
students are. I always encourage my friends to go to these
performances because I do think art is an important part of
the Duke experience. Dance showcases like Street Medicine
and DefMo are always packed for a reason: Duke students are
just so talented and it’s important to celebrate and appreciate

The community of artists at Duke is, at first glance, almost
hidden. But through closer inspection, I’ve found that there
are artists everywhere. When I talk about my love for music
and art, I almost always find people who share these interests
in some way. Not everyone chooses to participate in the arts,
but most at least watch. And from watching, even just one
orchestra concert or dance performance or visual art
exhibition, students can become involved in the arts.

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