By: Pranav Nair
Each stroke from Lily Huang’s brush is delicately precise––creating vibrant paintings that come to life. To Huang, art isn’t just the picturesque scenery one might see on a postcard. Rather, it is a medium of expression in which she is free to channel her true self. “I incorporate aspects of my life that really matter to me into my art. My art reflects my deep interests in the environment and in human nature,” Huang said.
The root of Huang’s talents can be traced back to her childhood. “I couldn’t stop doodling on my homework. My friends and family told me I had a knack for art and that it would be a worthwhile pursuit,” Huang said. Although many people have tried their hand at sketching, what differentiates Huang from her contemporaries is that she never stopped. After meer doodles came complete drawings, and then, after that, came full paintings. Huang’s attentiveness to her surroundings works as a catalyst towards elevating her paintings to the next level: “I have always been a pretty observant person, which helps me visualize images without a reference picture.”
Through dedicating hours to her craft and possessing a natural gift, Huang has been able to create works of art she can truly call her own.
While trusting her instinct has given Huang the edge needed to pursue her passion, the help she has received along the way has also defined her path to success. From the very start, Huang has always had a strong support system. “Art isn’t a pursuit that runs in my family––even though my family didn’t know how to paint, they always encouraged and helped me achieve my goals nonetheless,” Huang said. She also found guidance from her teachers and classmates at school: “At my time here at North, I’ve been guided by Mrs. Bonasera and the upperclassmen in my AP Studio Art class. I constantly derive inspiration from my talented peers.”
Because Huang understands the complexity of the artistic process, she is all the better for it. Like others, Huang pulls inspiration from various themes as a starting point for her art. However, Huang’s sources of inspiration are much different than the typical artist’s. “While many things inspire my artwork like social, environmental, and philosophical issues, what I love most is shocking people with an unorthodox use of color and unique concepts,” said Huang. Huang’s system of creating her pieces is as eccentric as the pieces themselves. Ironically, however, Huang never knows how her art will turn out when she starts a new piece. “Art is unpredictable and I just go with my instinct, hoping it turns out perfect,” she said.
Aside from art, which is a huge time commitment, Huang has a lot more on her plate. “I take all AP and honors classes and I try to invest at least 2 hours a day into my art,” said Huang. Huang adapts herself in accordance with her schedule and views her busy life as a learning experience. “Because I try to paint as much as possible, I have learned to plan my agenda very carefully to finish all my other work,” she explained; And considering those aforementioned commitments, Huang has certain goals in mind for the future of her career. “I want to go to a school that can offer me a strong academic program in addition to an amazing art program,” said Huang. The stress of maintaining grades while following her passions not only motivates Huang, but it also creates a sense of maturity. This maturity, combined with her abilities on the canvas, is the reason why Huang’s been able to find so much success in the art world. As she stands now, Huang has received both a gold medal at the China-U.S. International Art Festival in 2015 and in 2018, while also being rewarded the 2018 New Jersey Academy of Fine Arts Award for Excellence.