Humble start leads to genius in art

Humble start leads to genius in art

Smitha Gundavajhala

Senior Emily Yi hosts a gallery of her works for the Organization for Special-Needs Families





Housed in a square, fluorescently-lit room near St. Jude’s Church are paintings of all sorts. There are whimsical paintings, serious paintings, surreal paintings and sketches in acrylics, pencil, and watercolor. In the midst of it all is the artist herself—senior Emily Yi.

Yi’s passion for art began very early on. However, she only began to pursue art seriously in her junior year. Since Yi never took art classes at MVHS, she found other ways to improve as an artist. She manages to keep up with her art even with her busy schedule by allotting time in a studio each week to sit and focus on her work.

“It’s kind of a commitment to myself,” Yi said, “I can’t just put it off like I would anything else.”

Nov. 6 was the culmination of these weeks spent at studios, musing over the proverbial canvas. The art gallery was a nonprofit event, where Yi hoped to raise about $200 from the forty or so attendees she expected. The proceeds will benefit the Organization for Special-Needs Families, where she has been volunteering since her junior year. One of her closest friends in elementary school was mentally disabled, so the gallery is especially important to her. Although the gallery contains a variety of pieces of different styles, a common theme shows through in all of the works.

“[The gallery] is called ‘Through the Looking Glass’ because it’s a reflection of myself,” Yi said.

Her favorite piece reflects her taste and style in art. Titled “Fantasia 2010”  after the movie “Fantasia 2000”, the painting is a whirlwind of brightly hued marine life. Yi was listening to “Pines of Rome” by Respighi, her favorite composer, and “splashed” things onto her canvas as they appeared in the song. Since the movie “Fantasia 2000” contained a lot of marine life, she incorporated that into the piece.

Despite her aptitude and affinity for art, Yi does not plan to attend an art college. Part of it comes from the fact that she never took an art class at MVHS, but it is also the stigma that hovers over a career in art. Thankfully, Yi has found a way to keep in touch with her art.

“There’s the [saying] that ‘artists always starve’,” Yi said, “so I want to curate in a private gallery—my own gallery.”

Yi is one of the many aiming to make their imprint on the world of art and is one of the talented few that are largely self-taught and self-driven. With guidance, practice and luck, Yi will not let go of her precious talent.