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If you’ve ever seen the movie “Ratatouille”, an incredibly endearing film made by Pixar about a rat with big dreams and not-big-enough paws to make them come true, then you’ll probably remember a quote spoken by Chef Gusteau that was repeatedly made fun of and stepped on by an entrenched food critic:

“Anyone can cook.”

The critic didn’t believe that anyone could cook. It was a talent, he observed, that was reserved for the highly educated in the culinary world… point is, either you’ve got it or you don’t.

It’s not until the very end of the movie that the critic, upon witnessing what this little rat chef could do, came upon a stunning revelation about what the quote really meant in terms of cooking and being a culinary chef. No, not everyone can cook. I am sure proof of that (heck, I even mess up boiled cup noodles.) But a great cook can come from anyone.

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“Breathe” by me

I’ve been turning this idea over and over in my mind these past few weeks as I frantically poured over canvases to finish my 150 point project for my English class. You see, I was the dummy who chose to draw 25 pictures — different styles of art I might add — in less than two-three weeks. I guess it would have turned out much better had I not procrastinated.

Anyways, this quote really resounded with me. You see, up until high school started, I had myself pegged as “the girl who could draw a little but will never get anywhere because she has no money for professional help”. I thought that because of where I am in life (in terms of money and family situations) that I wouldn’t really make it out there with my art and my ideas. And from that, I started thinking that I wasn’t creative, had no imagination and that I wouldn’t be able to do what I loved because of my “limits”.

“just when you think you’ve reached your limit” by me 2010 version vs 2012 version

Then it hit me, just as it hit that twisted critic, that all these limits I thought I had were placed on me by myself. Artists aren’t just these famous rich people with time on their hands and plenty of money to buy good canvases. They’re factory workers and farmers and homeless people. They’re mothers and daughters and unappreciated uncles. They’re people with an idea, a cause, a reason to speak up. They’re revolution-starters who started out themselves as little kids drawing portraits of their moms and teenagers sketching controversial topics that nobody else would dare to approach. They’re you and they’re me.

By Viorel Popescu, a photo taken when he was homeless

“learn to bloom” by professional artist Agnes Cecile, a young Italian with difficult circumstances whose only training has been high school art classes

“Between Today and Tomorrow” created by Yuumei, a poly-sci graduate of UC Berkeley who drew this in response to the political situation of her ever-changing home country, China.

14 year-old self-photographer Zev takes viewers into a new and surreal world

Me, a 15 year old. A digital drawing of my KIWIN’S board using playing card layouts.

Not everyone can draw. But a great artist, someone who conveys an emotion that prompts the observer to have an emotion of their own, can come from anyone.

So enjoy it. Embrace your art. Be it stick figures that will one day grow into post-impressionist art or swipes of watercolor that will one day grow into abstract protest art. This week’s artists are the undiscovered ones, the famous ones, the starved ones and the thriving artists. This week, we celebrate the artists within us.

-the Clubs

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