AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Ray Wang

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features an architectural model made by Ray Wang from Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan.

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 architectural model made by Ray Wang from Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan.

Digital architectural rendering of a triangular building surrounded by trees

Here’s Ray’s statement on the work:

"Although the 21st Century is gradually shifting toward the “green city”, the “city” in many cases, still remains in stark contrast with the natural world. And in a sense, many have become disillusioned with the belief that “city” and nature are and should remain ideologically separate. The disconnection between humans and ecology is one of the primary incentives for senseless environmental destruction.

"'Reforested' represents the potential architecture has in cultivating sustainability, coexistence between the “city” and nature and stands as a critique of anthropocentrism.

"The usage of wood as the primary material embodies sustainability because it has a smaller environmental footprint compared to other traditionally used materials like concrete and steel, which manufacturing accounts for 8% of GHG emissions.

"The pavilion recreates the three sensations one feels when resting against a tree and under a canopy—the mass, verticality, and repetition—creating the feeling of tranquility. And emphasizes the theme of harmony by merging it with a sleek modern look within the pavilion."

Two alternate digital architectural renderings of the same triangular building

Here’s Ray’s teacher Andre Huang on Ray’s work:

"Ray is only a sophomore, but he has shown strong architectural interest since his freshmen year. Ray’s investigation shows a variety of architectural buildings that are well thought out in terms of design and execution, the merge of shapes and aspect that is found in nature with architecture is very exciting. Bridging the idea of sustainability and our inabilities to appreciate nature, Ray seeks to provoke the idea from what humans have done around the world to appreciate the feeling that nature has provided us through architecture. It's always a pleasure working with a student that has a strong interest and set a very clear goal for themselves. Ray is passionate about design and is driven to learn all he could in Rhino and V-ray. By using online tutorials, he was able to advance faster, therefore, experiment with more ways to model in Rhino, he keeps a sketchbook so he can draw and write down ideas as they come at any time during the day. There are no correct ways of working when it comes to designing, there is no particular teaching structure that I implement as most of the students work in very different mediums but one key aspect is that whatever they are making has to be somehow tied to their interest.

"Making the projects personal and meaningful to themselves is what Ray has done with his work. When measuring what they have done and how well they have done it, we look at examples from the past students and work of the masters that use the same or similar materials so there is a correlation in creating a vision of standard for their own work. Our school holds the AP art show every year in the most trafficked area of the school, each student is allowed to select up to five works in their concentration, this allows the students to filter through what they have done and give their own judgment as to which works are stronger and how they can improve on their overall concentration. In my seven years of teaching I have found that the most successful students are the ones that set a clear goal for the teachers to work with and towards but in many that is not the case as they are too young to really know what they want to do and they may give up halfway due to their skill/space/equipment limitation. As art and design educators, we must constantly expand our knowledge in all aspects of making to further the potential in each student."

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

Digital architectural rendering of street lamps shaped like trees, with solar panels at the top of them

Seeking sun cover, the pods are placed asymmetrically provide shade as the sun rotates through space. The curves represent the growth of mushrooms from a central point, and also produces electricity.

Two digital architectural renderings, one top of another, of a rib cage-shaped us stop

My idea was to tie in the forms of animal tusks into the function of a bus-stop, and for activism. I extruded cones and bent them to the create a curved overhang to create shade and a space to rest.

Two digital architectural renderings, one top of another, of a glassy, airy building

The library mimics the space of a twisting canyon because it facilitates the feeling of tranquility. The building is organized in two parts, both sloping/twisting downwards similar to canyons.

Student and teacher statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.