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Ariel Barish was Encouraged to Pursue STEM But Preferred Reading and Drawing

Ariel Barish

Senior art student Ariel Barish has already explored her craft around the world. Along with studying at Idyllwild Art Academy, an international art boarding school near Riverside, Barish went to Korea in 2022 and Japan in 2023 to study printmaking. 

Growing up in Southern California, where her dad works as a physics professor at UC Riverside, Barish was often encouraged to pursue STEM. However, she always preferred reading and drawing. With no siblings Barish grew up to be independent and figure things out on her own. “I don't understand what a sister-brother relationship is, I just can't comprehend it,” she says.” Despite her lack of siblings she grew up with dogs, and now her mother takes care of parakeets.

When choosing a college, UC Santa Cruz felt like the right choice. Her father is an alumnus, as well as her high school printmaking teacher who helped inspire her. “People that I really admire came here and the campus really reminded me of my high school.” Like most people in attendance Barish was also inspired by the scenery here: “The campus itself is very inspiring. Being so close to beaches like West Cliff, it's a good place to just think about art.” She’s also no stranger to a college campus given how much time she spent on the UC Riverside campus growing up.

After high school Barish planned on pursuing other interests such as psychology or literature in college, but nonetheless found her way back to art in the end. “Art has always been the thing that I love the most,” she says. Her medium of choice is painting because of its accessibility. “I love portraiture and I'm trying to tell stories with them.”

Earlier this school year Barish was selected against other students to have her work shown at the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. “I pretty much live and breathe art,” she says. Most of her free time is spent working on art or talking about projects with her friends. Recently Barish has been spending a lot of time watching her friends play chess. She is working on a chess painting at the moment and describes the experience of watching her friends saying, “It's so fun to see it in real time.”

Though Barish’s time at UC Santa Cruz is coming to a close, her time as an artist is far from other. In the fall she plans on attending New York University (NYU) to receive her MFA in art. “I'm just excited to be in a place with different cultures and like different history and mythology,” she says. “That's a critical part in learning and those experiences are hard to replicate.”

Looking back on her time at UC Santa Cruz, Barish is thankful for all the connections and opportunities she has had.” I think I've made some pretty great relationships, not just with the students but also the staff members. It is a very supportive environment,” she says. “That's why my art has been able to go to such great heights, because it has just felt like a very good environment.”


May 2024