Henry Pan ‘19 should be considered “the unsung hero of Deerfield Academy’s fine arts department,” said Visual Arts Teacher David Dickinson.
Pan has known art for almost all his life. Starting art classes in kindergarten, he enjoyed drawing and painting portraits in his free time. In 7th grade, he started serious training outside of school. With his newly acquired skills in graphite and acrylic painting, he continued working hard by practicing everyday.
Watching Pan’s Labyrinth, written by Guillermo del Toro, for the first time was an unusual yet magical experience for Pan. Not many people know about this foreign film, but Pan’s 12 year old self recognized that there was something intriguing about the change in the protagonist’s costumes. His interest in costume design, film and the arts grew from there.
“I think my predominant interest in art is just the innate human desire to pursue what’s beautiful to them,” Pan described.
Coming from an Australian high school, Pan entered Deerfield as a new sophomore. His passion in art and allowed his education to gradually mold and reshape his thinking.
“My interest in and definition of beauty developed,” he expressed about his time in Deerfield. “In my first year I was challenged in mediums I wasn’t familiar with – like pastel. Working from observation was also a change and presented some unique difficulties. I thought it was a great privilege to draw in such an academic manner.”
Pan jumped right into the rigorous AP art program, joined the advanced vocal ensemble, and worked as a costume manager for the theatre and dance programs, leaving a remarkable impression on with whom he worked.
Mr Dickinson explained, “He needs no prompting to do this stuff. He’s very interested and willing to pursue the arts at numerous levels and the adults who work with him think he’s one of a kind.”
While on campus, Pan is either seen working in the Hess or in his English-inspired room. On top of working in the art studio everyday, he has many choral obligations that include singing in the brick church on Sundays and preparing for recitals. Beyond that, he still connects with the dance and theater departments to design costumes for the upcoming dance showcase and winter play, gaining hands on experience with Deerfield’s own students.
When asked about the significance of art, Pan said, “People think that art is a spur of the moment thing. It’s not. It requires long term dedication with daily practices just like a musical instrument. It needs far more time and focus than most regular day jobs.”
Outside of school, having to travel by himself, Pan enjoys going to different countries and experiencing unfamiliar cultures, especially through an artistic perspective.
“Traveling to different places definitely changed my perspective. In regards to art, I learned that each culture should have very different understandings, utilization, methods and lifestyles relating to art,” Pan elaborated.
Pan’s classmate, Anna Mishchenko ‘19, said, “I think what separates Henry from others is how much he lives and breathes art. Whether it’s painting in art class, talking about art history and his courses at [Deerfield], designing the next costumes for cocurric, or just joking around about our art experiences, he’s like the epitome of a training artist”
Mr. Dickinson stated, “He really spreads himself quite thin across the arts departments and we [his teachers] really appreciate his energy and his contributions.”
In the future, Pan plans to major in costume design and pursue it professionally.