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Art Student’s Vision Takes Shape

It’s difficult to imagine a better time to be an artist. With a multitude of technological advancements at one’s fingertips and the opportunities for exposure at a peak, conditions are rife for maximum creativity and marketability.

Art student Rachael Chan makes mixed media pieces with “whatever I can get my hands on.”

At the intersection of these pathways one may find Rachael Chan. A 2018 graduate of San Marino High School and fifth-year student at Pasadena’s prestigious ArtCenter College of Design, Chan has enjoyed both the anonymity of ArtCenter’s secluded campus and the recognition she is gathering as an active contributor to the commercial art environment.

Chan is majoring in illustration and minoring in creative writing and social innovation and has worked as a freelance illustrator, generating album artwork and even some portrait commissions. Chan is a fixture at local art shows, selling her ceramic work through Clay LA, an outlet for an impressive trove of pottery.

Chan went through Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle Schools before graduating from SMHS and enrolled at ArtCenter at a young age for its youth art programs. She enjoys the current confluence she is experiencing between on-site artist and serious student.

“I’m more focused on graduating first,” she said with a laugh. “I’m curious about making a living through teaching rather than just purely selling my work.”

Chan’s preferred medium is hand building ceramics but there is a wide range of artistic options.

“Though I often switch between ceramics and mixed media experimentation, which involves melting crayons, pastels, acrylics, isopropyl alcohol … whatever I can get my hands on,” she said. Chan described her style as “a culmination of all my influences and anything that I’ve witnessed.”

“I like to think that an artist’s style is just who they are, their essence, their soul,” she added.

Her favorite assignments and projects include “creating chaos with multiple mediums on a canvas … I’m not bad at sculpture either.”

If she does move into the teaching realm, Chan said she is leaning toward working in communities that are underserved.

“Young people who typically don’t have access to arts education,” she said. “But I am also open to teaching at all levels. I just love interacting with people and sharing a love for the arts and how healing it can be.”

Chan’s social media mirrors the colorful character that she has become in the art world, a combination of her natural creativity and the discipline that has served her so well at ArtCenter.

“I still have my design mind drilled into me from ArtCenter,” she said. “Though, it is true that I am currently more interested in creating a large body of work with no fear of creating good or bad art. I’m interested in capturing the indescribable mess of being human.”


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