My name is Zoë Forbes, I am a 16-year-old artist, and for years I have heard about the Art Students League from my illustration teachers who have studied there themselves. From these conversations, I’ve learned that the League is a historical building filled with incredible artists, live models, and brilliant teachers. Now I am finally applying for classes, and I could not be more excited.  


“As for my career plans, there is one thing I know for certain: I want to be creating things.”


I just started my junior year of high school and, long story short, things are getting real. College applications are inching closer, the start of my sustained investigation is around the corner, and why is art school $55,000!? These are just a few things that have been echoing in my mind. Studying at the League would be a dream. It would make a tremendous difference for me to practice painting for live models, especially as I am working to expand my portfolio. Painting from life would both enhance my skills and grow my understanding of the artistic process. It is also important for me to step out of my comfort zone and try to paint more full bodies and environments, which I know is possible at the League. As for my career plans, there is one thing I know for certain: I want to be creating things.

There are so many places where I gather inspiration. My parents are two incredible creatives who inspire me regularly. Their passion and drive are infectious. I remember my mother taking me to work with her when I had school days off. I could sit next to her watching her meticulously draw croquis for hours. I distinctly recall the smell of those potent Prismacolor alcohol markers. I am also inspired by artist Jennifer Packer, a painter like me. Packer has undoubtedly been the most influential artist on my creative journey. My mother and I went to her exhibition, The Eye Is Not Satisfied with Seeing, at the Whitney last year and she has been one of my favorite contemporary artists ever since. She is not widely known, but her ability to tell stories through her larger paintings inspires me to use more narrative in my own work. Packer’s bold use of color and texture contrasts beautifully with the figures she paints, in a way that perfectly conveys human emotion.

As I enter junior year, the excitement of applying to collage and starting my sustained investigation is prominent in my mind, and so is the excitement of immersing myself in the vibrant artistic environment of the League, where I know inspiration and knowledge reverberate through its walls.

Dominican / American 
High School of Art & Design
Speilberger Spanierman Scholarship

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