The dexterity of art is one not many are able to conquer, but those who do are able to truly turn a piece of paper into a masterpiece. With charcoal as his weapon of choice, sophomore Alex Gu has been drawing since he was very young, allowing him to better his craft one day at a time, every day working towards his artistic goals. Through his journey as an charcoalist, his passion for art has been able to flourish as he has matured.
Beginning at a young age, his zeal has grown through his dedication, consistency and enthusiasm. “I started drawing when I was five years old,” he said. “My mom sent me to an art teacher and I’m still his student today.” Gu’s hyperrealistic art is displayed on his Instagram account @_artgu_. Gu says his sources for inspiration can be anything and everything he sees around him. Because of that, he must always make sure to keep an attentive eye out wherever he goes. “I draw my inspiration from my observations of the behavior of people around me,” Gu said.
Art has surrounded Gu throughout his life, and he enters his art in a variety of competitions. “I’m most proud of a piece I did in the spring that won first place in a competition in Los Angeles,” Gu said. “The piece took me 30 hours, and I spent most of my spring break working on [it].” The prompt for the competition instructed competitors to portray some jobs they saw Chinese Americans working in. With his dedication and showcasing of many occupations, Gu’s piece was able to impress the judges and win the competition.
Gu struggles with fitting art into his everyday schedule. “The hardest part is definitely balancing art and schoolwork,” Gu said. “I spend close to 12 hours a week on art, which can rise to 20 hours a week before the deadline for big competitions such as Young Arts [competition] or [the] Scholastic [Art and Writing Awards].” But because he has been drawing since he was five years old, along the way, he has learned how to deal with that burden. “I have learned to plan my time for all of my extracurriculars and schoolwork,” he said.
Gu has discovered that the key to persevering in his art is having intrinsic motivation. “You should make art you enjoy, so you’re motivated to keep onpracticing,” he said.
Gu treats art as a form of expression, sending a message to the audience. “Art is a way for me to add my opinion to the table and express my ideas,” Gu said.
Looking to his future and how art plays into it, Gu is unsure of any wishes to pursue it. “I’m going to create an art portfolio to apply for college, but it is unlikely I will continue art in college,” he said. “After college, I doubt I’ll have time for art, which is why I try to make the most of the free time I havein the present.”
At the end of the day, art pays off for those who are committed to it. To Gu, it is a window to the human psyche, a way to express oneself creatively and, most importantly, a way to bring people together. “I’ve met a lot of my close friends through my art teacher,” Gu said. “Art is just who I am.”