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Student paints picture of how science background can strengthen art

Jade Suwanwanitch, a third-year biochemistry student, runs an Instagram account on which he posts his own digital art. Through a process of artistic experimentation, Suwanwanitch said he has been able to improve his art as seen in the progression on his page. (Mia Kayser/Daily Bruins staff)

By Yiqing Hu

November 14, 2019 10:37 pm

Jade Suwanwanitch’s artistic process hinges on scientific methods.

As a co-founder of the Bruin Visual Arts Club, the third-year biochemistry student runs the Instagram account, on which he periodically posts his digital art. He said the platform has given him a chance to share his character-based art as he explores different techniques. Having managed the account since 2017, Suwanwanitch says it’s become an important part of his artistic life – a public documentation of his growth over the years.

“(Becoming a good artist) is a process,” he said. “It’s hard posting something unconfident, and I’ve deleted posts I wasn’t satisfied with, but I’d say the harshest critic is always yourself.”

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Suwanwanitch’s online account allows him to showcase a collection of artistic styles from ink on paper to digital art. In learning more about various drawing styles, Suwanwanitch said he has found a great interest in fan art. For each of the pieces he creates, he said he takes character designs he likes most and then translates them into his own style of dynamic portraits and brightly contrasting colors.

“Sometimes I love the universe and the stories these characters represent,” he said. “And drawing them myself both as fan art and in original works helps in absorbing new techniques and styles.”

In working toward improving his skills, Suwanwanitch said his method-based science education lends itself to helping him critique his work. His art style was formed through a lens of realism and believability, which he said required him to develop a thorough understanding of lighting and anatomy through using the experimental method to determine successful techniques.

Suwanwanitch said the basic learning principles behind science and art are the same – both encourage learning through trial and error and develop methodical approaches. In teaching himself different techniques of lighting and texturing, he said he uses art as a creative refuge to use the experimental method.

Suwanwanitch said he worked to include new methods of artistic experimentation in his piece “Dissonance,” a side portrait featuring contrasting colors and dynamic lighting. The work looked “cleaner” because of new approaches to layering and line art, he said, giving the piece a stronger sense of unity and a more powerful visual impact. Comparing it to his other posts on his Instagram page, Suwanwanitch said he felt the piece was most representative of the accumulation of his evolving artistic ability.

Suwanwanitch’s art is still in its experimental stage while Sawanwanitch continues to develop his artistic strategies, said BVAC co-founder Kal Lapborisuth, a third-year computational and systems biology student. She said Suwanwanitch’s artistic improvement is intrinsically motivated, and he evolves and improves his work through testing out new methods and approaches.

“As of right now, I think he’s found a style and technique that he is comfortable with, but he is still in the process of experimenting, learning and gaining more experience to broaden and improve his artistic skill set,” Lapborisuth said.

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Suwanwanitch has already settled into a style that is fixed and polished, said Kevin Chen, another BVAC co-founder and third-year psychobiology student. He said Suwanwanitch draws heavily from his interests in gaming, technology and commercial art to form his pieces, especially in his works of digital art.

“He’s very committed to his craft,” Chen said. “While his primary focus is more on the administration of the club, he’s still been working on more original concepts recently.”

Through sharing his artwork online and participating in BVAC, Suwanwanitch said he hopes to facilitate a greater presence of visual art on campus. Suwanwanitch said he will lead the club in painting a mural in the John Wooden Center in winter quarter to encourage others to pursue artistic creation.

“(Artists) are constantly learning throughout their creative process. If you just stop, it won’t go anywhere,” Suwanwanitch said. “It’s always hard to start, but growth is a process. Looking through my posts, I feel a great sense of satisfaction to know that I’ve been able to come this far.”

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Yiqing Hu
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