Lilia Burtonpatel’s passion for art in many forms enriches her life and her future


Actress. Stagehand. Singer. Composer. Photographer. Video Editor. Quiller. Poet. Activist. Future biologist. Senior Lilia Burtonpatel is every one of those words.

Burtonpatel has always loved art, and she has dedicated herself to trying as many different mediums as possible. Her passion for art has leaked into other facets of her life; she hopes to combine her love for art and science in the future. Burtonpatel is playing Enid in the high school’s production of Legally Blonde, and she is the stage manager for Shakespeare.

Besides acting and working backstage, Burtonpatel has tried quilling, origami, singing, composing, graphic design, and photography.

Burtonpatel’s art is a skill that aids her in helping others and creating change in her community. As a co-director of the Asian Pacific American Club and member of the Asking for Courage day planning committee, Lilia uses her art to address important topics.

“I’m able to have different types of contributions, besides ideas and events. I’m able to help make things more accessible for other people; art makes hard topics more accessible,” Burtonpatel said. “It’s a way to frame it so that people can feel a different emotion while they look at it so they don’t walk away as quickly [and] it’s easier to process. That is the most valuable thing art has helped me do.”

As someone with a multitude of interests, Burtonpatel has spent her life combining her passions to figure out how everything fits in the bigger picture. This philosophy holds as she looks to her future.

“The thing that I’m interested in doing as a job is biomimicry. It’s engineering and designing technology based on design that exists in nature, taking art and design by appreciating nature and turning it into something that can help people. It combines art and science, and I love that,” Burtonpatel said.

Beyond being interested in science, Lilia has other talents that her artistic side helps her explore. Her art will help her further her career in science, according to her former biology teacher Sarah Hemphill.

“She thinks visually, she thinks creatively and she can imagine things. Not all of being a biologist is memorizing words and terms. It’s having an imagination,” Hemphill said.

Burtonpatel creates a balance of the things she loves to do. For her, the different things she does work together and enhance each other.

“My life has always been a lot of combining different things. I’ve always been able to balance doing what I love and also spending time doing different random crafts and bringing all my science and tech into making theater or music,” Burtonpatel said. “It’s never been a problem. It’s really been more inspirational. One for the other.”

All of Lilia’s interests lead to a hectic schedule, but that doesn’t stop her from working her hardest at everything she has done.

“She’s the kind of person where you’re like ‘draw your little organism’ and she comes in with some amazing, gorgeous drawings. Other people have a stick figure, and she’s got this beautiful thing that took a couple hours. She just pours herself into her work,” Hemphill said.

Senior Helen Ives, Lila’s friend since freshman year, echoed Hemphill’s praise of Lilia’s diligence and positivity.

“Lilia, besides being one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet, is one of the hardest workers at BHS. Lilia continuously puts her full self into everything she does. All activities she participates in result better off because of her involvement,” Ives said.

Burtonpatel’s diligence, along with her curiosity and diversity of craft, helps her to develop a unique worldview that grows with every new type of art she tries.

“I try to find new types of art that I haven’t heard about. I’ll try something I’ve never done because everything you do expands your perspective on life,” Burtonpatel said. “It enables you to see things in a different way. It enables you to do more things, and it enables you to participate in more things. And all of that makes your life a lot richer.”