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I am Tiffany, and I came to New York from Taiwan six years ago. None of my family members are artists—they are fishermen, civil servants, tutors, managers, or lawyers. I’ve always remembered how my friend Ruby jeered at my futile attempts to render my stick figures realistic, and how much I admired my cousin’s drawings. In this sense, it’s surprising (even to me) how much a workshop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has transformed me from an introvert who struggled to express how I feel to someone who is now confident in facing new challenges without wallowing (too much) in self-pity and dread. Art allows me to freeze a moment or scene of beauty in time and enjoy it thoroughly both in creating and admiring it.
“Only in New York,” my dad often tells me, “could you have so many opportunities.” I cannot agree more! One door opened to the next, and eventually I found myself progressing particularly when I looked back at the past “me.” When I admit my areas of ignorance about art (just as Socrates saw himself as “unwise”) I eventually gain more knowledge about art—something I believe is higher than life.
It is difficult to name artists who I like, because I know so few of them. However, Peter Paul Rubens comes to mind because I really like his expressive brushstrokes in contrast to the academic style of the Renaissance. But while Impressionism appeals to me visually, it upsets me that it is difficult to find a deeper meaning behind its creation. The anatomical drawings of Raphael awe me with their expert manipulation of line strokes and thickness, especially after I became an architecture student this semester and found even lettering difficult.
In many ways, culture begets art and art begets culture. Thus, as an American, I really appreciate being able to be part of the Whitney Youth Insights Artists program, where I can connect to people with similar interests and learn from them. Hopefully, I will be able to take what I am learning now and carry it with me into the future (I aspire to be a lawyer). My ideal future would be to retire young and retreat into a utopia by the mountains and the sea, where I could have the time to appreciate literature and art through reading and writing, looking and drawing.