I was a good girl, but deep inside, I was quite a rebel. In front of my parents, I always behaved well. I went to the school they wanted me to go; did the courses they wanted me to do; worked hard to get the grades they expected me to get. But what I really wanted was just to draw. My strategy was that I’d meet all my parents’ requirements, so that I could do whatever I wanted the rest of my day. I’ve always loved drawing. I would start it myself, draw all day long, and could never stop. For me, drawing is a way to unleash my feelings.
In my last year of high school, I finally asked my parents to let me decide once, at least once, for my own life. They were shocked. At the time, I was in the middle of intensive preparations for the college entrance exams both in China and in the US. I did my SAT and had already received offers from a number of American universities, but I was ready to give them all up. I wanted to go to an art school instead.
This became the turning point in my life. I’ve never fought so badly against my parents, and ended up winning my battle. I went on to study illustration, even though I was not 100 percent sure about my decision. I had no idea about my future. I just felt that I should do it, or I would be sorry for myself.
I am now finishing my master’s degree in graphic design at UAL.Yet, I am getting perplexed. Sometimes, I can’t help but think what if I had done business or accounting instead, what would I be doing right now? Future is something you don’t dare think much about, partly because you witnessed the path of the talented peers – those who used to be ahead of you, the ones you used to look up to, coming here, full of curiosity, hopes and dreams, just like you. But then, they went back to China, struggled, fought, and finally, surrendered to the reality. They were doing small jobs here there just to sustain their lives, and the dreams were dead. Even for those who managed to stay in the art industry, every creation was made out of a desperate need for survival. I do not mean that I regret. There is no regret, and I will not stop moving forward. But I do get scared. Most of the time you are surrounded by nothing but loneliness. Even though you did achieve some level of recognition, so what?
Felicia Yang, see Felicia’s portfolio at Siyu Yang