The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

Spotlight on Saffron Lam (I)

(Source: Sophia Knobel (IV))

Saffron Lam (I) had their first taste of visual art in elementary school. In eighth grade at Boston Latin School, they were inspired by their peers to start taking art more seriously. Now as a senior, they continue their creative journey in AP Studi Art.

Since Lam was young, art has been an integral part of their life. For them, art is a way to articulate their emotions. Lam explains, “Visual art lets me express those wordless feelings in a way that can still communicate a lot to people.”

In their art, Lam goes for a semi-realistic art style, taking inspiration from social media apps such as Pinterest and Instagram, with some of their favorite aesthetics being “weird-core” and liminal space.

As an AP Studio Art student, they are creating a personal art portfolio, with a theme on the hypocrisy of religion. Having grown up Catholic, Lam frequently questions why some people are so blindly devoted to their religion to the point that they “use religion […] as an excuse to oppress people.” This thinking is displayed in their art, as one of the pieces in their portfolio depicts a nun and a woman. While seemingly straightforward, in context, Lam was inspired by, in older nunneries, women became nuns to escape marriage and how many nuns were in sapphic relationships.

Sometimes, Lam has complex concepts they would like to execute, but feels their skills are inadequate to portray their ideas. To combat this, they have two sketchbooks: one for complete projects, and one “purely for learning” and expressing their creativity, including doodling and figure sketching. 

BLS AP Studio Art teacher Mr. Stephen Harris adds, “When you look at a student’s sketchbook, you can actually see how their mind is […] working on a concept. Saffron’s sketchbooks are filled with pages and pages of concept art before they even start something new.”

Lam’s art process is not always smooth sailing, however. They often struggle with having a “perfectionist” mindset, leading to added stress from setting such high expectations for themselves. As a result, they can find it hard to even start creating a piece. Lam’s perseverance has led to amazing results despite these challenges.

In addition to visual arts, Lam has enjoyed declamation since sixie year. After the pandemic, they gave public declamation a try. “Public dec[lamation] really does help you in the real world.” Lam explains this experience has helped them learn to speak up and build confidence. Last April, they secured first place in the competition.

Lam has also been heavily involved in BLS’s Theatre Department since sophomore year. This year they played a main character in BLS Theatre’s hit production of PLEASE LEAVE (a message). 

Despite all its wins, Lam feels that “the most important part of theatre for me is the people who are in it. It is a very tight-knit community.”

Lam reflects on the profound impact that BLS has had for them over the last six years, from AP Studio Art to public declamation and theatre: “I’m just really grateful for knowing the people I know now.”

No matter what their future may hold, Lam’s passion for arts during their time at BLS will continue into their future, as they plan to pursue a double major in psychology and art. “I hope that Saffron keeps the creative part of their life […] it seems like the creative outlet is something that is just who they are,” concludes Mr. Harris.

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