Art 101

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

For me the world can have a strangely retentive quality, in which certain places represent the nerve points of my past. When I think of my childhood, I think of the room where I took art lessons, where I first met my art teacher. I see a floral carpet thick with charcoal dust, every surface cluttered by plastic boxes of ancient paint. There is a rotating corkboard cocooned in student work. Nothing on it ever seemed to be removed. Once, I patiently peeled the drawings back, and uncovered a beautiful yellowed sketch of wrinkled denim jeans from 1987, tacked right against the cork. The sketch held a secret.

I could have been six or twelve or fifteen in that memory, so many were the years I spent there. In that place, the air edged with hypnotising turpentine, I always waited for my art teacher’s calm, dry hands to guide mine. She would deftly salvage old castles, traceries of leaves, and subtle hues of skin from my own crude renditions. Ms. Zhuang, my childhood idol, wore a cardigan, tortoiseshell glasses. For Christmas one year, she bought me a 48 set of Derwent colour pencils that I wore to nubs. Once I saw her stumble out of the art room to cry quietly on the phone, for a reason I never found out. I loved her. I hated prawns....

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