AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Ken Xiaofu Wu

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features an illustration made by Ken Xiaofu Wu from Southland Christian School in Rowland Heights, 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 Ken Xiaofu Wu from Southland Christian School in Rowland Heights, California.

Black and white drawing of three men in hospital beds hooked up to machines

Here’s Xiaofu’s statement on the work:

“My artwork is called ‘The Future Life.’ It is created to exhibit another aspect of my concentration: addiction. For the process, I draw the general composition in pencil, and lastly, it is finished with ink.

“The artwork is trying to portray a future, which people are addicted to the desire of junk food, with the expanded social issue: overweight. What’s also important, It reminds people that addiction is an ideology leading to bad consequences.

“This artwork explores the further understanding of the addiction, it is also meeting lots of struggles at the same time. Back in the day, I was trying to show a different form of addiction; however, I found out that what’s in people’s minds is much more important to show off than what attracted them. Therefore, I was focused on how people actively satisfy their desire rather than showing the attraction of the object.

“This year is very special and inspiring for me; the AP program and principal guide me on how to think deeply and precisely. What’s more, I am glad that I grow more experience and knowledge in making art.”

Here’s Xiaofu’s teacher Hyun Ju Park on Xiaofu’s work:

“A remote learning environment allowed my students to spend more time researching and reflecting on their inquiry. My students and I found the online tools given by College Board was very helpful and easy to follow. As a class, we tried to review many sample portfolios from past years to deepen our understanding of our expectations. In class, my students spent one day researching their inquiries and making small sketches. Other days, they shared their thoughts and experimentations with me before sharing them with the class. I had weekly meetings with each individual student during their art-making process. Each Friday, we spend time giving feedback to each other.

“The school and principal gave us an opportunity to open a small art show at our high school. Additionally, we created an online gallery for those who could not join us in person and decorated the art room as a small museum. Most of my formative assessments were small presentations about findings and sketches. My summative assessments were the final class presentation about their concentration. We dedicated this time to give more feedback and celebrate small personal achievements. We also spend time making more corrections if needed. I had the opportunity to invite other art teachers, administration, the marketing team, and parents to support and celebrate my student's work. I believe that having a calendar with expected due dates and important deadlines is very beneficial for my students. Students know their expectations and are excited about their achievements as time processes. I am so proud of how Xiaofu was able to enjoy this class and showed excellence through his work.”

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

Black and white drawing of an emaciated man sitting on a bed in a crowded room

The main idea shows addiction toward drug causing poverty and dilemma. For better performance, I focus to portray facial expression of the poor and details of cage house.

Black and white drawing of a grinning man standing in a crowd

I want to demonstrate how addiction changes people the view of the world and cause illusion. To better demonstrate the illusion, I add the clown element and reverse view to reflect it.

Black and white drawing of a man at a roulette table surrounded by people and machines

I portrayed a man who is losing his property and family because of gambling.

Black and white drawing of three sailors in a stylized urban street scene

I want to portray that how strong addiction makes people seen alcohol and cigarette as best friends. I drew the picture as '90s style, and it demonstrates the alcohol and cigarette bringing the trouble.

Black and white drawing of a large figure with the words stop it! underneath

I want to show off the aggressiveness of cigarette and alcohol. I got idea from the old fashion propaganda, and it can intensify the hardship of the addiction.

Black and white drawing of a man imagining a superhero and bus while another man looks on

I drew smoke and smaller objects to represent daydreaming.

Black and white drawing of someone working out

I drew a teenager working out in the gym.

Black and white drawing of a large classroom full of students at desks seen from the back of the room

I drew students who are exhausted in school.

Black and white drawing of a child surrounded by nefarious machines

I portrayed devices as snakes to express the negative effects in children.

Black and white drawing of a person standing on top of a building surrounded by others doing the same

To better catch the attention, I used the tree points perspective composition.

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