Sydney Y. ’22, Kaitlyn C. ’24 Discuss Art


The 20 Under 20 exhibition at the Bellevue Art Museum, as of writing, has officially begun! With it, young people from around the Puget Sound receive recognition as they strive to demonstrate how they may “rise up from challenging times and envision a new future?” and reflect on how they have grown, progressed, and envision their communities. Four Lakesiders were accepted to this exhibition, two of whom – Henry R. ’23 and Sam K. ’23 – have been previously featured. The remaining two, Sydney Y. ’22 and Kaitlyn C. ’24 – agreed to a follow-up article, talking about their art in the context of this exhibition and in their wider lives.


Kaitlyn has been doing art since she was five or six years old – she even toted a photo of a crayon drawing of a precious doll, Mwomwo, in our interview – though digital art is more of a recently-picked up medium for her. She decided on digital art, specifically with Procreate, for the 20 Under 20 competition because it allows her to “achieve a lot of effects that are harder to do in traditional mediums.” In her winning artwork – “Remembrance,” so called because of the portrayal of both her younger and current self with Mwomwo to “[represent] the power of nostalgia and how we can find comfort in our childhoods” – she applied a filter to a portrayal of her younger self to add an aged look. She also cites the different brushes and ease of blending parts of artworks.


She has recently been working with “incorporating … things that are a little stranger in more everyday circumstances,” inspired by the works for Frida Kahlo. Kaitlyn specifically mentioned Kahlo’s “realistic portraits of herself with things that you could say are more ‘exotic.’” Her aspirations to try less conventional elements extends to genre, since she says despite predominantly using realism – as demonstrated in “Remembrance” – she does “want to try [abstract art] more in the future.”


Sydney started digital painting in the middle of freshman year, though she has been doing art for a while longer. She has gotten into the medium more recently as “I ride the bus a lot so being able to carry around my iPad and whip it out and start sketching has been really nice,” and if an idea comes to her, she “can do it right away.” She plans to carry this path into college, as she will be pursuing a half-art major.


An artist she draws inspiration from is Aya Takano, particularly her use of colors and abstractness stemming from its reflection of Japanese cartoons. However, her greatest inspiration “stories, whether fairy tales or stories of real people that I meet. Just being able to connect different cultures and people from different backgrounds.” Specifically, she focuses on Asian American and immigrant narratives for most of her pieces. This inspiration becomes quite clear with her winning piece, “A guiding light,” which portrays her praying over a lotus lantern. She cited Chinese culture in relation to lotus flowers, “[symbolizing] being able to grow from muddy waters and rise above to produce a beautiful flower,” which lent itself neatly to the 20 Under 20’s theme of rising up from challenging times. She also notes this connection to her Asian American identity with the common stereotype of pressure to not pursue art careers, which she does note as having affected her parents’ in her younger years, but changed as she demonstrated her passion and found opportunities through Mr. Foran – a reason she emphasizes the importance of support systems. “For Asian Americans in general, I think the stereotype holds a lot of people back, but with a good support system, they should be able to pursue whatever they want to.”

For Asian Americans in general, I think the stereotype holds a lot of people back, but with a good support system, they should be able to pursue whatever they want to.

Both artists are excited to be featured at the Bellevue Art Museum; Kaitlyn states that she is “honored to be chosen” given this is her first time being part of an exhibition, and Sydney had volunteered for BAM for the kids’ art fair so “it was really cool to see my work up there.”


Finally, both offered some advice to aspiring artists at Lakeside. Kaitlyn advocates for the importance of not being afraid of experimenting, and that prospective artists should “try different things and don’t be afraid to make something that maybe in the moment you don’t like that much.” Sydney echoes this sentiment, saying “even if you think you can’t do something, just try it out because there’s nothing bad that can happen,” and “take every opportunity … and talk about anything you’re curious about because the teachers will really help you introduce you to opportunities.”

The Bellevue Art Museum is showing the 20 Under 20 exhibit until October 2nd, including Lakeside students Sam K. ‘23, Henry R. ‘23, Sydney Y. ‘22, and Kaitlyn C. ‘24.