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Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Art spotlight: Anna Han explores sense of self in final Branson portfolio

Sunshine+Girl+by+Anna+Han.+The+painting+is+displayed+in+the+New+House+Art+Gallery.+Courtesy+of+Anna+Han.
“Sunshine Girl” by Anna Han. The painting is displayed in the New House Art Gallery. Courtesy of Anna Han.

As her Branson experience comes to an end, Anna Han wraps up her art portfolio for college and reflects on her most personally significant artwork.

Han employs a variety of styles and mediums to explore and express her sense of self in her portfolio.

She begins her artistic process by creating a rough conceptual idea of what she wants to paint. She selects her materials and general topic in the beginning, but the concept often changes and refines as the painting progresses.

“The concept follows the painting, maybe it’s just because I’m indecisive, but I like that,” she said. 

Han gains inspiration for her paintings from numerous sources, including her own life experiences, social media, and other artists. One artist who inspires her is Liu Xiao Dong, a Chinese artist who specializes in portraying everyday people. 

“His art is not super abstract, it’s not contrived, so I really like that. It feels super real and relatable,” she said.

Han’s chosen theme for this portfolio is her sense of self. Each piece of art captures her life experiences and parts of her identity, which she often expresses using self-portraiture.

“People don’t really reflect on themselves for long periods of time,” Han said. “It’s new, it’s provocative, to do self-portraits because I can see what other people are seeing about myself.”

Han began working on this portfolio two years ago, and has compiled 19 pieces of artwork for it since then. One of her favorite pieces is called “Sunshine Girl,” depicting a moment with a friend during the pandemic. 

“I feel like, generally, people would like this one,” Han said. “It’s warm, it’s happy.” 

In this painting, Han focused on capturing the interplay of light and shadow. She also used blue in the highlights to accentuate the warm tones of the rest of the painting, which convey the happiness of the moment. 

“Palm Girl” by Anna Han. The painting is displayed in the New House Art Gallery. (Hannah Hodges)

Another painting in the portfolio is “Palm Girl,” an abstract scene that represents Han’s feelings of imprisonment by external pressures and her own perfectionism. 

“I often feel like others expect me to always feel happy, especially my mom,” Han said, “but it’s hard for me to ignore hard feelings, so through this painting I explored the struggle between my own internal battles and others’ expectations for me to appear happy.”

The painting is inspired by a story from Chinese mythology that Han grew up with, “The Monkey King.”

In the story, the Monkey King gets trapped under the Buddha’s hand because he was causing trouble. This imprisoning hand corresponds to the spiraled palm in Han’s composition of “Palm Girl.”

“One struggle that I have is choosing between doing a painting like [Sunshine Girl] and a painting like [“Palm Girl”] because [“Palm Girl”] is really conceptually deep but [“Sunshine Girl”] is just nice to look at.”

Along with “Palm Girl” and “Sunshine Girl,” Han’s portfolio would not be complete without “Multiplicity Girl.” This painting highlights specific, significant moments in her life that reveal different aspects of her identity that sprouted from her journey moving from China to America. It features sketches of her childhood, as well as her favorite Chinese and English song lyrics.

“Multiplicity Girl” by Anna Han. The painting is displayed in the New House Art Gallery. (Hannah Hodges)

“Music is a big part of my life, and so I tried to use it to capture the essence of my double culture,” Han said.

Han is currently working on the final piece of the portfolio, a collage of pictures of herself that were taken by herself or others, contrasting how she presents herself on social media with how she appears to others when they are taking her picture. 

Having started painting classes when she was 5 years old, Han plans to continue creating art after high school. 

“It’s just a hobby, and I think it will always be like that,” Han said. “I don’t want it to be something where I’m competing with other people. I think I would run out of inspiration. But yeah, I’ll always be doing art.”

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Hannah Hodges, Games Editor

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    Catherine PedneaultNov 15, 2023 at 9:38 am

    Beautiful art, beautiful article.

    Thank you for sharing your talents, Anna and Hannah!