Camilla Guo ’17: Capturing Everyday With Pencil and Paint

A colored pencil rendering of a single, shining blue eye. An earth-toned ocelot in the shadows. No matter the medium — oil pastels, colored pencils, or graphite, the artwork of Camilla Guo ’17 is striking even to the amateur eye.

Guo, from Windham, NH, has been involved in the visual arts since the age of five. Ever since her first art lesson at age eight, Guo has grown tremendously as an artist. Her portfolio consists of intricately drawn portraits and abstract, surrealistic patterns.

One of the many impressive pieces in her online portfolio is a detailed portrait of Anna Russett, a well-known YouTube video blogger. Using white and black charcoal, Guo captures Russett’s appearance by playing with subtle highlights on the neck and hair.

“When I started to draw portraits on my own, they turned out ‘ugly,’ but if I just consistently work on it, I [realize] I could improve even without a teacher. That was really exciting,” said Guo.

In addition to having taken various art lessons, Guo also attended sleepaway art camps in the summer and took lessons at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Recently, however, Guo has chosen to study and create art on her own.

“I stopped taking art classes last year and started worked independently on drawing portraits of my friends,” said Guo. “Before that, I had started selling my art. At that moment, I realized how much I cared about art.”

“I’ve started exploring abstract art on my own, but I mostly still go to my teachers for guidance on still life and realistic pieces,” said Guo.

Guo is excited by the variety of artistic opportunities that Andover has to offer, particularly with the presence of the new Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence, James Prosek. During her recent visits to the Addison Gallery of American Art, Guo has seen many of Prosek’s works. Guo said she particularly enjoyed the aesthetic display of the “Flying Fox,” which depicts a fox with wings.

“Modern art has allowed artists to do things that seem a bit simple without being ridiculed,” Guo said. “You can look at [art], and everyone can interpret it differently. Every time I paint or draw is more for the experience than the result.”

Despite her passion for art, Guo nevertheless retains an open mind towards the future.

“While I’m here, I should just focus on doing the best I can in every subject so I can keep my options open. But I’m definitely thinking about art when it’s time to apply to college,” Guo concluded.