The (silver) key to success

January 27, 2022

Yiran “Evelyn” Mao ’23 made a name for herself in the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards, earning two silver keys and two honorable mentions for her digital artwork.

Titled “Chinese Culture,” Mao received inspiration for her four digital paintings from movies, ancient Chinese scriptures, and her own imagination.

The digital painting of two Peking opera actors, which earned her one of the silver keys, is from a scene from Mao’s favorite movie, “Farewell My Concubine.” The second digital art to earn a silver key was inspired by the ancient Chinese scripture, “Classics of Mountains and Seas.” The deer in the painting is said to be a monster that can flood villages.

The artwork earning her honorable mentions stemmed from her own imagination, with inspiration from tattoos and Chinese elements. The other, showcasing a Tibetan Buddah, is a gift to Mark Cheong, Cheshire Academy’s director of residential life. The script in the background of the work reminds people to be peaceful. Mao quipped that she is giving Mr. Cheong the artwork to show that her calligraphy is “much better than his.”

Mao spent 10 years learning traditional Chinese painting at home. At CA, she chose to mimic traditional method through digital art. As for the practice, Mao says it’s more of a hobby. “I don’t want myself to have too much pressure when it comes to things I like. Getting the four awards was a big surprise for me and gives me more confidence (in my work).”

Mao and the other award winners’ works will be on display at the Hartford Art School’s Silpe Gallery from Jan. 18 – Feb. 4. A virtual awards celebration is scheduled for Feb. 12.