Jennifer Tang

Case Western Reserve University

My background is in engineering, but painting has challenged me even more to study various forms. It’s taught me to see things as they appear, instead of how I expect them to be. I put different shapes and colors on canvas, and the way they combine creates this image of some person or place or thing. The process is often a discovery: I don’t know what each shape represents until I add the shapes around it. When I’m finished, all the pieces fall into place.

This series is comprised of pieces inspired by music, including song lyrics that resonate with me. There’s a line in the song, “Into the Airwaves” that goes, “this fishbowl life is all they need.” It conveys this idea that we are content to stay within the confines of safety and comfort. But that contentment may keep us from going where we ought to go. Maybe adventure awaits, and it’s not too far away. Maybe anything could happen, be it good or bad. But wouldn’t it be better to find out than spend your whole life in a fishbowl, thinking you have everything you need?

Sometimes I think engineering is my fishbowl life, because I have security in it, though it may not be the most exciting path. In fact, I hope it’s not. I hope I do things that terrify me and challenge me to grow. I hope to have more opportunities to paint, attend rock shows, play with dogs, and go on adventures (to see all the sights and hear all the sounds). I will be spending the next few years in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I plan to do all of those things.

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