Xinyang Li, A Life of Artistic Inspiration
by. Aubrey Izurieta, Managing Editor
Xinyang Li’s passion for art started at an early age. Growing up in China, Li “spent most of [her] free time drawing and would invite friends over for ‘drawing parties’,” –Li’s older sister served as an inspiration for cultivating her artistic endeavors. As children, the two spent time drawing together. Li remembers fondly, “it was a lot of fun–we would come up with a topic and draw things according to that topic.” Though Li has continued to pursue drawing, she has also developed a love for photography. Li’s passion for taking photos stems from her desire to capture the beauty of the world through a lens. She describes her creative process as being carried out largely through observation.
“I observe a lot–people, buildings, trees, everything around me. And I tend to notice details. When I see interesting things I’ll make sure I record them, by taking photos, screenshots, or writing them down. Basically, I collect all the ‘sources’ and once I’m free and feel like drawing or editing photos, I’ll know what to do.”
Li’s artistic inspirations develop organically. When asked about one of her proudest artistic triumphs, she described a recent work in which she was able to let go of her creative limits. Li explains, “I used to do sketching and always tried to make it look realistic. This time I made it more casual.” It is also important for Li to achieve the right setting for her works, noting “it was a late night drawing so I hoped to catch that late night vibe–no natural night, strong contrast, dark lipstick. And for the first time, I managed to make the drawing simple.”
Expressing creative freedom has at times posed problems for Li, something which can be traced back to her early days as an artist. Li describes, “When I was about twelve, I decided to quit drawing class after I saw my teacher yelling at a five-year-old kid for painting the grass pink when ‘the grass is supposed to be green.’ Things like this happened a lot.” In spite of this, Li has continued to develop her own style as an artist, though she still faces obstacles.
“Many teachers in China were very strict and they cared so much more about the techniques than imagination. I hope it’s not the case anymore. I’m now 20, still struggling to be more creative. I’ve been trying to think out of boxes and try different styles.”
Though she has no plans to pursue art as a career, Li is content with doing art as a full-time hobby. Li has found that drawing or taking photographs are a rewarding way to spend her free time, and she has no plans to stop any time soon.
Xinyang Li is a sophomore at NC State majoring in Accounting.