“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Gail Sheehy
2015 was a year of transformation for me. A great opportunity came up in July, when a tenant moved out of one of the retail spaces my family owns in West LA. After some major soul searching and serious contemplation, I decided to leave my job in property management in December to pursue my passion in art and open an art gallery! The grand opening will be on February 27, 2016. The inaugural exhibition will feature works by Erik Benjamins and Kristen Dikio, fellow alumni from LMU. I chose the concept of impermanence as the show’s theme because it is something I always remind myself of when I experience significant changes in my life, that nothing is permanent and we can’t hold on to things, people, or moments. Everything is temporary and we have to find happiness in the present moment. Erik and Kristen’s works will explore this concept in different, and unexpected ways. Feel free to check out my gallery’s website for more details: http://www.openmindartspace.com
As I’m approaching my 30th birthday this year, I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection. However, I still don’t feel like I am completely in touch with my true self yet. So, last night on a whim, I started a personal creative project. I plan to create a self portrait each month of this year. I hope that by looking at myself in the mirror when I work on these self portraits, that I can let go of my own self judgements and find peace with being who I am. I think it will be fun to see how each self portrait will differ from one another throughout the year. Here is the first of the series, which I completed last night in about 5 hours. I haven’t painted in a while and almost forgot how therapeutic it is to paint!
Self Portrait – January 2016, Acrylic on Canvas, 18″ x 14″
Stay tuned for more monthly self-portraits, and gallery updates :)
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Although my life has been busy, I’ve been making more time for art. After a crazy 2013, I decided to start off the new year by incorporating more art into my free time to help me stay sane.
I started taking Jewelry classes earlier this year at LMU with the talented Sue Dorman as my teacher, and I’m already finishing up my second session. I learned how to carve wax models, cast, solder, and make rubber molds so far. I have yet to learn stone setting, which would take care of all the basics, so once I’ve practiced and perfected my basic skills, I’ll be ready to start producing my own line of jewelry! My most difficult project to date was this little sea otter:
May 2014 – Sea Otter – 0.25″ x 1″ – 925 Sterling Silver (hand-carved wax mold, casted in sterling silver)
This little guy took me many hours to complete! The facial features were the most difficult to carve out of wax. All I had to work with was a very sharp dental instrument, a sewing needle, and a candle to melt wax if I messed up. My eyes got tired after a while, but it was very therapeutic to really get in the zone and focus on carving for hours on end.
My dad actually gave me this project to complete for one of his customers. He has owned his wholesale jewelry store in Downtown LA since the year I was born, and he finally convinced me to take a jewelry class. I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it so much! He’s already started giving me a whole list of wax mold projects to work on, but after working so hard on this little charm pendant, I told him not to give me such difficult projects until I’ve practiced all my other basic skills and made the most of my classes.
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I also finished a painting I was working on for a while. After seeing the giraffe I painted, my friends Kim and Esteban commissioned me to paint them something for their baby wall too. They wanted a painting of a family of elephants. So I went to work on it, on weekends or whenever I had free time to spare. I lost some momentum for a while but my boyfriend motivated me to get it done. I’m pretty pleased with the results:
April 2014 – Family of Elephants – 36″ x 72″ – Acrylic on Canvas
This isn’t the best photo because there’s a little bit of a yellow shade on the right half of it, but at least you can see the detail of the elephants. I found a photo online for inspiration and changed it a little to make their trunks go up for good luck! The clouds were a lot of fun to paint after meticulously painting the details of the elephants and the grass.
I’m glad my friends really like it. They ended up putting it in their dining room instead of the baby room!
Now, I’m going to take a break from painting for a while or until someone else commissions me again. I’ll just be working on the weekends in the jewelry studio in the meantime and hopefully I’ll start getting stuff onto my Etsy shop soon! Stay tuned!
