Vanessa Ho: Art from the Heart

Art is the defining word for Junior Vanessa Ho, an exemplary artist who has practiced and mastered the skill of art through her experiences

October 8, 2019


Photo Courtesy of Vanessa Ho

Vanessa Ho poses with her winning artwork titled “A Sweet Treat”. She smiles in glee from just receiving an award at the Festival of Arts at Laguna Beach

From scribbling on the walls of her home as a child to doodling in her friend’s birthday cards to making it into art competitions, Junior Vanessa Ho has come a long way with her art abilities. With every stroke of her paintbrush, mark of her colored pencils and line of her pen, Ho has developed and sharpened her artistic skills throughout her art career.


The scariest part of being an artist is getting their first mark on a blank canvas, but every artist has to start from scratch. Ho first picked up a drawing utensil in her early ages before preschool. At first, her artworks were merely doodles and scribbles. Eventually, life started to form into her illustrations once she realized she enjoyed art as a form of self-expression and an outlet to relax. 


“While I was growing up, I faced difficulties in accepting the quality of my work,” said Ho. “When I started group lessons, I found it often that I would compare my art to others and beat myself down because of it. It was a matter of gaining confidence in my abilities and constant practice that allowed me to resolve these problems. ”


Inside every artist is their worst critic, and Ho struggled with her self-confidence at a young age. 

The word “mistake” and “error” did not exist in Ho’s dictionary; every artwork had to be handled with precision and care. This trait of hers served to be both her artistic strength and weakness. Although she sometimes tore herself down, her high expectations also motivated herself to put in her full effort in her craft. 


“Vanessa’s strength is her creativity and how determined she is as a person,” said Maryam Nabihah, Ho’s best friend for ten years. “She’s a hard worker and never gives up. Vanessa stresses out about everything, but in the end, it all works out because she underestimates herself. [Her] strengths in art would be that she tries new things and techniques that [help] elevate her art.”


Ho’s inspiration comes from a wide range influenced by her unique perspective on the world. On the side, she thoroughly enjoys baking and watching “Marvel” movies and television shows. Her interests are clearly evident within her inspirations as her subjects are usually life portraits of “Marvel” celebrities or realistic portraits of her baking creations. Despite her interests influencing her artwork, Ho is never afraid to try new things and step outside of her comfort zone.


“Art has really changed [Vanessa] because she is able to view situations from a creative perspective like none other,” said Mr. Ho, Ho’s father. “She would be different if she didn’t pick up art because she wouldn’t have a vast and creative mind that has changed her way of thinking and lifestyle like it has today.”


One of Ho’s proudest moments was accepting an award at the Festival of Arts at Laguna Beach. She submitted an art piece five months before receiving the award, and she had believed that she was not going to be selected out of hundreds of students from Orange Country who had entered the contest. She picked this particular contest since it was one of the few competitive contests in the Orange County area. Before she knew it, she was walking up the stage to receive her well-deserved award. 


“I just felt so honored that professional artists were able to see potential in me,” said Ho. “Also, my artwork was printed into postcards and was being sold at the Festival of Arts gift shop, which was amazing because I would never think that my art would be able to have a chance to be publicized.”


Vanessa Ho stands with her oil painting that she made in an oil painting class at the University of California, Irvine.

To an artist, time is kept track by the number of projects he or she is invested in. For Ho, this is certainly the case. As a junior in high school, Ho finds her plate – more like, paint palette – full of her current ambitions. She took oil painting classes at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) over the summer, runs her Instagram art account on the side, is the vice president of Beckman’s Creator’s Corner Club, secretary of Beckman’s Second Harvest Food Bank Club, secretary of Beckman’s Art 101 Club and takes an hour-long art class once a week. 


While balancing her endless projects, Ho struggles with time management with academics, extracurricular activities, and art. As she grew older, squeezing art into her busy schedule became difficult; she would find herself hastily drawing during ten-minute breaks between homework and whenever she finds free time on the weekends. 


Luckily, she takes an art class at Beckman High School where an hour of her day is dedicated to art every day. Within the four walls of her art class, Ho is able to explore new artistic techniques in order to always be at her full potential.


“I can see it that [Vanessa] is a very talented artist,” said Ms. Squieri, the Beckman art teacher. She has mentored Ho since her sophomore year. “I can definitely see her artwork put up in a gallery one day. She, again, is more on the quiet side, but I think it works for her because then she takes in her surroundings. And so she takes those things and she applies it to her artwork.”


As college slowly draws closer, Ho is contemplating where her art career will take her in the future. With her future not yet drawn out for her, Ho is taking on every project that comes to her with ambition and dedication. 


An Honorable Mention ribbon is displayed on one of Vanessa Ho’s drawn portrait titled “Still Life” at the art gallery of the Tustin Area Council of Fine Arts (TACFA).

“I really hope that I can do something related to art as a career in the future,” said Ho. “At the moment, I’m not completely sure whether I want to be an artist, but I think by the time I go to college, I’ll be able to decide what I truly want to do.” She plans to take AP Studio Art as a senior, put together her college art portfolio, and work on art pieces for various competitions. She wants to enter the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, Doodle4Google contest and the Orange County Imaginationation Celebration competition to garner more attention and publicity for her artwork.


Clearly, art has made an impact on Ho. To her friends, family and teachers, art has become inseparable from her identity. From what started as small doodles and scribbles has become to shape Ho into the person she is today. Whether it be a source of self-expression, an outlet to relax or an art career, Ho will certainly have art to rely on.


Ho has made it clear that art possesses endless possibilities that can definitely change one’s life: “The best part of drawing is to just see your ideas come to life. I find it fascinating that I can create anything that I imagine only using a piece of paper and a pencil.”


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