A & E Student Spotlight: Aly Baluan


Senior Aly Baluan spends most of her time, like most students, trying to get through school. She wakes up early, heads to East, works through her classes, heads home, does loads of homework, and gets to bed to do it all over again. She squeezes in free time whenever she can, even though hefty school course loads can make this difficult. However, beyond her classes, she has one passion that she puts her pride into and spends a lot of that precious free time on: her artwork.

Aly has an art Instagram, alongside a more typical personal account, where she posts anything from detailed, beautiful digital pieces to cute notebook sketches. Without prior knowledge of her, it’d be easy to think it the account of an adult freelancer with both the quality and quantity. Aly views her artwork as a good escape from the stressors of a busy school life. Her works showcase realistic (though sometimes exaggerated) proportions, brighter colors, and a keen sense of perspective. This can be seen based on the artists and animators she admires. “My inspirations when it comes to art would definitely include Rebecca Sugar, Natasha Allegri, Gabriel Picolo, etc.,” she told me. “I love to focus on cartoon/2D related art since that is the field I aspire to get into in the future.”

Aly is currently in AP Studio Art 2D Design, where she greatly enjoys the chance to flex her creative muscles and learn about her interests. She’s also able to work her art into everyday school life. “I’ve helped my friend in the past set up a display in the glass cabinet right outside the library, and now that I’m in AP Art, I’ve volunteered to face paint at tailgates, help organize at the Fine Arts Festival and am currently working on other art-related fundraising events with my class,” she says. Her favorite class besides AP Art is her Spanish class. “I’m Hispanic on my mother’s side, and although I’m learning the language at school, it’s fun to learn more about my culture and roots.”

Her goals beyond high school are to include art even more in her life. Aly knows there’s only so much she can do while in school, which means an odd balance needs to be pursued to manage her growing hobby and classwork. “For me, personally, balancing school and art can and has been difficult,” she states. “Obviously, school is a bigger priority, so most of my energy goes into it. It can be hard to keep up since I have some personal issues to deal with as well, but eventually when I do find the time and motivation to make art, I find it very relaxing; a temporary escape from stress.” 

Despite the trouble with balancing it all, she can’t wait for the chance to expand on her talent. “Goals for my art would definitely include working on commissions and selling my pieces on the side once I have the time to do it,” she says. Between all of this stands her dream goal: to be able to create her own cartoon. “What I plan to do with my art once I’ve graduated high school is study 2D animation, and hopefully one day create my own cartoon show that helps normalize mental health issues.” To make it in the animation industry is tricky, as it is a competitive and demanding career. However, the grit it takes to balance schoolwork with art and mental health well shows that Aly has the skill and determination to make a name for herself in the industry. With luck, it’s apparent she could be a great voice in that crowd, and that she is already regardless a fantastic representation of the artistic spirit at Glenbard East. 

If you know any students at East who do outside art, music, writing, film, or some other kind of art form, feel free to contact the A&E Department for a chance to get them featured at [email protected]