About me

zhen huang

Marisa Lu & Me & Venice Self Portrait
acrylic 2015


I have traveled plenty and moved many times in my life. I was born in Shanghai, moved to the US at 6 years old and naturalized as a citizen at 12 years old. My journey to become a citizen became an irritating and exciting ritual of moving and changing schools for every 3 years ever since I set foot on U.S. soil. Like many other children of parents who wanted to pursue every opportunity in the land of liberty, freedom and capitalism, moving is not only obligatory but also something “we” have no right to complain about. The only solution is to assimilate. Assimilation became more challenging when after moving from Shanghai to Philly to 3 different school districts in MD, I had to move back to the totalitarian state for second and 8th grade. These major shifts in my timeline made me realize how similar people are and how misleading and harmful cultural and social preconceptions could be.

art of choice

I began playing the violin at 8 years old under the insistence of my father. He would motivate me by telling me I played well even when I couldn’t stand it. When I didn’t want to play, he would tell me the story of how his parents could never even afford one. Thus playing the violin was a way to please my father rather than a hobby when I first started. After years of practice and getting into county and state orchestras in middle school, I realized that the violin was a great platform to engage others by expressing moods or emotions of a scene or even a full tale as a whole group.  But my admiration soon changed to annoyance and even a bit of dread as I joined my 9th grade orchestra. After staring at the music sheet for Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for the 30th time, I realized that the violin was too limiting for my skill set. I was always playing someone else’s music or someone else’s performance; rarely do I get to perform any of my own. That’s when I decided to put down the violin and started splattering paint on canvas.

To me, painting is a much more organic and direct approach of personal expression. No more playing to a certain time signature, no more tuning the instrument, and no more sheet reading! I can brush paint in any stroke, choose any palate, and dictate the mood of a scene through any means I want. Art teachers and critiques love it when my painting isn’t accurate because it is my personal choice.

opinion of art writing

Writing about art is a much more freeing and wholesome act of experiencing art than simply enjoying an art form. Writing not only allows you to express your individual perception of the art piece but also allows to continue and engage others in the discourse on not only that specific piece but also its medium, style and era of art. Through the process, art writers can express their view of the era and how the social political, and cultural context have influenced the piece.

The process of writing also allows the writer and others to understand the piece on another deeper level. According to Munsterberg’s Writing About Art, effective writers only selects descriptions of the art piece that help illustrate their argument for the piece. Thus writings about art are truly syntheses or an extension of the art that help the writers and readers better understand the piece art. By expressing color, tone, form or sound with words alone, the writer also gains more experience in finding or even constructing concise and sufficient vocabulary to express abstract ideas.