Yihan Ding ’22 Explores Non-Conformity in Her Art


Yihan Ding '22

Ding’s newest work, “Cabin Fever No. 1,” with charcoal, pastel, and ink on toned blue paper.

Yihan Ding ’22 is a four-year senior from Woodbury, New York. Partaking in visual art for four years, Ding is currently enrolled in AR382S, Honors Studio Art Portfolio. She has worked at multiple art galleries and museums over the summer, such as the Nassau County Museum of Art and the Suzhou Museum of Art. At school, Ding is the head of Art Club and Quiz Bowl. Next year, she will continue to pursue Art at Stanford University.

Where did you first find your passion for visual art?
I have been drawing and painting since kindergarten, and my first memories from first grade were all related to visual art. This is something I have enjoyed doing from a young age because it was a relaxing outlet for me to focus on something that’s not school. As I recorded life and my family, art became a second language and vessel through which I can express my emotions and feelings.

What is your art style?

I would say I’m still exploring my style, but I definitely like to be bold. I come from a traditional background and was trained at a classical art school, so I try to be a little bit experimental and go out of the box. At the same time, I do still have certain expectations for my art: I want it to look somewhat realistic and resemble what I’m trying to get at.

Are there any people that have helped you reach your visual art goals? What have they done to help you?
My sister, mom, and dad have been great models for me when I needed some reference. Mr. Bradley Faus, director of the art program, always brings us leftover advisory snacks on Wednesday and has been an understanding teacher and mentor. Other
people who have helped me are my friends and those who volunteered for my current portrait project — Mr. Andrew D’Ambrosio, head of the humanities and social sciences department, Scout McKibben, and Nick Astorian ’22.

How has Hotchkiss helped you become a better art student?

The school prides itself in having a program that’s very forward-thinking, interdisciplinary, and different. I personally like to think of it as a Renaissance program because it makes you learn a little bit of everything. Taking the Humanities core classes my first two years, I was exposed to a lot of knowledge in English literature, philosophy, and history that I never would have thought of incorporating into my art. The structure of the art program also allowed me to approach my subject matter in creative ways and look at the world through different lenses.

What are some advice you have for incoming visual art students?
Keep a sketchbook with you so you can keep track of the interesting ideas that come to you at the most random times. Some of my best ideas were developed when I wasn’t actively trying to come up with them. You certainly don’t have to create a piece out of every idea or experience, but they will be helpful to revisit in the future whenever you need inspiration. When you look at these ideas from a long time ago, you would realize that they were actually pretty brilliant. As you grow as an artist, you will discover that you will have a completely different understanding of the subject matter.