Bedford Arts and Crafts Society Awards its 2021 Scholarship to YiChen Li

~ Submitted by Bedford Arts and Crafts Society

Maureen Reiling and YiChen Li

YiChen Li is the recipient of the 2021 scholarship from the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society (BACS). YiChen graduated from Bedford High School in June. He will be attending the Rhode Island School of Design and plans to study painting.

YiChen reflected when asked about his interest in art. “My best specialty is oil painting. I’ve had basic training in sketching and such since I was a kid. But it was only when I got to high school that I decided to go down the art path. For painting style, I’ve been torn between realism and expressionism. Sometimes I focus more on expression, but on the other hand, I don’t have enough realistic skills to paint the picture I want.”

Also interested in literature and in his cultural heritage, YiChen observes, “Literature is also a great inspiration for my art. I think that in a good painting there is a story. Narrative is an important basis for good painting. Although I have been working on my painting skills, I know that oil painting is only a tool, and what I want to show, what I want to record, what I want to tell, these themes are the ultimate goal.”

“I have not forgotten my Chinese identity, and as I see that China is rising, I want to keep my eye on the pulse of the times while presenting the spirit of Chinese culture to the world. I don’t practice Chinese painting, I only practice oil painting of European origin, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s just a difference in medium.”

“I think I am just ambitious; I have many wonderful stories and images in my head that I want to paint, but I am not capable of doing so. The most important thing now is to get the foundations right. The reason I chose RISD is to learn the qualities that make an artist.”

Looking to his immediate goals and his plans beyond, YiChen says, “I don’t want to say which career I will have in the future, because my future career may not exist yet. I don’t want this answer to limit what I can do in the future.”

YiChen’s work is on display on the Bedford Arts and Craft Society’s website. See his beautiful and imaginative artwork at

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