Spotlight on Artist Erhan Bao
Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature a pencil work made by Erhan Bao from Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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. In 2020, there is a lot to process and grapple with—and AP Art students have risen to the challenge. The work many of them submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment, from commentary on the covid-19 pandemic to the celebration of people of color to the nature of heroism in perilous times.
The work is often challenging and provocative but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.
This week we feature a pencil work made by Erhan Bao from Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here’s Erhan’s statement on the work:
“‘What does the death look like?’ was the guiding question for my sustained investigation. The answer to the question has been on my mind for so long, it keeps making me wonder. Nobody can tell what death looks like or how it feels, which leads me to more questions, like what color do we see when the time is up? Was that moment painful? What did the body look like after that moment?
“I started freeing myself four years ago when I moved to a brand new place that does not speak or understand my language. I felt the difference between two countries. I have never been out of the country before, so I had an idea of making my art 100% from my mind and ignore all the rules that are telling me what I can’t do. My artworks started to have more and more personal feelings over time, until I found out my uncle passed away in a car accident.
“I lost my uncle a few days before I made this painting, and the aggressive and sad feeling kept tricking my mind when I was drawing. This work is a recreation of the car accident that took three people’s lives. I used woodless pencils experimented with hard pressing pencil marks with erasers. Revised dark emotions with hard dark edges.”
Here’s a video of speaking about the work:
Here’s a video of teacher Kelly Mabel speaking about Erhan’s portfolio:
And here are a few more works from Erhan’s portfolio:
Chaos and order, double side personally, from blur to clear shows the inside on me. Premix Zorn palette, then experimented in an abstract way on one side to show synthesis with reality.
All started with the inspiration of “The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. I revision my view with the story behind it.
Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.