A look inside IB Art student Olive Guo’s artwork


Senior Olive Guo stand next to his art exhibition in the auditorium lobby.

The annual IB Senior Art Exhibition is an opportunity for seniors in and out of the IB Art program to showcase their artwork throughout the year. Held in the auditorium lobby, their artwork was hung up along with their curatorial rationale – an explanation of what their artwork is about – for people to tour around. 

Senior Olive Guo, a member of the IB Art Program and a Scholastic Art and Writing Medalist, said his artwork showcased the progression of human emotion, starting from a sense of mystical relaxation, to detachment, to grief and finally to a sense of hope.

“Since I dealt with a lot of that this year, I decided to express that through my art,” Guo said. “It was kind of like a progression through happier emotions, through slightly darker ones, and then ending with a more lighthearted piece. So I kind of wanted to show the journey of how people experience emotions and stuff.”

His initial plan was to have his artwork incorporate elements of space into his artwork, but Guo said dealing with grief following the loss of one of his teammates, as reflected in his third piece, solidified the theme of human emotion among his work. 

Guo, who describes his artwork as painterly in a digital format and illustrative, said the inspiration for his exhibitions came in part from websites such as Pinterest, but also came to be as a result of his own emotions. 

“For the third piece, that kind of came to mind immediately since the emotions were more intense at that time. So I wasn’t really inspired by any artwork other than my own feelings,” Guo said.

Guo’s favorite piece, he said, was the final piece in his exhibition titled “Reaching,” which shows a hand, tied back by vines, reaching for a rose.

“I really enjoy the colors that I used, like, the idea kind of just came to me in my head. I don’t know where it came from, but I really like it,” Guo said. “And just the expression, the sunset in the background, the feathers. I just, I’m pretty proud of myself for that one.”

Guo said that the amount of time he spent on each piece varied from 16 to 20 hours, a time that saw many drafts and changes. It was a process, he said, that was both relieving and stressful.

“I have this entire other piece that I was planning on using but I just didn’t like it as much so I decided to completely scrap it. I still have it saved, but I didn’t put it in the exhibition because I had other pieces that I like better,” Guo said.

“It’s relieving that you don’t have to deal with, like, an artwork that you don’t enjoy as much, but also you have to spend more time creating a completely new artwork,” Guo said.

Every piece of Guo’s exhibition was created digitally, which Guo said he prefers because the medium is easier to work with. 

“You could easily undo or redo any mistakes that you have or like any ideas that you want to implement. It’s easy to manipulate the entire surface and it’s also a lot cleaner,” Guo said.

In the end, Guo, who is planning on attending Ringling College of Art and Design for Illustration, said that the IB Art course and the Exhibition better prepared him for his future. 

“I think taking this IB course has definitely prepared me better for art school, since I know it’s going to be extremely rigorous in the future,” Guo said. “And just having a little taste of that is pretty helpful.”