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Aspiring Artist Henry Leland heads to RISD

It wasn’t until the summer going into his sophomore year that Henry Leland (’18) realized he wanted to pursue art professionally. After attending a pre-college art program, Leland finally understood the depth of his passion. “That [summer] was when I figured out that this was what I wanted to do in college and the rest of my life,” he said. 

While ASL was a stepping stone for acquiring a foundation in the arts, Leland credits his summers spent at Carnegie Mellon and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) as the main factors in his artistic success. “Being in a really competitive art environment where people really want to be there helped me develop into a stronger artist,” Leland said.

Leland has many plans for his future in art; he just completed his Advanced Placement (AP) 2D studio art project, where he used scotch and cassette tape to create abstract geometric lines and focused on composition. “It’s very geometric, rhythm based. I’m trying to figure out how to take something that is visually and aesthetically pleasing and have it convey emotion,” he said.

Looking back on his experience, Leland advises aspiring artists to find a source of inspiration and to follow the growth and development of an artist. “Really learn from their work and that will help you develop your own work by seeing how they develop theirs,” he said.

For Leland, his main source of inspiration stems from artist David Hockney, who is both a painter and photographer. “I love his work because he sees the world differently. He really takes something that you can look at and think it’s boring and manipulates the color and the composition,” Leland said. “He takes something and abstracts it.”

Attending industrial design programs for the past two summers has helped Leland gain interest in the process of how products are manufactured, and this is something that he hopes to pursue further upon attending RISD in the fall. “[ASL] doesn’t offer an industrial design course, they have robotics but that’s completely different,” he said. “Everything you see around you is designed by someone. That is something that is really interesting to me.”

Written by Media Editor Emeritus Olivia Abrams


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