Courageously Putting Herself On Canvas
By ML Ball
Photos: The Art Effect
In Anneke Chan’s case, the adage really is true: what you put into something is what you get out of it. When it comes to The Art Effect’s Senior Project, that’s precisely what happened.
A recent graduate from Haldane High School in Cold Spring, Anneke enrolled in the intensive 12-week course in the fall of 2019, knowing (or so she thought) what would be required. But, as these things often go, it turned out to be even more rigorous than she realized.
“I think what kept me going was knowing that I would come out of it with an amazing portfolio that I could then use to apply to colleges with,” Anneke said recently. “I had never made finished pieces before, just doodles mainly. This challenged me to think about composition, about the image I’m putting out there rather than just recycling other people’s ideas. There were very serious implications for what I got out of the course, so I knew I wanted to work really hard.”
Growing up with artist parents—her father is a former photographer and her mother is a photo stylist—it’s no surprise that Anneke would herself lean toward the arts. “I was surrounded by art from a young age,” she said. “It’s always been a part of what I do.”
Those artistic tendencies took a huge leap forward when Anneke attended The Art Effect’s Portfolio Day in 2018. “Seeing all that finished work and the colleges that were there to view it made me realize that I wanted a more serious art education than what I could get in school,” she explained. “I wanted to have proper guidance and to build a serious portfolio.”
To that end, she enrolled in The Art Effect’s Advanced Drawing and Painting class last summer, taught by Rick Price, followed by Senior Project last fall, also taught by Price. “Rick is a great guy, very encouraging,” she said. “I’d never had an art teacher who believed in me that way before, so it was really validating.”
“I really like Edward Hopper,” she said. “There’s something in his art that I respond well to, and I wanted to channel that. I think a lot of his paintings are ambiguous, so I was trying to do that with my own work.”
Several of her resulting paintings are self-portraits, which are vividly colorful and intricately detailed. Rather than conveying a single message, they embody a complex narrative, revealing the meticulous thought that went into them. They are truly works of art, and will soon be seen on the walls of The Art Effect’s Cold Spring Coffee Shop.
Where does Anneke go from here? “My plan is to pursue a dual degree, combining anthropology or history with studio art,” she said. By all accounts, she’s well on her way.
For more information on The Art Effect, visit www.feelthearteffect.org. █