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AP Drawing
Wesleyan School|Peachtree Corners, Georgia
Elizabeth Tian
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Flooding, Dimensions: 24”x 48”|Material(s): Watercolor and Pen on cut-up watercolor paper, collaged with glue.|Process(es) Layers of twisted and cut-up negative colored blobs that continue overwhelming physical features.|Curatorial Note: Symbolism of society’s pressures are interpreted through various media in this large scale artwork. This abstract drawing explores movement, rhythm, color, shape, and form to enhance the feeling of tension and struggle.

Student statement

The state of mind can be a place of disruptions, brawls, celebrations, or serenity. My portfolio selections explore how tension expresses my constant inner unrest and imbalance. Through my pieces, I want to convey a human tension that people tend to internalize due to a rejection of standing up to society's expectations. Though tension requires mental strain, this tempting, temporary feeling will soon be released because we evolve as we experience it. My exploration of the effects of tension concludes with a relief of this traction. I selected these art pieces simply because they depict a visual strain that reflects one's emotional strain. As an artist, I believe artwork should share emotions with the viewers, becoming interactive mentally. These pieces reflect a worldly, relational movement and an individually unique growth. I emphasize my interpretation of society’s pressures on my well-being by creating visual tension in different media.
"Gasping" is a 22’ x 30’ piece that reveals the accumulation of immense compression inundated by its transfigured surroundings and habitat. The title depicts my struggle to cry out—gasping for relief. The cheeky laughing and screaming mouths, frantic eyeballs, and crooked, yellowed teeth negatively affect how society tries to draw people into what they see, say, and feel. As I escape these features, I constantly feel hesitance, as if when I strive to evacuate, I am choked up by an inconspicuous barricade. As I rely on this unwillingness, I am practically subsumed by a predominant humanity.
"Flooding" is a 48' x 28' piece of watercolor and pens on cut-up watercolor paper, collaged with glue. The conception of this piece depicts a consummation of everything encompassing the world. This piece reflects the overwhelmingly positive and negative natures our surrounding society emulates. Floods tend to symbolize the wrath of an omnipotent force; however, they can also represent a cleansing and rebirth. This piece addresses the negative complexion of an oppressive community that had overflown my opinions with their ideals.
Using different mediums and symbols, I portray a constant mental struggle. To show wavering, tense moments, I implemented the symbolism of suffocating, gasping, boiling, etc. I used monochromatic mixed media and scale to enhance the visual tension, manipulating the foreground, background, texture, and strained/amorphous shapes. I played with unusual combinations of materials like hardware glue with acrylics and yarn intertwined into folders to reflect how one will face uncertainties and unknowns during tension. Not only is using materials found around you livelier and more unique, but it is also eco-friendly. The use of rigid edges provides context to tension in a confined reality. On the other hand, the use of flowing shapes represents the chaos of my internal imbalance and, in the end, a relief from the wariness of my tension. Overestimation of capabilities and time management bolstered the tension of my pieces and my knowledge of tension.
My teacher, Mrs. Brooker, taught me how to experiment outside of the box through the exploration of multiple mediums and the fixation of combining 3-D elements to manipulate 2-D surfaces. I am so grateful that she has allowed me to access a wide range of materials and a deeper understanding of reflecting myself through my pieces. I appreciate our simple moments explaining my conceptual pieces and laughing at my obsession with ducks. Thank you for understanding and accepting how I work through my art and teaching me how to embrace it.
To future AP Art and Design students, I hope you understand that artwork reflects yourself. It does not have to be perfectly made or structurally formed. I can relate to the burdening time limit that overwhelms you. However, you begin to grow and adapt to these constrained time limits as time passes. Art is not a place to make you feel swamped but a place to feel relief.
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Gasping, Sustained lnvestigation, Dimensions: 14” x 21”|Materials: Details of 1- Pen and ink on cardstock paper.|Process(es): Physical features' mockery intensifies my internal distraught and touches on the effects of senses.
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I want to convey a human tension that people tend to internalize due to a rejection to stand up to society's expectations. Though tension requires mental strain, this tempting temporary feeling will soon be released because we evolve as we experience it.
Gasping, Dimensions: 30” x 22”|Materials: Notebook & Pen|ldea(s): The accumulation of immense pressure that is overwhelmed by its constantly changing surroundings|Materials: Pen and ink on cardstock paper|Process(es):
A tight, detailed pen drawing shows the tension of mocking physical features.
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TEacher statement

