Hanging in the Capitol Building as the winning entry for the 2021 Congressional Arts Competition in Ohio’s twelfth district is “Lucid,” an oil painting created by Columbus Academy student, Alicia Deng.
While she is a student in Mr. Block’s Portfolio class, Deng also spends a lot of time outside school painting and drawing. Once a week, she visits the JC Visual Arts Studio to work on her current pieces.
In an interview with Deng, she stated how art has impacted her life, “When I draw, I think of it as a time where I’m focusing only on what I’m creating and nothing else and it serves as an escape from the busy life around me. On the other hand, looking at others’ art has encouraged me to question what I value and see, especially ethically.”
For Deng, the inspiration for her best artwork pieces come from spurts of inspiration in the middle of the night. “I might have a weird dream that leaves me with lingering thoughts before spontaneously painting a work at 3 AM in the morning,” she admits.
“Lucid” is an example of one of Deng’s 3 AM spurts of creativity. While she originally had something else planned for the competition, she decided to scrap it three days before the deadline because it just didn’t feel right.
The painting itself is a portrait of an individual whose top half of their face has started to dissipate with a dark, almost disturbing mood that captivates the viewer upon first glance.
While the painting is abstract and can be interpreted in a variety of ways, Deng states that for her, “[‘Lucid’] reflects something that I see a lot nowadays– people are losing their authenticity as they try to fit in with others.”
Deng continues to incorporate art heavily in her life. In one of her more recent works, she did a pencil drawing for her grandfather to honor his struggles and hard work for her family. Deng reveals that in the drawing, she “wanted to make sure to capture the joy and hope in his eyes.”
Deng hoeps to enter a career path that connects her love for art with her love for computer science, such as video game design or architectural design.