Artist of the Week: Amelia Ao


Credit: Courtesy of Amelia Ao

Pictured above is one of Ao’s self portraits. Amelia has been drawing for approximately 7 years, and has won many awards. “I just love the safe haven it provides me,” Ao said. “It’s like I can escape all the bad things in life for a period of time when I draw.”

Joyce Wu

A girl sits in front of a blank canvas, pondering her next move. The colored pens and pencils are all lined up neatly beside her, for her convenience. Twirling the pen in her hand, she envisions what the white piece of paper could become. Exhaling, she puts the pen to the paper, slowly but steadily making her vision a reality.

Freshman Amelia Ao started drawing when she was five years old. She has taken private lessons once a week for seven years and is currently taking the Art 1 course at WHS.

“My mom took a group of kids and I to the Museum of Fine Arts [in Boston] when I was about five years old,” Ao said. “All the other kids got really bored quickly and started to fool around and play tag. But, I was mesmerized by the intricate art and paintings that hung on the walls above me. I distinctly remember turning to my mom and saying, ‘Mommy, can I learn how to do that?’”

Ao’s go to medium is drawing, but she occasionally experiments with mixed media and watercolor. She hopes to attempt new mediums in the future, such as ceramics or oil painting.

“I’ve been trying to get into new types of art because I just really want to experience something fresh. I think the reason why I’ve stuck with drawing for so long is because the type of art that I’m best at is drawing but I want to take some risks and try some new stuff this year,” Ao said.

Ao takes inspiration from various artists including Monet, Van Gogh, and most importantly, her private teacher.

“All of those big name artists were revolutionaries. They all stepped outside of their comfort zone and the art that surrounded them to create something entirely new and fresh. They took risks, which paid off massively. And for my teacher, he hasn’t just taught me how to draw. He’s taught me how to love drawing, how to embrace every aspect of drawing, and how to step outside of my comfort zone,” Ao said.

Ao won five Silver Key Awards and four Honorable Mentions from the Scholastic Art Competition.

“I might go to an art school, but we’ll just have to see,” Ao said, “It’s only my freshman year in high school, so I have plenty of time to decide whether or not art and art school is going to be a career choice. It’s definitely an option, though.”

Ao continues to create art because it provides her with a safe haven and helps her escape from stress.

“Through all of the stress of school and other things, I am always happy knowing that I can go home and release my tension through art. Although relaxing, I’ve also really pushed myself to be the best I could possibly be at [drawing]. As my good friend Jesse Wang said, ‘Yesterday, the grass was brown. Today I watered it and made it green. #NeverGiveUp.’ I really live by that. If you want to pursue something, make sure it’s the best it can possibly be, and put a lot of hard work and dedication into it.”