Artist of the Issue: Banner Staff Artist Tina Gong ’20

By Ellie W. ’21

Tina Gong ’20 is a key member of the Winsor art community and has created many amazing pieces of physical and digital art since she was in Class I. Her dedication and talent always shine through in her works. Her position as the Banner’s staff artist also allows her to showcase her works to the school in a less conventional way.

  1. What is your role as the Banner staff artist and what is your favorite part of it?

For each issue, Crystal Yang lets me know what articles might need an illustration and briefly tells me what each one’s about and lets me pick one to draw for! I think my favorite part is the freedom that I get in picking what I get to draw, since apart from it having to fit with the article, I’m pretty much allowed to draw anything! Also, drawing for articles allows me to make things that I typically wouldn’t in a traditional art class or just in my own free time, so it also lets me draw a lot of new things and explore different things I might not have otherwise.

  1. What drew you to art and when did you start creating?

I was drawn to art starting from a very young age. My earliest memories of art include drawing and scribbling in my picture books trying to replicate pictures I liked (in hindsight, an absolute terrible practice for it completely desecrated the books themselves) and asking my mom to draw me flowers and clocks and other things I couldn’t puzzle out myself (lol). I also asked my family members to stand in certain poses so I could try to figure out how to draw the human body in different poses. 

I think I was so naturally drawn to visual arts because I thought (and still think) it’s so amazing how you can create literally anything through art. Art allows you to make crazy things or mirror life or somewhere in between where you gently bend realism, and so the amount of freedom that comes with art allows you to explore it in so many diverse ways. Art also allows you to convey and invoke feelings, moods, ideas, and commentaries through what is often a singular snapshot of a scene, in which it becomes so telling yet also leaves so much room for the viewer’s interpretation. A work of art is often so much more than simply a picture and gives the mind so much creative freedom, and for that I love it.

  1. How have you contributed to the art community at Winsor?

I’ve been taking visual art classes since Class I at Winsor. I also have tried my shot frequently at UTL shirt designs, junior/senior apparel, and yearbook cover designs. I (as you know) also am now the staff artist for the Banner.

  1. What’s your favorite medium and why?

I personally love a classic oil painting because of how versatile it can be. You can cover large masses in a few brushstrokes with a big brush, yet also work on the finest of detail with smaller ones. You can thin the paint and make more translucent and glossy layers, or you can opt to use a lot of paint and little oil to create a very thick and opaque layer. The great thing about it is that if you mess up, you can easily cover it up with a new layer of paint. Its ability to let the artist work in layers is also so nice, whether it is painting background shapes freely or laying in the lights and darks of fabric before adding the pattern on top. 

I also love working digitally because technology just gives you so many tools to work with that traditional art can’t replicate; the undo button (a favorite of mine), deletable layers, easily adjustable opacities, and the transform tool (another favorite) allow you to work with so much assistance and ease. Photoshop’s content-aware fill is also an amazing feature when it comes to editing out shapes in textures etc.

  1. What are your proudest artistic accomplishments?

I honestly think that I feel the most pride when I see a completed piece that I think turned out really well! However, there is a conventional instance of what might be considered an “accomplishment” that I also feel pretty proud about; in 2016, I won a National Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing competition for a painting of a portrait of myself at a younger age. For that, I not only got to visit the Boston Globe but also ended up getting a letter from Senator Elizabeth Warren, which was pretty fun!