Idyllwild Arts: Dreams

Published : Wednesday, December 20, 2017 | 12:15 PM

“The nose has to be in a certain place and the eyebrows have to be in a certain place,” he explains. “It’s a formulated way of drawing: they want you to draw what they want you to draw.”

Bochen “Bryan” Zhao, a four-year senior at Idyllwild Arts Academy, expresses his dissatisfaction with how visual arts was taught in his home city of Shenzhen, China. This led to him to join the Academy’s Visual Arts Department.

Bryan’s first few weeks at the Academy proved to be a challenging experience. He dealt with homesickness by e-mailing his parents every night.

“I still sometimes get homesick,” he admits.

Despite a difficult beginning, Bryan adjusted well to life at Idyllwild Arts, and earned promotion from Beginning to Intermediate ESL in a matter of weeks. Today he enjoys all of his classes, especially Advanced Biology. He’s also a prefect in the MacNeal dormitory, a position in which he helps other students and assist in dorm activities.

The work is “busier than I expected,” he notes, “but I like to help the other students.”

Bryan’s prefect work reflects his appreciation of the generous help his teachers have given him in permitting him to “to try every possible medium of art, like sculpture and ceramics.”

His latest interest is vehicle design, and his illustrations of cars and motorcycles populate the halls of MacNeal.

When asked about future endeavors, Bryan answers that he has design colleges in mind, such as ArtCenter College of Design, in Pasadena, or Rhode Island School of Design. But he is less willing to discuss his plans for his senior project.

“I want to keep that a secret, but I can tell you it will be mixed media.”

Whatever Bryan’s future may hold, it’s easy to tell from his dorm room, which is full of car models and design books, that he has a lot of dreams.


Idyllwild Arts, 52500 Temecula Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038, (951) 659-2171 or visit







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