Featured Student Artist: David Hwang



David is an 8th grader at Odle Middle School in Washington and studies art at InDesign Academy.  His art, “Butterfly Rest“, was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Summer 2012 national art contest.

A typical week for David involves golf, piano, competition math, SAT sessions, college application practice, computer programming, painting, sketching, and photography lessons.  Phew!  (And only 14 years old!)  Of all these activities, art lets David take a break from all of the stress accumulated throughout the week.

When asked what inspired David’s piece, he responded:

art-num-245026217“For a while through my childhood, I never thought art was an inherent activity for me. In fact, in my early childhood, I really had no interest in art at all. Even right now, I don’t remember a single moment in my early childhood where I actually wanted to draw. Somewhere in 3rd grade, the idea of art sort of stuck to me, and soon enveloped into a growing passion, a passion that is still growing as I speak. Honestly, the painting ‘Butterfly Rest’ was an experiment, an adventure into the unknown. Before ‘Butterfly Rest’ I was addicted to the idea of abstract art. Abstract thoughts, fantasies intrigued me, as I drew a human heads with gaping holes, spewing out clock heads and light bulbs, and a cereal bowl filled with national monuments. I was hesitant towards the idea of realistic art, especially the idea of “Butterfly Rest”. However, someday in May, I decided to break this mold. It was a day when I was lying recumbent on a pool chair in my backyard, while reading the New Yorker, in the somewhat hot Washington sun. It was like any lazy day, until when my mom bombarded me with the question, ‘Why does your artwork not make any sense?’ Personally I was baffled, and I choked on a slurp of a fruit smoothie. It finally struck me. Not a single person understood the idea behind my work. I pondered over this question, soon deciding to look for an inspiration for a ‘realistic’ piece. Taking my camera, I took a walk in the garden, looking for things that caught my idea.

After taking a considerable amount of photos, I went back to my pool chair. Skipping over multiple pictures of my mom’s flowers, the view of Mt. Rainier, and a partial picture of a birds head, I finally landed upon my mom’s eggplant, with two butterflies. What made me choose this photo over the others was the sense of peace it evoked, the sense of rest and harmony. What made me paint it was because it was horribly out of focus. After gathering multiple pictures containing butterflies, with similar patterns and colors, along with pictures of the eggplant, I started working on the painting. I specifically chose one section of the eggplant because I didn’t want to make it look too complicated, and I took the light turquoise color from Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings, as it seemed to match harmoniously with the eggplant and butterflies to create the peaceful environment I was aiming for. I finished painting, and I was extremely pleased with the result.”

Ever since creating this winning piece, David has continued to grow his passion for art into the realistic category.  “Butterfly Rest” also gave David the inspiration to pursue mixed ideas, integrating both realist and abstract aspects.  The largest goal David is pursuing right now is to expand his ideas more into the category of realism, while still having a balance between both abstract and realistic ideas.

To learn more about our national art contest, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.


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