07-01-2021 Howard Mag - Flipbook - Page 47
Kianna Pan, visual artist
Her allegorical paintings beg tales to be told. Her digital
art suggests Pixar at work. For Kianna Pan, 18, drawing is
foremost in her life, so much so that, at River Hill High,
she’d turn in assignments and tests on which she’d absently
doodled a picture or two. No matter.
“As long as I was paying attention and getting good
grades, my teachers didn’t mind,” Pan said. “Art is a very
big part of me; I’ve even put my iPhone on my paint palette
[to talk], though once I colored it yellow.”
Come fall, she’ll attend the Rhode Island School of
Design, having graduated from a Howard County school
steeped more in math and science than in art. It was at
River Hill, as a freshman, that she took an art class, on a
whim, to fill out her schedule — and found her calling.
“I didn’t do still lifes or pictures of fruit and stuff,” said
Pan. “My teachers had me leave my comfort zone and
Her work, often laced with fantasy, conjures up colorful
and imaginary worlds shaped by her own reflective
struggles. One painting portrays a Tolkien-like landscape
in which a girl, engrossed in a book, glides downstream in
a boat, oblivious to a jumble of doors — i.e., life’s choices
— that seem to beckon from the shore.
“It’s about trying to find one’s identity, and a feeling of
life passing you by,” said Pan, who lives in Highland. “Most
of my work has an element of story to it.”
As such, she’d like to work on animated movies like
“WALL-E,” the 2008 heart-wrencher about a lonely
“Unwinding” by Kianna Pan.
“I’m inspired by how [the filmmakers] could express
so much personality in a film without dialogue, using just
movements,” Pan said.
Her wheels are turning already.
“Nature and Nurture” by Pan. IMAGES COURTESY OF KIANNA PAN
howardmagazine.com | FALL 2021 | 47