Artist of the Issue: Dear Liu ’19


Alex Xu ’19

Dear Liu ’19 displays an art magazine from an artist whom the students met during the China Hotchkiss Art Program.

Senior Dear Liu ’19 has developed a reputation as an avid artist on this campus. She has taken part in visual art classes of the Prep and Lower Mid Humanities program, as well as upper-level art electives, such as AP Portfolio and Advanced Portfolio.

How long have you been doing art?

When I was two years old, I started drawing circles in kindergarten. My teacher was so impressed by my circles that she insisted my parents “get me into art.” From then on, my dad would take me to museums every weekend. Instead of taking classes where the professor teaches the basics of sketching, my dad managed to get a college student at the Central Academy of Fine Arts to watch me while I drew. No one really told what not to do — well, until I came to Hotchkiss.

What mediums do you usually work with, and what is your favorite?

Last year, I worked mainly with oil, because I wasn’t allowed to do that during my Prep and Lower Mid years. As I became more interested in the medium of oil paint, I attempted to utilize the medium’s thickness and long drying time as well as some other tools such as forks and knives. Now, I’m leaning more toward making collages and photography because I can do it anywhere, really.

What are some memorable moments from your art career?

I did an internship last year in New York with the artist Cai Guo Qiang, who had an exhibit at the Prado Museum [the main Spanish national art museum].  It was wonderful, and I learned so much from the experience. He wrote a lot about El Greco [a notable painter, sculptor, and architect of the Spanish Renaissance]. From this, I started to have an interest in 16th century Spanish art, especially how El Greco and Goya [a romantic Spanish artist] went on to influence artists in the 19th century. The fact that art created in a certain period can transcend time to impact the works of others was really interesting, and studying those artists inspired my AP concentration last year.  After being fascinated by the idea of deconstructing certain figures of power, I painted figures that have and may have the authority to restrict my creative freedom, such as teachers. The central idea of my concentration focuses on portraying figures of authority, such as teachers, in casual postures, stripping off their influence as well as the power dynamic between them and me.

After being fascinated by the idea of deconstructing certain figures of power, I painted figures that have and may have the authority to restrict my creative freedom, such as teachers.

What experiences have shaped you as an artist?

The summer after freshman year, I went on the Hotchkiss in Florence arts program. We went to museums, [to see Michelangelo’s] David and everything, but it seemed like we were disconnected [from] the live art scene. Since my family has connections with  art institutions and artists, it was very natural for me to visit their studios growing up. Since I had that, I felt like what was missing [from my studies in school] was a focus on Eastern art, especially Chinese contemporary art. So I thought to myself, why not do something that can give [an] opportunity for students to see how the West and East can almost converse with each other? It’s really interesting to see how they look at things very differently. For example, [in] landscapes with traditional European art, there wouldn’t really be a focus point, whereas in Chinese calligraphy paintings, their paintings are often so wide or so long that it obviously cannot be viewed in one perspective.

Will you continue doing art in college?

I’m definitely going to do art in college. I do ink. on the side, and even though it’s not directly art, it’s about exploring relationships and showcasing work in unfamiliar ways. When I mean “doing art in the future,” it may just be something similar to what I do with ink. I don’t want to do art professionally, but maybe that’ll change. I’m more interested in exploring one’s way of seeing and applying that to all sorts of different disciplines.