By LAYANN BASILEH
It is wise not to get attached to objects, especially when it comes to Ceramics. This warning comes from Ena Chen (Jr.), who was nominated as April’s Artist of the Month by Ms. Tiffany Huff (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.). Although she was nominated by her Advanced Ceramics teacher, Chen participates in a range of other Uni Arts Core classes such as Advanced Studio Art and Theater Tech, and previously was a member of UHS’s Band. Ms. Huff says “Ena Chen is a real go-getter in the arts. Her work in both 2D and 3D mediums is commendable. That coupled with her intense work ethic and exuberant personality made her my choice for Artist of the Month.”
Chen said that what separates Ceramics from other methods of artistic expression is that “it allows you to just let your hands take the wheel and create whatever you want. You don’t need to be good at it like you would need to be at drawing or singing. Anyone can make anything in Ceramics.”
Being highly involved in the Uni Arts Core has largely influenced Chen’s high school career. She said, “Art in general has taught be to be more particular with everything, and to be more efficient with my time when I’m creating a 2D or 3D piece.” She added sarcastically, “And also not to get too attached to anything, because there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll end up backfiring. My favorite moments in Ceramics are when my pieces don’t blow up [in the kiln].”
Although it’s always encouraging when the piece you’ve put hours of work into comes out of the kiln intact, Chen says that her overall favorite part of her involvement with Uni Arts was her work on the National High School Vans Custom Culture Competition, in which she and several other students competed against other high schools to design blank Vans shoes for a chance to win $50,000 towards their school’s Arts Department.
“Even though it was super stressful and tedious, it was an amazing experience and opportunity as an artist as it allows you to work with people who have an equal or better skill set than yourself. Seeing all of four pairs of shoes combine into one piece of artwork was an amazing sight and was just a great process in general,” she said.
As an artist, Chen draws most of her inspiration from the people around her, as well as her everyday experiences. How she feels about a particular concept is always evident in the final product. “If I really love the idea, I’d work on the piece consistently and want to finish it as fast as possible. For example, in Advanced Studio Art, we had a project where we were given a fortune game that gave us a fortune which was our prompt. I fell in love with my idea and was constantly working on it, even in my academic classes.” Ms. Huff adds, “She [Chen] challenges herself with technically difficult large scale hand-building pieces.”
Although Chen isn’t sure which forms of artistic expression she will pursue after high school, she is certain that the arts she became involved in at UHS will continue to shape her life.