AP Studio Art Draws in Upcoming Artists


Photo courtesy Catherine Zheng

Ms. Manfull, AP Studio Art teacher, draws along with her class.

As the new school year is upon us, classes have commenced. The art department has been eager to return to the classroom as many talented artists return to school, namely, the AP Studio Art students. Flintridge Prep art teacher Ms. Manfull is embarking on her 5th year at the school and will be teaching the highest level of Prep’s drawing course, AP Studio Art: Drawing. She is looking forward to seeing her students express their creativity with pen and paper as they follow the comprehensive and advanced curriculum.

“I’m excited for second semester when I can relax […] and focus on my art,” said AP Studio Art student and senior Kailyn Chiu. When speaking about the mindset and process that she goes through to create distinctive pieces of art, she said, “I’d say it’s 10 percent talent and 90 percent hard work because as creative as you can be, if you don’t have the right skills it’s never going to turn out how you want it to.” Elaborating on the current progress of the class, she said, “Right now, we’re doing a project where we are filling a sketchbook using a theme. We’re going to fill out ten sketches of one theme so that we can start to develop our idea of our concentration which is the 12 portfolio pieces.” While she is now an experienced artist, Chiu did not downplay the dedication it takes to be prepared for AP Studio Art. She reflected, “I’ve been drawing since I was four years old. It’s just practice. For drawing, you need to gain the technique. If you have the creativity, you still need to learn the technique.”

Kailyn Chiu ’19 draws intently in her sketchbook.

Ms. Manfull stepped in to provide some background on the curriculum and aim of the class, “This year, the portfolio for AP Studio Art is twelve artworks to show that you tried out a bunch of different mediums as well as different kinds of themes, so like portraits or exploring political themes.” When inquired about how she creates an environment where students can express their creative side, Manfull stated, “I just want to make sure those students have as little stress as possible and enjoy what they make.”

Torres Shi ’19 added, “AP Studio Art allows us to do more of what we want. So I want to explore more in drawing and painting. I want to try more materials and mediums.” In addition, Shi gave us insight into his current project. “My theme is city streets, so what I am doing now is drawing city streets from 10 different perspectives: high angle, low angle, side view, and so on.” On top of the intricate projects artists embark on in AP Studio Art, Shi warned that the process of coming up with an idea is equally as daunting, “I think the hardest part is creating an idea to draw because everything else is just having the skill which we have practiced a lot. We spend most of our time coming up with an idea.”

Photo courtesy Catherine Zheng
Torres Shi ’19 listens to music as he concentrates on his art.

With an eye towards the future, Shi revealed that he and fellow classmates are still growing as artists, “With practice, we are just getting better at coming up with ideas.” As the students of AP Studio Art will eventually showcase their art, Shi noted the takeaway he himself wants to see, “I want people to understand and get a sense of what I am doing. I want to connect to other people through abstract ideas.”

Chiu also reflected on what she wants to see this year—“Creating 12 pieces of art that mean something to me and follow a theme that I’ve come up with and being able to develop it. Sending [pieces of art] in for people to critique is really cool.” Chiu told us that art has a larger presence in her life as an artist because it extends into other aspects of her life: “Visuals are the way I learn, so drawing really helps. I take a lot of classes that require me to draw because it helps me focus, so drawing kind of helps me learn.”

Ms. Manfull concluded, “They [each] have to come up with a set of 12 works which all have to have one theme and a general style, so it’s sort of like a gallery show. That’s what they’re trying to accomplish and this is the most artwork that they’ve made so it’s a pretty big milestone for them.”