Jing He ’21 has always been surrounded by art. Growing up in an artistic family, she used to accompany her brother, an oil painter, in his artistic adventures. He always had her nose in a book, and once she moved to America, used stories as a tool to learn English. Later, she’d grow into her own artist, paving her own path to success when she came to Deerfield.
He found passion in her English classes, remembering fondly that she got a poor grade for the first time in her freshman English class. Despite that, she worked through it with her teacher, eager to learn more and improve her writing.
Before arriving at Deerfield’s art scene, He felt constricted by art. With pressure from her family to be great, art felt more like a skill to her, rather than a hobby. “It was something I felt I needed to do to live up to my siblings and their artistic skills,” she remarked. “Making art at Deerfield, that made it really personal to me. I was able to turn it into something for myself; creating things that I like to look at, or things that I want to share with the community, as opposed to living up to some sort of expectation.”
When she first came to Deerfield, He submitted to the arts magazine, Albany Road. But, it did not work out as she had planned. “I still remember receiving an email from Kiana Rawji, the editor of the magazine at the time, telling me the piece couldn’t be published because it contained too many grammatical errors,” He recalled. “Nonetheless, I remember being so proud because they could not publish it because of the grammar errors and not for the content itself. Daisy Dundas actually helped me edit through the piece, and it ended up getting published in the next issue.”
He finds inspiration in everyday life, including various writing programs. “Deerfield gave me the opportunities to explore through classes, clubs, and publications,” He stated. In particular, she feels inspired by the other artists in the Deerfield Arts program, and enjoys observing their projects lining the Hess hallways. Even simply flipping through an issue of Albany Road, or speaking with an English teacher, gives He the encouragement to create.
Some of her best memories come from art and English classes at Deerfield. He attributes her everyday excitement to her personal exploration in the studio. She says her favorite feeling is “when you go back to your dorm, and you’ve thought about your piece, and you think about what you’re going to do next, and then going to class excited, thinking about what you want to fix or change.”
Mrs. Taylor recalled Jing’s creative spirit in the classroom. “She’s a super hard worker and a dynamic worker. She never gives up,” Taylor said. “When I think about Jing I think about experimentation, someone who is super dedicated, and happy–happy to be in the studio. She’s not intimidated; she takes risks.”
Fellow classmates notice He’s unwavering dedication in the classroom. Former classmate Aneesha Mishra ‘21 said, “Jing is really expressive with her art. Not only does she have good technique, her pieces convey emotion well.”
Art has always been a part of life for He. Since arriving at Deerfield, He has found ways to make the studio her own, and figured out the styles she likes best. The art program, even if He does not pursue art in the future, will always have a large impact on her life.