Spotlight on Artist Amy Zhu
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature a drawing made by Amy Zhu from Mission San Jose High School in Freedmont, 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 concentrations—AP 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 a drawing made by Amy Zhu from Mission San Jose High School in Freedmont, California.
Here’s Amy’s statement on the work:
“In popular media, eating disorders are often simplified to their symptoms. However, such behaviors are symptomatic of a legitimate and debilitating mental illness.
“As much as we like to look back on our younger selves as different versions of us, we are a constant in our own lives. My investigation focused on my experience with an eating disorder and recovery. Learning complete self-acceptance was a pivotal moment in my recovery, and at age 17, I had to completely redefine my relationship with myself.
“The water in this drawing symbolizes purity and a sense of rebirth as fractured, self-antagonizing parts of me morph into a complete figure. From this, there is the beginning of a new, whole being that we can see in the water’s true and reflective surface. It is easy to become encumbered by self-judgment, and I wanted this piece to depict that critical moment of realizing self-acceptance as a way to heal.”
And here are a few other works from Amy’s portfolio:
I wanted to capture the excitement and controlled chaos of a wrestling tournament.
Depicts the uncontrolled nature of binge eating using the production of foie gras as a parallel.
Demonstrates the anxiety and fearfulness people with eating disorders experience during meals.
Portrays the isolating nature of eating disorders. People struggling will withdraw from others.
Shows the chaotic, overwhelming monotony of being deep within an eating disorder.
I am being weighed at two different points in my life, one ready to wrestle and one hospitalized.
A painting of my favorite, most practiced, and best-known wrestling move, the double leg takedown.
A life-size self-portrait to mark the end to my tumultuous journey. I live-painted this entire piece. I set up a mirror from which I would paint my reflection.
Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.