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UC Riverside student sees art as way to make statements

Megan Hsu, 20, has won honors for work to raise coronavirus awareness and to spread an anti-tobacco message
By Patrick Brien |
The Press-Enterprise –

Megan Hsu described art as always having been a creative outlet with infinite possibilities and freedoms for her to express herself without using words to tell stories.

“Since I was little, I loved being able to capture precious moments through scribbles with crayons, stick figures or shapes,” the 20-year-old said

She explained that, when she looks back at her old drawings, the style is very different but the sentimental value remains.

“To me the drawings are imperfectly perfect,” she said. “They represent pieces of myself at an earlier stage of my life. As I go through life having new experiences or learning new things, I want to continue telling stories through my art by creating works that speak to the heart and connect with people.”

“Bridging Our Health,” was created by UC Riverside student Megan Hsu.
(Photo courtesy of Megan Hsu)

Born in Baldwin Park, Hsu grew up in Fullerton before moving to Riverside to attend UC Riverside, where she is in her third year as a biology major.

Hsu began early on using art as a means of making a statement. One of her fondest artistic memories is when she was a senior at Sunny Hills High School. As president of the art club, she led a small group of students in participating in the Wyland Foundation’s national art challenge, which had a theme of “water.”

“It was truly heartwarming to see the students dedicate their time, passion and unique artistic skills to come together and paint a mural that represented our collective interpretation of water being the essence to life and our duty to protect it,” she said.


Hsu has recently been involved with Reach Out, a non-profit organization that serves Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In late 2020, she won the 18-and-over category in its Masks are Medicine art contest that promoted COVID-19 awareness. Then, earlier this year, she won the ages-16-through-20 category in its Tobacco Free I.E. art contest.

Under Reach Out’s program Healthy Jurupa Valley, she took part in the Leadership Engagement Advocacy Program with four other created a workshop on raising awareness about the dangers of vaping, she said.

Hsu believes that art can be a form of empowerment, method of storytelling or way of self-expression and experimentation. She also feels that it can provide a way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect and bond.

Riverside artist Megan Hsu, 20, created this work titled “Growth.” (Photo courtesy of Megan Hsu)

Currently focusing on a mix of semi-realism with nature and what she called “fantastical elements,” Hsu’s artistic style is something she would like to continue developing. As she learns additional techniques and experiments with more non-traditional mediums, she plans to incorporate life experiences into her artwork.

Graphic design is another area of interest for Hsu, although she has never formally taken classes. Instead she has relied upon trial and error, as well as online research, watching YouTube videos and reading blogs. She has designed several logos for school projects and contests. Hsu is also a contributing graphic designer for “Science, Translated,” an international publication intended to educate, inform and inspire the public and the next generation of budding scientists.

“I create supporting visuals for articles written by our journalists,” she said of her work for the journal led by students around the world.

Hsu plans to become a physician.

“I don’t know where exactly I will be 10 years from now, but I want to continue nurturing my passion for the arts and use it to engage with my community or speak up on behalf of those who need the support,” she said.

Read this article on The Press-Enterprise website


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