Eryn Ho’s passion for art is reflected in her latest achievement with Michigan’s Youth Arts Festival


Surrounded by brushes and mountains of oil paints, senior Eryn Ho paints her impressive artwork for hours on end. Often painting into the early hours of the morning, her drive and passion for art fuel her, and they are reflected in her stunning artwork.

Eryn’s talent and her superb pieces have recently been recognized by the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA), as one of her pieces has been adjudicated into the top 100 artworks in Michigan for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. The piece itself is a portrait of Eryn’s friend and senior Karisa Rodeghiero. The task given to Eryn and fellow AP Art Studio students by art teacher Neven Allan was to replicate a photo using oil paints. Eryn chose a vibrant picture of Karisa to try to reproduce.

“The painting was of [Karisa], so it was pretty much the same as the picture,” Eryn said. “We had to use the same color schemes. We had the picture next to us and matched the paint from our brushes to the picture to make sure we were right on.”

Although the painting was of Karisa, Eryn used Jon McDonald, a artist in the Forest Hills area, as inspiration. As part of her AP Studio Art Concentration, Eryn’s artwork evolved to spread a message about the environment that was important to her.

“Eryn has been working very hard to achieve mastery with traditional oil paints,” Allan said. “She was inspired by the Forest Hills Artist in Residence, Jon McDonald. Through this inspiration, she changed her AP Studio Art Concentration to reflect this influence by using traditional oils as a medium for the 12 concentration pieces. Through her concentration, she is expressing a strong voice and meaning as she brings awareness to the issue of pollution in our oceans.”

After the painting was finished, Allan submitted it into the MAEA contest and it was consequently selected to be displayed at the GRAM until Feb. 23. Eryn’s painting was then moved to the Kresge Center in Holland, where it was chosen as one of the top 100 youth artworks in Michigan. It will now be on display at the Richmond Center at Western Michigan University May 8 through 20.

Eryn’s piece left a significant impression on Allan, as well as the judges of the competition. Barb Whitney, executive director for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center, was a judge of Eryn’s piece.

The artwork succeeded both analytically and viscerally and has consciously created a narrative, and has invited interaction with the artwork.”

— Barb Whitney, Executive Director for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center

“The selected art shows exceptional artistry in combining skill and creative voice to render an effective visual statement,” Whitney said. “The artwork succeeded both analytically and viscerally and has consciously created a narrative and has invited interaction with the artwork.”

As emphasized by Eryn’s success in art competitions, her talent and meticulous eye for art are obvious. Painting has also given her motivation and patience that will stay with her for the rest of her life, as her talent might also come in handy in future professions.

“I think painting is really calming,” Eryn said. “It’s really cool to be able to make something that only your hand could really do. I’m probably going to MSU to pursue animal science or graphic design, so it would be really cool to use painting even more if I do go into graphic design.”

Although Eryn will graduate this year, her contributions to the art department will be remembered long after her departure.

“Erin is a quiet, thoughtful, caring and passionate artist who is successful in expressing her ideas visually and verbally,” Allan said. “She is a person who is not afraid to push herself as an artist. Over the past four years, Erin has gained confidence in communicating her idea effectively. She is a strong creative problem-solver. She pushes herself past the “good enougha�� to explore not the first right answer, but the best right answer, as she explores her artwork.”