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Student Spotlight: Bolin Shen

PDS artist Bolin Shen 22 has talent in abundance, as evidenced in her work at PDS, in the community and beyond. For example, Bolin was recently recognized by the annual Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards in our region for her remarkable talent. This year, she won an impressive 14 Scholastic Art Awards, spanning multiple categories including Photography, Drawing & Illustration and Painting. In addition, she also brought home two Silver Key Scholastic Writing Awards for Personal Essay & Memoir and Flash Fiction.

Bolin moved to the U.S. from China in 2013 and came to PDS as a freshman in 2017. She shared how her time at PDS has helped encourage her artistic endeavors. “During freshman year, I chose the Studio Geometry class taught by Mr. Burkett and Ms. Bilodeau, and was able to explore some aspects of architecture. I also took the Fine Art Intro class, and I've continued with the major this year. In addition, I decided to try Intro to Photography this year and the entire experience is just incredible."

She began her study of Chinese calligraphy and art as a way to further understand Chinese language and culture and moved from their to painting as well. Many of Bolin's works, shown behind her in the photo above, and below, are inspired by Chinese culture and themes. “I started off learning Chinese calligraphy from my dad, and decided to learn Chinese painting by myself with online resources and books. I have been doing Chinese painting for about three years now. I gain a lot of inspiration from classical Chinese artists. One of my favorites is Ba Da Shan Ren."

This year, Bolin shared her work with Kindergarten students during the Lunar New Year studies and activities they explored in their classrooms. She provided magnificent scroll paintings in the traditional style, along with a scroll that displayed her beautiful calligraphy. A Lower School parent reached out to Shen to participate with the Kindergarten activities after seeing her artwork at the School's community Lunar New Year celebration last year. "I was really happy to be able to share my passion with the kids. I think it's really cool to be introduced to different cultures at such a young age," said Bolin.

In February, Shen decided to sell her artwork in downtown Princeton on Nassau street in order to raise money for medical supplies to combat the coronavirus outbreak in China and to support Wuhan, where the virus first emerged. “I sold 21 paintings, along with some fans with my artwork on them, and raised about $2,025. It will go to The Wuhan University New York Alumni Association, which will supply medical supplies to support the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.”

Bolin's artist statement tells her story and shares her "One painting. One world" philosophy: "I believe that art and beauty is a universal language that can be understood by everyone, so I am willing to try my best to build a bridge that connects both Chinese and Western cultures, in my own way."


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