Student View

Prints With Purpose

This student artist uses color and repetition to share an idea

How is Hanson’s print similar to Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait in this issue?

Hanson Wu loves to experiment with different styles. “I enjoy seeing how people will react,” says Hanson, 14. Currently a ninth-grader at North Allegheny Intermediate High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hanson hopes to become a graphic designer.

What inspired this work?

I recently visited the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. I was fascinated by the prints and portraits. I decided I wanted to create a self-portrait in Warhol’s graphic style.

How did you create your self-portrait?

I digitally edited a picture of myself and printed it in black and white. Then I traced the outlines on wax paper. I transferred the pencil marks onto a rubber block and carved it. I used a roller to apply paint to the block and printed my picture on sheets of paper. I used the same block for all three pictures. I printed the colors first. Then I added black for the shadows.

Are the colors significant?

I chose pinkish red, white, and blue because I wanted to symbolize the colors of the American flag. I’m a first-generation kid. My parents came to the United States from China. I wanted to use the colors of the flag because I am really thankful for all the opportunities we have in this country.

Is this image a reflection of your personality?

Not really. In my self-portrait I look serious, but I’m usually pretty happy, energetic, and enthusiastic about life.

Why did you add the background?

Since my expression looks kind of serious, I added rays in the background to brighten the piece and give it energy. Without the rays, it would have looked very dull.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists like yourself?

Practice every single day. Art doesn’t just come easily. You have to work at it to master the techniques.

Hanson won a Gold Medal for his print in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

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