With a light snap of the wrist, I crack open the book cover and leaf through graphite-packed pages. In a blur, charcoal croquis of neighboring families greets me while fantastical monsters prowl about the pages in high-contrast ink— my amalgamation of reality and fantasy within the pale pages of my sketchbook. But while my sketchbook holds weeks of renderings, I’m on the search towards the end: a blank page.

From portraits to cityscapes, a blank page is the starting point for all drawings. Upon its eggshell reams, I love how an empty page holds infinite possibilities of the artist’s mark— deciding whether the paper’s fate will be a dallying doodle or a complex composition.

Like a blank sheet, I also have many possibilities for my art. I wish to be an illustrator for my favorite novels, but I also discovered the joy of encouraging creativity as a teacher. Inspired by the creative transformation of artists Janelle Feng and Tiffany Weng, I’m considering how art schools and higher education can help mature my artistry and develop my skills. At a more fundamental level, I’ve experimented with acrylics, collages, and sculpture to broaden my horizons outside of ink and graphite. Career, education, medium— these are the areas in which numerous possibilities are laid out for me. With so many options, I find it difficult to narrow down my choices into concrete decisions.

Nevertheless, time is of the essence. As a high school junior, I’m busy developing my portfolio to include pieces that will reflect my skill and potential. However, I cannot truly develop my portfolio if I do not have a clear focus in mind. Unsure how to combine my interests cohesively, I’m at a loss on how to best show myself in my work.

When exploring the Art Students League website, I find myself at ease seeing that I’m not alone. Reading testimonies of other League students and exploring class descriptions by Wendy Shalen and Sherry Camhy, I am inspired by how these artists found a middle ground in their focus and exploration of art. Thus, by attending classes at Art Student League, I seek to both evolve my skills and gain guidance from mentors and peers.

Unfortunately, I must also consider costs. With the recession and unemployment cutting into our savings, my family is racked with worries about having enough for living expenses, let alone class tuition. But with Seeds of League, the chance to explore and grow as an artist will become a reality. From learning portfolio tips from League teachers to strengthening my skill in fundamental techniques, I would be able to participate in these normally inaccessible opportunities.

High School of Art and Design
Cornelia T. Bailey Scholarship-2022

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