The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Grinnell Artists: Yi-Chia Wang

People use and interpret art in myriad ways. Yi-Chia Wang ’20 uses art to share her view of the world with those around her.

Wang took her first studio art class in the spring of 2017. The introductory course redefined her perception of studio art, which she had related primarily to sculpting. It exposed her to the vast scope of the world she was engaging in and she realized that she could use a range of media to create her own form of art.

“There is no specific art that I do. There is no set form. Art to me is using different media or techniques to create something new on my own,” Wang said. “From the very beginning, I was doing everything on my own. Putting so much time and effort into creating something that is your own — that’s the beauty of it.”

Wang’s sources of inspiration range from the ordinary to something quite unique. As a child, she mostly stayed at home. Like most other children in the world, she too was afraid of the monsters behind her or under her bed. However, instead of thinking of the unknown as a scary thing, she embraced it and started imagining a friendly rabbit hiding beneath her bed. This rabbit went on to inspire her to recreate scenes from her childhood imaginations, using print media.

However, recreating moments in her life through her art comes with some struggles.

“I usually feel kind of sad when working on my art,” Wang said. “More recently, I feel tired when making my art. While in the process, I stop, think a lot — about college and life, family and friends. Sometimes what I’m thinking makes me sad. But I’m trying to be happy, and hopefully can be happier in the future.”

Wang also cooks specialties from Taiwan and bakes traditional desserts from China.

“I’ve found that I was cooking European dishes back home, but am cooking more home food in Grinnell,” she said. “Loroufan — minced pork rice — especially reminds me of home.”

For Wang, baking is another form of art altogether. The traditional Chinese desserts are quite different from Western pastry, solely because of the ingredients involved in the preparation.

“You’ll very rarely find red beans, lotus seeds and tea in Western pastry,” she said.

Wang is also one of the handful of Grinnellians who visited Tainan, Taiwan over the summer last year. Their mission, led by Professor Craig Quintero, theatre and dance, was to collaboratively develop a site-specific performance in a hotel. Every night, the group staged six performances, each of which had only one audience member. Wang, who sings alto in Grinnell Singers, channeled her passion for music in this performance, too.

“I remember that we had to keep adjusting our performances depending on what the audience gave us,” she said.

Over spring break, Wang will join Quintero, Professor Andrew Kaufman, art and art history, and four other students from the College in Taipei, Taiwan as part of “Just For You,” a special topic interdisciplinary course based on art and performance.

“I have no idea what is going to happen this time. Even last time, we didn’t know what we were going to do there until we got to the hotel,” she said.

Currently, Wang is taking courses in digital media and drawing. She hopes to learn about using different kinds of media and interacting more with people interested in studio art. She is grateful to the people who have been a pillar of support in her life, be it friends or family.

“Honestly, I just want more fun in my life,” she said. “There are people in Grinnell who are so much better than me. But I appreciate this feature, just as I appreciate my mom supporting my decision to pursue studio art.”

When asked about her plans for the future, Wang mentioned her wish to have her own studio for the public.

“Somewhere over the rainbow, I’ll have my own café with a studio in the loft or the basement. A place where everyone can come, relax, appreciate some art, even if it’s not mine. People can stop, pause and think about their lives, without any stress.”

Wang uses a variety of artforms, from print media to baking to singing, to share her view of the world with others. Photo by Helena Gruensteidl
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