Alumni Spotlight: Evelyn Bi

The Talon interviews Evelyn Bi in the latest edition of Alumni Spotlight


Evelyn Bi is a freshman at Boston University studying in the College of Fine Arts.

The journey after Magnet is not the same for every alumnus. Some students attend post secondary schools with traditional campuses, some study abroad, some take gap years, and others chose to immerse themselves in fast paced, vibrant city environments to learn and grow. Recent Magnet alumna, Evelyn Bi, falls in the latter of the list. During her time at Academic Magnet, Evelyn was a very involved student, president of Youth Magazine Club, and a well rounded member of the student body. Now, she is in the midst of her freshmen year at Boston University where she is studying graphic design and learning to create meaningful artwork. The Talon decided to sit down with Evelyn this week to find out more about what life in Boston is really like as well as pursuing a creative career.

How has life in Boston been different than life in Charleston?

Colder and busier but still full of love. Also transportation takes a lot of my time.

Similar to the previous question, how has college differed or been similar to AMHS?

Professors, especially in the College of Fine Arts (CFA) School of Visual Arts, push you to look deeper and deeper inward because that’s where meaningful work comes from. This is the start of moving away from drawing exercises and still life assignments that help refine technical skills to making work about what drives you, the things that have always been a part of you and will always be a part of you.

I also have a lot more control over the friends I make because the student body is so big and my time is limited since I’m taking around 19 credits every semester and I’m in the Honors College. If you really want to get to know someone you can’t just rely on time in class, you have to make the effort to hang out in your free time.

A sculpture Evelyn was working on.

What creative projects are you currently working on?

A few weeks ago I got some artwork up in a BU gallery, and I’m currently working on a poem and some drawing assignments using text. I recently got a small CFA grant to fund a project I’ve been wanting to do ever since my sculpture class started working with wood—I’ll be building and painting a 4ft tall birch wood wall relief.

What is your favorite medium to work with?

I’d have to say wood, although last semester I got to work with charcoal in a way that I never thought was possible and that was a nice eye-opening experience. I worked primarily with birch wood, and I loved the physicality of the act of constructing with a material so solid. The effect of sturdiness after gluing and nail-gunning pieces of wood together is really satisfying, and the color and grain of raw wood is also really appealing to me.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your creative projects?

Definitely art history and how I’m feeling. I owe a lot to my art history class this year, I think. That class has given me a perspective in regards to art that now I wouldn’t know what to do without.

I draw inspiration from anything that makes me feel something, and I’m still trying to figure out what those things have in common. I really like the idea of unifunctional objects, like how toys are portrayed in film, and I’ve been thinking about the idea of sacredness lately. What makes something sacred? What makes a place sacred? How does something that has sentimental value change its actual value or worth?

I also draw inspiration from the fact that there’s no wrong or invalid reason to make art or to make certain artistic choices. For example, a filmmaker could make an entire movie based off of one word, and all because the filmmaker liked how the word looked when written on paper. Or a painting could be inspired by a shadow you thought you saw on the ground walking to class.

How did your involvement in creating/running youth magazine club at AMHS affect your creative process/interests today?

YMAG gave me confidence in myself. I realized that if I believe in me, I really can do anything. But it also gave me a chance to take on a bigger, more serious project where collaboration and delegation were necessary, and I learned a lot about collaboration from a leader’s point of view.

Any advice for AMHS students wanting to pursue creative interests?

A view of the city of Boston from Boston University.

Think about what you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Whether you’re teaching math to a fourth grade class, writing up a research paper on how X compound influences stem cell differentiation, or developing a character for an animated film, are you happy? And if you can, try to get as much experience in that field as early as you can.

Any last thoughts?

It’s in your best interest to be very interested—in your professors’ research, in what the people around you are passionate about, in things that you can’t really take classes on or talk about to anyone off the street, and be interested to the point of voluntarily doing research. Dig, read, document, and keep on digging.

Big thanks to Evelyn for agreeing to be interviewed for this alumni spotlight and for providing such wonderful responses about her experiences at Boston University and with her creative interests!