IN her early years of high school, Melissa Tan (18) would walk among the works on display at the Gallery of WA.
She would wonder how to get there.
Drawing has long been an outlet for the Willetton Senior High School graduate, who will next week celebrate the unveiling of her first exhibition piece at Year 12 Perspectives.
“When I was told I was selected for Year 12 Perspectives I felt shocked to be honest,” Melissa said.
“I have visited the art gallery here and there and I had seen past year 12 works and I always thought about what it would be like to be one of these people… I could say I was star struck by being selected.”
Melissa began drawing after watching her aunt as a child, keen to see if she could do something as beautiful.
“My aunt used to draw a lot and at the time when I was growing up I was fascinated to see if I could do something as amazing if I tried,” she said.
“It progressed and I loved it so much.”
Melissa’s untitled piece is two self-portraits, drawing inspiration from Frieda Kahlo’s Two Frieda’s.
“One portrait is in graphite pencil, the other in colour,” Melissa said.
“I was inspired by Frieda Kahlo and the two Frieda’s, and her two personalities,”
“One of her quotes that ‘you are the best person that you know’ inspired me so that is why I drew myself,”
“My graphite piece is an expression of my physical flaws in my face, being a teenage girl with a lot of insecurities and the colour drawing expressed the outward happiness with make up and the ability,”
The wilted flowers in the background represent what is happening internally, that there is always a struggle.”
Art will remain a hobby, however, as Melissa prepares to undertake a degree at university, specialising in languages, another passion.
“I see art as a hobby not a career path, I will keep drawing and have been uploading my drawings onto social media, but I don’t think as a career choice I would delve into it,” she said.
“I am going to go straight to uni, I was offered a scholarship to study Japanese at Curtin, I have an artistic brain.”
Year 12 Perspectives run from the Art Gallery of WA from January 20-April 2.