AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist YueTong Tsen

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).

This week we feature an illustration by YueTong Tsen from Adrian C. Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California, which was featured in the 2018-19 AP Studio Art online exhibition.

an illustration of a female human-plant hybrid character, with a red flower head and a greenish human body, studying a human bone while taking notes in a lab-like environment full of books, papers, bottles, and research equipment.

YueTong Tsen

Here’s her statement on the piece, which she created using alcohol markers and pens on toned drawing paper:

Prompted to explore the relationship between humans and nature using a triadic color scheme, I created a scene with a plant witch who is studying the anatomy of a human skeleton—a parody of the traditional image of a witch experimenting with botany. I wanted to create an illustrative piece, so I used alcohol markers and pens on a piece of 18x12-inch toned drawing paper. To create the illusion of candlelight, I contrasted the warm hues of the illuminated areas with the cooler hues of the shadows, in addition to stippling. This was my first illustration done with markers, and while I think I’ve successfully conveyed my idea, there’s room for improvement, and I hope to become more fluent in this medium.

And here’s her teacher, Heather Skeels, explaining more about the project that led to YueTong’s piece:

The narrative for this project was Art and Anatomy, where students were asked to explore the idea of incorporating scientific illustration of human skeletons with nature. We watched a Ted Talk by Vanessa Ruiz entitled “The Spellbinding Art of Human Anatomy” for inspiration. The main question posed to the students was “How can the human skeleton be used as a subject to communicate meaningfully about the nature of humanity?” YueTong’s solution was quite interesting. She explored the juxtaposition of nature playing the part of what humans do now in a laboratory, thus manipulating the relationship between the two. She created a beautiful illustrative solution to the thought-provoking relationship between nature and humanity.