Xiaoyan Zhao – Spring 2017 Scholarship Winner

Meet Xiaoyan Zhao, a Senior at the California College of the Arts, who is majoring in Painting and Drawing. We would like to congratulate Ms. Zhao on being the first of our Whitaker Scholarship Alumni, to be selected for a second time as one of the Spring 2017 Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarship recipients:

“In the past year, with exploring the art direction, I had experienced many art practices outside of the school such as participating and selling my paintings at the SFMade Holiday Fair 2015, became the selected artist for the third annual Clyde & Co Community Art Award (two of the three selected artworks are watercolor paintings) and become the fall 2016 scholarship winner of the Whitaker Foundation Scholarship Fund. All these experiences made me more and more confident. I feel so grateful with these opportunities to glimpse the art world outside of the school, because through these opportunities I know myself in a better way, and recognize what kind of art I want to make.

The semester has come to the half way, there is a crucial reason to participate in the Whitaker Foundation Scholarship Program again: the scholarship program is an effective way to test the new idea of my watercolor and art concept, and also the best way to prove myself. The self-criticism of art made me realize that as a practicing artist, the most important point and the first thing for me is to make art that I love, make art that I want, make art from the bottom of my heart instead of creating some “great” arts in order to attract the attention of others or make myself look “important”. Painting is all about “self”. Without “self” or without knowing “self”, my painting will become a kitsch art. “Self” has the ability to make art unique. This kind of “unique purity” has been the key to distinguish each outstanding artist. In order to have the unique condition, “self” has been the theme of my painting. I used to look for this kind of condition from the stories of grandparents and family, but perhaps returning to “self” is the most direct way to keep me away from confusion and reach my uniqueness.

Of course I still have many confusions, but rather escape from it, I choose to face it and show them in my painting, because they are parts of my “unique purity”. You may see my confusions of being an artist, the future, self identity; inferiority and narcissism. All these confusions can be the artistic language and speak for me in my art. I love this expression, and love to share with audiences if they experience resonance in my painting.”

Self Series 1, 2016 ©Xiaoyan Zhao


Self Series 2, 2016 ©Xiaoyan Zhao

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