Look at This!

NASH featured artist Gloria Wang


photo by Gloria Wang

Senior Gloria Wang is one of the outstanding artists at NASH.

Senior Gloria Wang discovered her love of art at a young age. From her first brush with art, she knew this was a passion she would carry with her for many years to come.

“I got started in art before I knew my ABC’s,” Wang said. “When I was three, I would see my older siblings bring home art projects from school and they were always so good, so I would try to recreate their pieces at home. Granted, they weren’t good, but it was the first time I decided I like pretty pictures.”

From those small beginnings, she began to work on and improve her skills.

“I guess I would say I started off self-taught,” Wang said. “Mediums like acrylic paint and colored pencil aren’t too hard to figure out, but oil paint, my favorite medium, I learned at this Chinese studio taught by Wen Gao, who was an art professor back in China. He’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met and has lived so much life, and his artistic ability is phenomenal. I could only wish to be as talented as him.”

Wang applies the technique she learned to her work still to this day.

This is my first ever oil painting that I made in sophomore year, and it won a Scholastic Gold Key, which was pretty exciting for me. I asked my neighbor if I could borrow her sister as a model and got to work,” she said. “At the time, I was obsessed with making paper boats out of all the extra paper in my backpack, and it reminded me of when I’d do the same in elementary school.”

Gloria Wang

Wang finds inspiration in the world around her.

“I’m inspired by what I’m surrounded by,” she said. “I mostly create realism pieces, and it’s often portraits of friends or family and landscape scenes of familiar places–generally just things that are important to me.”

Below is an acrylic painting titled “Forbes Avenue.”

“[This is the] first non-portrait piece I’m really proud of, except I never actually finished it–don’t tell anyone,” Wang said. “It’s a landscape painting of a street I imagine a lot of people at NASH are familiar with: Forbes. I’ve walked down here quite a bit and thought it would be a nice tribute to a place I see so often.”

Gloria Wang

To Wang, art is a personal medium.

Art is something I really only do for myself. I like sketching in my notes–sorry teachers–and doing nail art and scrapbooking, and when I do fine arts it’s mostly representational of something personal to me,” she said. “It’s a way of capturing my memories in a tangible form I guess. I would say it’s pretty rare that I create art that’s meant for others before me–a little selfish, I know!”

The NASH senior possesses the skills to translate her personal experiences into her art.

[This is a] self-portrait study–first completed self-portrait I’ve ever done. I posed myself in my bedroom with all my favorite childhood dolls in the background,” she said. “I wanted this to feel very child-like, and a bit of a clash between past and present.”

Gloria Wang

Below is another delving into Wang’s childhood.

“I guess this continues the series of ‘things that remind Gloria of early childhood,’” she said. “I’ve done traditional Chinese since I was three years old, and my first ever performance was this cute dance called ‘Under the Sun.’ When I found some old photos, I knew I had to make it a painting–it’s just full of good memories.”

Gloria Wang

Despite her personal and intimate art style, Wang has also created works influenced by current events to reach others.

“Remember when I said I mostly do art for myself first before others? This is one of the only exceptions. I painted this in June 2020 during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. I remember having this idea where the people around me could contribute to an art piece in a meaningful way, and when I got home that night, I immediately found an unopened bedsheet in my basement and some black acrylic paint, and painted a portrait of George Floyd,” she said. “The next morning, I bought a bottle of red paint and drove downtown, where I ran to the front of the crowd and taped the sheet up, asking people if they would be willing to print their hand on the painting to showcase their feeling of peace and solidarity. It was a really crazy experience for me, and I’d never done anything like it, but I’m so glad that my idea was successful and that it really touched some people.”

The piece, “And None Were Violent,” gained much attention, and Wang was even featured on the news, although not everyone showcased her art respectfully.

I remember telling people they could print anywhere but his face, to be respectful, and a news anchor asked a Black man if he could print his hand on Floyd’s forehead for a performative photo op,” she said. “It made me pretty upset when they didn’t listen to me, and it wasn’t a great photo either.”

Gloria Wang

Wang is skilled in many different art forms.

“In fine arts, I love using oil paint and I love portraits. I think capturing someone’s likeness is something really special, and oil paint just blends beautifully,” she said. “Outside of the fine arts realm, I love doing my nails in my free time too. It’s like my self-care time and I think it’s really fun.”

Below is a portrait titled “Ye Ye.”

“’Ye Ye’ means ‘grandpa’ in mandarin, so this is pretty obviously a representational portrait of my grandfather,” Wang said. “This is part of a generational ‘legacy’ series I’ve been working on, where I took the idea of being a first-generation American and being apart from my extended family, not really knowing any of them besides the stories I’ve heard, and how I remember them. I wish I knew more about my grandfather, but I honestly mostly know him for his smoking addiction, so that’s how I captured him.”

Gloria Wang

As a senior, Wang is still considering going into the arts in the future.

“I’ve considered pursuing design as a career as it’s a very happy medium between creativity and tech, and it’s a growing field that’s becoming increasingly valued,” she said. “I’m still debating whether or not I will just because of the nature of relying on creativity for income. I imagine it can get stressful when there’s artist’s block, but I think it’s also a job I could really love. I still have to do some debating.”

Wang is a creative and energetic artist, open to ideas and quickly making her vision come to life.

“I kind of do art in bursts. I don’t like feeling pressured to create, so when I have inspiration for a piece, I immediately go to my make-shift studio and finish it as fast as I can,” she said. “When that happens, it can take as little as three hours to as long as a week, but there’s not a consistent amount of time I spend on art, unless you count my time in NASH’s AP Art class.”

More of Wang’s art can be found on her Instagram page, @gloriawang.jpg.