Natalie Zhang and Eunice Lee who were both recognized as 2021 National YoungArts winners.
YoungArts identifies the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts, and provides them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers. Every year thousands of performing, visual, and literary artists ages 15-18 apply to YoungArts, with less than 10% being recognized as a winner. Winners are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process.
Artist Statement from Natalie Zhang:
A major focus of my designs is Asian culture, as it is an important aspect of my identity. Through my artwork, I hope to bring to life common symbols and fragments of history that are underrepresented here in America. My postage stamp set includes two motifs: the red sun of the Japanese flag and the lotus flower (a symbol of religious reincarnation and the purity of spirit). I also utilized a palette of Japan’s national colors. The app icon pack similarly contains various East Asian symbols, each representing a specific app. Some other icons include an abacus for the calculator app, a lantern for the flashlight app, a paper crane for the Twitter app, and a red envelope for the Venmo app. My work is partially inspired by my own Chinese heritage and symbols that are significant to my family. I use my art to connect deeply with my Asian background.
Artist Statement from Eunice Lee:
My pieces involve my inner-reflection and the human subconscious—experience, memories, beliefs—as I highlight the aspects of human identity and psychology that intrigue me. I also inform people of issues I care about, including identity, social pressure, and animal mistreatment. To communicate using art, I try to draw the audience in with an image and then try to make them wonder about its message.
The overarching theme for the works I selected would be the subconscious—we take our limited time for granted (Brevity); we wear makeup without sparing a thought for the animals that suffered under its testing (Innard Beauty); while we may sometimes forget about our roots, they are always a part of our identity (Minhwa); the pandemic caused many to lose their lives and struggle in isolation, but it was also a time of self-discovery and healing for many (Metamorphosis).
Click on each image to view larger.