Alice Xiao, a third-year student in the College, has become a well-known figure on campus through her exceptional artistic talents. She’s the co-president for Outside the Lines (OTL) Figure Drawing Club, illustrates comics and graphics for the Chicago Maroon newspaper and even recently received an art grant to install an exhibit of her works through campus.
Xiao recently spoke with Her Campus U Chicago to discuss her artistic background, her inspirations and future plans in the visual arts.:
Her Campus (HC): College students tend to have busy class schedules here, so how do you incorporate your artistic hobbies into your daily life?
Alice Xiao (AX): “Art is a form of relaxation and joy for me, so illustrating or painting feels like a study break more than an additional commitment. It’s also shown me that if I love to do something enough, I’ll sacrifice exorbitant amounts of sleep for it.”
HC: Why do you enjoy expressing yourself through art?
AX: “I like the variety and endless array of choices the artist faces while their piece is in creation. Often I start a piece with only an idea that I want to express, instead of a specific visual outcome that I want to achieve. This indefinite aspect of art creation is what makes the process beautiful and the artwork unique. However, a lot of the art I do on campus tend to not be expressive of my own intentions because they are for a publication or a public website. They are less fun because of their relative limitation on creativity, but they are rewarding in other ways, such as provision of viewership and feedback.”
HC: What is your favorite piece that you have ever created?
AX: “I like a lot of the pieces I’ve created, but simultaneously I’ve never been entirely satisfied with a particular one. I would always see areas that I would want to improve on, and that serves as a motivator for me to continue making art.”
HC: What are your future plans for within art? Do you plan to utilize it in a career?
AX: “I plan to keep art as a prominent part of my life, but I am pursuing something in the field of economics and business for a career. I think art needs to stay separate from my career because I dislike the limitations that commercialization of art places on the artist’s creative liberty. I think the type of traditional, pure creation of images with focus on technique and expression that I enjoy has become obsolete in the design-driven job world of the contemporary artist. It’s looking like my hobby has to stay a hobby, but I’m fine with that.”
HC: Do you have any suggestions to future aspiring artists?
AX: “Everybody is an artist already, so there’s no need to aspire to become one. As long as you have some way of expressing yourself, you’re born with the ability to make art!”