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Meagan Brooker
Do you know what’s better than having Elizabeth Tian for one year of AP Art? Being blessed to teach her for two! Elizabeth is one of those brilliant, innately gifted, artistic souls. Every decision and brushstroke is intentional and intelligent. Her peers and I are continuously in awe and anticipation of what she will do next. One thing that makes her artwork so good is that she never settles for mediocrity or boring. She dives into the epiphany—for which she intently searches in each piece—in such a way that the ephemeral enigma of her beautiful brain is visible. The tension she explores in these highlighted pieces is palpable, and her creative brilliance shines as she masterfully makes each piece with unique media and technique.
At the beginning of each year, the learning we have scaffolded in our visual art program comes to a pinnacle as they venture into the portfolio—bravely juggling all the creative decisions informing technicality, media, process, and inquiry. I tell AP Art and Design students that my role is to be their biggest artistic encourager and supporter. As we review their ideation for each piece, the best way I can help them is to push them to the best of their ability in all areas and rally them to success while guiding them to do it within the AP Art and Design framework. I appreciate how the new portfolio offers creative freedom while giving students the structure to intellectualize and critically think about their intent and creativity. They are much more willing to be stretched while having creative autonomy. Therefore, I advise students to discover what kind of artmaking is life-giving to them and give them the freedom to run with it because if they aren’t enjoying it, their work and scores will be proof.
At the end of every school year, we host an art show where the AP Art and Design students are the stars. Each artist has their own gallery space showcasing selected work and sustained investigation. During the opening night, they act as docents to attendees, explaining their work and concepts. This is a highlight for students as it is a chance to show off their hard work and receive encouragement from the community. Seeing it all together brings much fulfillment and reinforcement for that last push toward revision and submission. The constructive criticism and response are also helpful toward revision.
One thing I have done to help structure the year and establish a helpful timeline is to give them “IMR” grades for every piece: I= Inquiry, M=Making, R=Reflection. An inquiry (ideation and sketchbook planning) is due for each piece before they begin. The making grade is based on their timeliness, effort, and focus to finish by the due date. The reflection is a writing prompt to record all of their decisions used in the process and intentionality of synthesis.
I have a fantastic support system here at Wesleyan that encourages me to dream big, a stunning studio that enhances the creative process, an arts alliance that helps fund our big dreams, and fellow art teachers who believe that we are created to create.

Principal statement

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Joseph Koch
Our school's AP Art and Design program is a beacon of creative and fine arts excellence. I take immense pride in how it nurtures students' intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic growth while empowering our dedicated teachers, like Meagan Brooker, to inspire young artists. Elizabeth Tian is the perfect example of how Wesleyan students consistently produce exceptional artwork, showcasing technical proficiency and profound conceptual thinking. Elizabeth’s art enriches our school's environment, serving as a testament to the program's success in fostering creative thinking and artistic talent. Meagan Brooker’s dedication to nurturing our students' artistic potential is equally impressive. Mrs. Brooker is a master at creating a nurturing environment that encourages self-expression and exploration, instilling in students the belief that creativity is a powerful tool for personal and societal change. Her tireless efforts resulted in a stream of talented artists who contributed significantly to the world of visual arts, such as Elizabeth. The Wesleyan community believes in the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit; the arts play a vital role in nurturing these aspects. Our school hosts various formal and informal events, such as art exhibitions, gallery openings, music recitals, field trips, and theater performances, enriching our community culturally and intellectually. Our dedication to engagement and participation is evident in numerous extracurricular activities encouraging students to explore further and develop their artistic abilities. These include art clubs, collaborative mural projects, and opportunities to interact with local artists, fostering a sense of belonging and pride in our school community.
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Elizabeth Tian