more artsy than u

Amanda Ba is a Columbia College freshman who is taking Lit Hum while also running online clothing business. This week, Bwogger Victoria Arancio admired dogs with Ba and discussed her plans for her art and for her first year at Columbia. 

Bwog: Give us insight into the amazing life of Amanda Ba. 

AB: I was born in Columbus, Ohio. When I was one year old, I moved to Hefei, China where I lived for five years with my grandparents. Chinese became my first language, and when I came back to America for kindergarten I picked up English pretty quickly. A lot of people have asked me how long I’ve been interested in art. Art is something that I have always seen myself doing.

Bwog: What got you interested in designing clothing?

AB: I was always interested in clothing because it’s an accessible art form that people don’t mind investing into. I can’t imagine an 18 year old kid blowing $300 on a painting for fun, and I’m not at that stage where I am able to sell one of my paintings for a lot of money. Clothing is just a fast, simpler, and more affordable art that reaches a wider audience. I went for designs that were less time consuming, but still showed my artistic ideas. Clothing makes my art more appealing to my marketing crowd.

Bwog: How did you start selling clothes on Depop?

AB: I think it’s hard for people to really start creating art, and for many artists it becomes this “do or die” moment when they finally decide to get the ball rolling with their artwork. I was in high school when I was thinking about getting a job. My parents wanted me to work in a supermarket but I just couldn’t see myself bagging groceries every day. I decided that I should try making money off my art, and a good way to get my work out there was to post some art online, where I could market my clothing to 15-30 year old women, the easiest marketing crowd. I saw someone else’s site on Depop and really liked the platform that Depop created. It was 3am when I started to plan everything out, and the next day I started the shop. It started out small but became what it is today.

Bwog: Tell me about the things that I can find on your Depop site.

AB: Depop is a site for thrifting and reselling. Today it evolved to be more of a buying and reselling site for rare pieces of clothing. I started with a few painted t-shirts and they sold first and quickly. This became my niche, and you can find t-shirts, dresses, jumpers, long sleeves on my Depop page. I also make some small paintings, paint on baseball caps, and make earrings out of things like your grandmother’s shrinky dinks. I’m planning on doing hoodies and sweatshirt for the cooler weather.

Bwog: Thoughts on a major?

AB: Visual Arts for sure.

Bwog: Your first impression of CC vs. now.

AB: I was a little disillusioned at first because college is glorified. Being dropped in this new college environment can be tough for freshman and it can be very intimidating. During NSOP, everyone’s trying to make friends and navigate through thousands of people while trying to find your identity. My first impression of college was unexpected, and it was tough to go out and try hard to make friends. It wasn’t bad, but it was different. I guess it was good kind of intimidating, looking at upperclassmen that know what they’re doing. I was a trash bag then, but I am a reusable tote bag now. Oh, and New York does not disappoint. I like my living space, my professors and my classes, and I’m finally beginning to call CC home.

Bwog: Besides making bank $$$, what do you do in your spare time on campus?

AB: I’m still club shopping. I’m in Tennis Club and Chinese Students Club. Sometimes I’ll sketch on campus and sometims I get asked to illustrate for The Fed, Blue and White, and Hoot magazine. I have had some people reach out to me for shirt designs, logos, or just satirical cartoons on anything. I try to leave campus as much as possible, especially when it’s so easy for a week to pass by and stay on campus. There is a whole city outside of these walls and it has so much value. I like just exploring what the city really has to offer.

Bwog: What are you most excited about this semester?

AB: I can’t wait to pick up the pace in my painting class and begin focusing in larger pieces. I’m also really looking forward to settling in and finding a routine. It’s hard adapting to all of this new time and freedom. I’m still trying to organize and find a balance between work and fun.

Bwog: What’s something that you wouldn’t be caught dead in?

AB: If I was a guy, you would never see me in flip flops.

Bwog: What’s your favorite item in your closet?

AB: I have this off the shoulder black top that goes with all of the wacky pants that I own. I also channel the 70s by wearing an orange suede coat with fur cuffs.

Bwog: What do you miss most from home?

AB: Without a doubt, my dog. I love my dog as much as anyone could without it getting weird.

Bwog: What’s your least favorite class so far and why?

AB: It’s both my favorite and least favorite: my 9am body sculpting class. The idea of doing burpees so early in the morning is horrible, but there’s just something special about my instructor’s Euro-trash version of Adele’s “Hello” that really gets me excited for my day. I can’t really explain it.

Bwog: What was the last song you listened to?

AB: Kanye’s Famous. Generally I’ve been listening a lot to The Life of Pablo. His vibe has been my go-to playlist in between classes.