AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Lauren Li

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features an illustration made by Lauren Li from Temple City High School in Temple City, California.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature an illustration made by Lauren Li from Temple City High School in Temple City, California.

Here’s Lauren’s statement on the work:

“My sustained investigation regards covid’s impact on students lives.

“I named this piece ‘Reach Out.’ For my final sustained investigation, I wanted to portray a personal lesson that I learned from my experiences during covid. I wanted to show that it is important to reach out when under stressful times, and this can be shown through the mental health pamphlets. I also used brighter colors that contrasted my previous pieces that use more cold or dull colors. Furthermore, I emphasized lighting to give a hopeful mood, and used a plant budding to also give a symbol of hope to my piece.

Illustration of a young woman with her arm around an older woman, seen from behind, sitting on a bed as they look out the window

Illustration of a young man wearing a face mask, seen in a bathroom mirror reflection, as he washes his hands at a sink

Illustration of a young woman wearing a face mask and standing at the front of a classroom with the word Begin projected behind her

Expression and emphasis on lighting used to show anxiety felt from presenting.

Three high school students seated at school desks, seen from the side, alongside a wall where posters of aphorisms are posted

Showing lack of motivation felt by students coming back to school from quarantine.

Illustration of a young woman wearing a face mask with her back against a school wall, off the hallway, where she closes her eyes in exhaustion and anxiety

Use of perspective and open doors to show fear of going back into classroom settings.

Illustration of a young man wearing a face mask, with his hands on his head and face as he tries to collect himself alone in a stall

To show worsened mental health of students after covid.

Illustration of a young woman laying on a couch looking at a phone while a young boy tries to get her attention

Show how phone addiction can lead to isolation from family members.

Illustration of a couple arguing by an apartment door as their two kids look on

Framing of parents arguing around children to show how parents' bad relationship affects their kids.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.

"At the beginning of the year, covid was still a prevalent and concerning issue. I wanted to portray the paranoia of staying clean in fear of becoming infected. I decided to use cold colors to emphasize this chilling feeling. I also decided to exaggerate the amount of soap and water to display this growing paranoia of many students. In addition, I utilized the signs and posters in my piece that I have seen in my own school bathrooms that have been translated in multiple languages to get the message across to multiple students of different cultural backgrounds. I titled this piece ‘Wash Your Hands!’"

And here are a few other works from Lauren’s portfolio: