PEN Art Student Earns National Recognition
• Student artwork qualifies to be chosen for U.S. Postal Stamp. Peninsula High School junior Ari Cho has been named one of the winners of the 2018 California Junio r Duck Stamp competition by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
She received the esteemed title of Best of Show in California last month. Her Hooded Merganser will compete with other Best in Show artists at the Nationals in Washington, D.C.
Winner of the Nationals will be given the honor of having their piece displayed in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp collection.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strives to “conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.”
By creating this competition, the Service “is raising awareness for the wildlife that may be potentially in danger of becoming extinct. It also gives young artists a way to learn about the importance of wildlife.”
“After hearing about [the competition] from my art teacher,” Cho said, “I researched many different types of ducks to draw. The Hooded Merganser stood out to me since the purpose of the competition was to make the painting into a stamp. I learned about the environment of the duck and decided to make the background as simple as possible so that the duck would stand out,” she said.
Cho started taking art lessons at a very young age and, she said, found that it was an outlet for her to express herself in a way she could not do otherwise.
Her family members all enjoy art, and she is surrounded by artists who encourage her to keep painting.
“Art has always been my escape,” Cho said. “When I pick up my paintbrush, I focus only on my canvas and my ideas. The blankness of the canvas in front of me allows me to begin something new and unique.”
Cho takes lessons three times a week for four hours or more and is focusing on creating her portfolio for college. She said she does not exactly know what is in store for the future, but she believes her art can make an impact on the world and wants to continue to be able to express herself through each piece.
“To me, art is a nonverbal way of communication,” Cho said. “It is me being able to express every emotion I feel where words would not be able to suffice. It can also give me the platform to share my ideas with others if I cannot explain it in coherent sentences.”
- Written by Nina Li