How I Have Grown as an Artist and a Person

Whenever I am asked to reflect about my time on Elan, I immediately answer with how being a member of this publication has given me the validity that I needed to truly call myself an artist. Elan allowed me to take full and complete ownership over the part of myself that is an artist and more specifically, is and forever will be a writer.

Throughout the two years I have spent on this publication, I have been able to see art affect countless people and that is what truly sticks with me after each event that Elan participates in. The emphasis that Elan puts on youth voices and teen artists is something that should never be ignored. It is important that we highlight Elan as a student-led publication that publishes student-produced work. In doing this, we solidify our place at the table that isn’t typically occupied by teenagers. We are just as much artists as someone who is twenty years older than us. Age should not discriminate against art of any kind. There is no age limit or threshold you have to cross.

I revisit the Yellow House Art Gallery in times where I need to be reminded that I deserve to call myself an artist and that I need to be reminded of the impact that art can have across all generations. There is not one single demographic of people that are allowed to enjoy art. Every person alive is allowed the opportunity to enjoy art, to be moved by art, to create art. I was able to witness people of all ages in my community enjoy this exhibit that I helped put together. I hammered nails into walls to hang paintings. It was hands on art.

The four years I have spent at Douglas Anderson has been a constant battle between accepting the fact that my art is valid and accepting the fact that I do not want to pursue writing professionally. I thought there was only one thing that I could be and that was it.

Being on Elan flicked a switch for me. I can and will always be able to call myself a writer because that is what I am. The thing is, I am also a daughter. I enjoy doing math. I am a proud Asian-American adoptee. I deeply adore the smell of rain and prefer the beach during the winter. Someone who believes that the sum of my experiences makes up the majority of who I am. There is not one thing that I am and for the longest time, I tried to find the Single Thing that identifies me and everything that I am, but there is no Thing that does that.

Elan has taught me to embrace every part of myself no matter how combative each part is. Each part still makes a part of me and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without Elan.

Winnie Blay, Senior Managing Editor