Artist of the Issue: Stella Ren ’22


Stella Ren ’22

Artwork by Stella Ren ’22.

Stella Ren ’22, a four-year Senior from Shanghai, China, is involved in visual art, theatre, and dance. She is currently enrolled in AR492S Honors Advanced Studio Art Portfolio II and also heads  Dance Club, Hotchkiss Political Union, and Triple A.

What motivates you to keep exploring the arts?

It’s hard to explain what exactly motivates me. If I hear music, I literally can’t stop myself from dancing to the beat. Art is also a form of creative relaxation for me. It’s something that I use to escape from all my other monotonous work.

How did you manage to pursue both dance and the visual arts at school? Were there any challenges?

I’ve had a lot of opportunities in visual art. I’m able to go into the art studios whenever I want to draw and paint. However, pursuing dance has been really challenging. When I was a Prep, the school did not offer a dance program. The only dance opportunity available was the winter co-curricular Dance Company. Additionally, I do mostly hip hop, and there are very few students at the school who do the same dance style. In order to find people to dance with, I could only go into the dance studio to find other dancers similar to me. This got better as I gathered friends who also love dancing to start the Dance Club in my Lower Mid year. We wanted to create a space for more students and more types of dance. 

How has the school helped you grow in all aspects of art?

Instruction at the school has been really valuable. The studio art teachers are very patient and are always there to help; the dance company teachers are also really nice. I also participate in theater, so I was able to join the school musical production and the black boxes. The school’s numerous opportunities for trying out new things have helped me grow and enjoy all types of art. We also have excellent peers who guide and learn from each other.

What is the favorite piece you’ve created recently?

I am currently planning and choreographing for the spring dance show. Although I haven’t finished everything yet, I really enjoy working towards the final goal because it has been something I’ve been thinking about since my Prep year. 

What is your favorite type/form of visual art and dance?

For visual art, my style is very experimental and somewhat abstract. I mainly work with acrylic and many other different media as well. For dance, my favorite would be hip hop and its subgenres. For example, I like the dancing jazzy kind of hip hop as well as the traditional ones.

What advice do you have for younger students who are looking to pursue multiple art programs?

Try to make more time for art. Sometimes I would regret spending too much time in the dance and art studio because I worried that I was not doing the “schoolwork” that would give you a grade. Looking back, I really wish I had put in more time for dance and visual art because I feel really passionate about them. And high school is the time to explore what you love. 

In addition, always seek out opportunities, even if you feel like there aren’t many offered. It’s difficult to pursue two different arts at the same time, but there are always ways, such as working on independent projects, joining clubs, starting clubs, and talking to teachers. Everyone here at the school is more than willing to help; you just have to go for it.