Young artist hosts art exhibit for breast cancer research

By Brandon Gustafson | Nov 01, 2017
Courtesy of: Hillary Zhang Hillary Zhang with one of her pieces, titled “Flying Hamburger.” Zhang had her own art exhibit at the Harbour Pointe Golf Club Saturday, Oct. 21, and proceeds from sales went toward breast cancer research.

When she was in fifth grade, her friends planted a seed in her head that never went away.

“My friends would marvel at my art and tell me, ‘You should have your own art gallery,’" Hillary Zhang said. “The idea has stuck with me since, and I knew I wanted to do a showcase of my art before I turned 18.”

Zhang, now 17, can cross that milestone off her bucket list.

The Harbour Pointe Golf Club played host to Zhang’s first art show on Saturday, Oct. 21, an event over 10 years in the making.

“I've been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember,” Zhang said. “Ever since I could talk, I loved drawing little figurines and houses on paper, and observing the unusual and interesting aspects of my surroundings. I formally started learning art when I was 6 years old, and my artistic interests have grown since then.”

Having her own art exhibit is already remarkable considering her age, but what makes the gallery that much more impressive is the story behind it.

“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2016,” Zhang said. “I immediately knew that if I sold any of my art, I wanted to donate the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help the numerous other women who were diagnosed with breast cancer, in the hopes that one day they will be cancer-free.”

Zhang, whose mother is her biggest role model, said that some of her earliest memories with her mother helped shape her as an artist.

“One of my favorite memories from when I was little was my mother pointing out the birds outside our window and the different colors of their feathers,” Zhang said. “My mother taught me to notice the small nuances and beauty in life around me, and helped me develop my taste and love for art.”

Those small nuances went on to allow Zhang to host the exhibit at the Harbour Pointe Golf Club, where with the support of her friends and family, she raised over $1,500.

Zhang said that when it comes to inspiration for many of her pieces, she often looks at the beauty that’s available to many of us here in Washington.

“Growing up in the greater Seattle area, many of my paintings are inspired by the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific Northwest, such as my pieces ‘Fall in Snoqualmie,’ ‘Zen Garden’ and ‘Big Catch,’” Zhang said. “I also enjoy capturing unusual thoughts and merging reality with fantasy to create metaphorical images, such as in my pieces ‘Apple Invasion’ and ‘Flying Hamburger.’”

Zhang does not live in Mukilteo, but has many friends who live here and wanted them to be a part of her big day.

“I currently live in Bellevue, and I decided to have this event in Mukilteo because I have friends down in Mukilteo and I thought that they would like this event,” Zhang said. “A couple dozen people ended up attending.

“I mainly advertised around Mukilteo as I wanted to keep the event relatively small and focused around the Mukilteo community, and the people who came really enjoyed the event. The staff at Harbour Pointe were also super supportive and helpful during the event.”

Zhang said she would love to have another exhibit and it ideally would be early next year, in January.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.

If you, like Zhang, would like to donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, visit their website at bcrf.org and click “donate.”

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