Brush strokes across the world

Xiaoyi Zhu is an accomplished artist in both China and the United States

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Imagine being nine years old. You’re starting at a new school, in a new country with a new language that you barely speak. No matter how hard life gets, you still do your best.  For Xiaoyi Zhu ‘22 this thought is reality. When Zhu was nine years old, her family moved 7,708 miles from Kunming, Yunnan, China to Iowa City, Iowa. Art entered her life when she celebrated the ancient Chinese tradition, Zhuazhou; on a child’s first birthday they pick one of many items to see which will influence their future, Zhu chose a pencil as her object. This was when art entered her life and became a vital element in her life.

“{My} favorite artist is Kelly Reemtsen, her paintings are aesthetically pleasing. My umbrella painting is a model from her.”

— Xiaoyi Zhu '22

Art has became a major part of Zhu’s life.“I think her art benefits her a lot socially and mentally. Xiaoyi is a very introverted and shy person, and art is one of the few ways she can express her opinions, thoughts, and ideas without having to speak them out loud. I also believe that through art, she has become a more influential person and has also gained a large amount self confidence, in which I’m extremely proud of her for that.” Zoey Guo ‘22, said about Zhu.

Zhu considers art a hobby but that doesn’t stop her from working on her technique. When Zhu still lived in China, she won the national primary and secondary school painting contest. The topic of the painting was: Giving Back To Mom.

Zhu used  her art to help her transition into a new culture and learn a new language. “Sometimes when I didn’t know how to say something, I would draw it and hope they would understand it,” Zhu said.  

“{My} favorite artist is Kelly Reemtsen, her paintings are aesthetically pleasing. My umbrella painting is a model from her.” Zhu said.

Zhu does not limit herself to just painting and drawing; she has been playing the piano for six years and the viola for two.

Zhu’s interests extend beyond just succeeding in the world of fine arts; she also is an avid tennis player and takes honors and AP classes.

Even though the transition to America was hard, Zhu is happy that her family made the transition. She thinks that schools in America have better environments because they do not have as strict of an education system as in China.

“I first learned to draw when I was in preschool, out of all the other activities, I was more interested in drawing. I don’t know, it just came to me. Everyday when I went home, I would do nothing but draw on the walls, I think I probably drew on every single wall. I also have some doodles at my grandparents’ house. I just think when I draw it just separates me from rest. I would doodle in class and for that moment I just feel all by myself,” Zhu said.

 

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