Posted in Art, Art Project, Inspiration, Jewelry, Painting | Tagged acrylic on canvas, art, art project, casting, creative, elephants, jewelry, lmu jewelry, painting, sea otter, sterling silver, wax jewelry mold | Leave a Comment »
Whoa, has it really been over a year since my last post??? Gosh, time really flies. Within the past six months, my life has gone through many big changes. I quit my day job in March and went on a much needed vacation in Thailand. I’m now going through a divorce, but as much as it has been difficult, it has helped me grow as an individual and I am more in tuned with who I am than ever before.
My plan after quitting my job was to pursue more creative endeavors. The 9-5 grind was just not for me. I wanted to open up shop on Etsy.com and sell whatever creative projects I felt like making that people would want to buy. I started to learn how to crochet with the help of my friend Kim, and grew to really like it. So far I’ve made a baby blanket and a purse, but because I’m still getting used to keeping the each stitch consistent, these items won’t be going on Etsy but served as good practice projects. For now I crochet at my leisure to continue improving my skill and right now I’m currently working on a big throw blanket.
In the meantime, I am working part-time once a week to help my mom with administrative tasks for my family’s real estate business. We decided to make Mondays our work days, and on Tuesdays we would do arts and crafts together. For the past month we worked diligently to turn half of her family room into a craft space, complete with a large crafting table, sewing table and shelving organized with arts and craft supplies.
I also rearranged the furniture in my apartment to create more space to work on paintings. In the past week, I finally completed a painting for my friends Taryn and Zac’s baby nursery.
Giraffe – 2013, Acrylic on Canvas, Triptych 72″x30″
And I helped my friend work on his painting project and completed two small paintings. That’s 3 paintings in one week!
Although I haven’t opened my Etsy shop yet, I’ve been trying to focus more on how to get there and what to do to make it happen. I started to get discouraged thinking about all the what-if’s and worried about failing before I even started making an effort toward my goals. Going to therapy and attempting to keep myself more grounded has helped me realize it’s the little steps along the way that will lead me to success. I can’t expect to accomplish everything overnight, so I have to make sure I have the tools, space, and skills to create quality work to sell. I am tired of just talking about my ideas and dreams, and I am finally ready to do whatever it takes to make them real!
Once my mom and I are finished setting up our craft station, we plan to have a big arts and crafts party to celebrate. I read in a magazine recently that it easy to be overcome by our fears, but if you celebrate the little accomplishments throughout your day in addition to the big ones, it will help you feel more productive and motivate you to keep taking steps forward. So I’m taking things one step at a time with a clear focus on my ultimate goal to open my Etsy shop and share my creativity with the world. Wish me luck!
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Great news, my photos were accepted into the re:present LA exhibition! This is a long awaited accomplishment for me because I have not been in a show since my senior thesis in college. It’s already proven to be a while since I have prepared for a show. I almost thought I couldn’t participate because I was having issues printing my photos. I forgot to set my camera to shoot in higher resolution so when I sent the photo files to get printed, they came out all pixely. Luckily I was able to change the resolution with Photoshop and all was well. In addition to that, much has changed in how artists market themselves through social media. Instead of just passing out flyers and composing emails, I gotta make sure I update my blog and share on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Needless to say, I am enjoying the process and feel so refreshed to be contributing to the art world again! I highly suggest paying a visit to the museum to check out the show and stop by for the opening reception on May 3rd if you can make it. I can’t wait to see all the other LA artists’ work, which I’m sure will be spectacular.
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I haven’t blogged in a while because I started a new full-time job and hardly have had much time to do any art, let alone eat and sleep. I decided to go back to work because I wasn’t quite ready to go back to school. I felt I needed to experience more in the real world to become truly inspired and formulate different perspectives on life. It’s been a few months of adjusting to a new lifestyle, but I’m finally finding some balance in my life. It’s crazy sometimes how opportunities present themselves when you’re not looking out for them. I made a personal goal to make more of an effort to commit to new opportunities. Just in the last month, I have done more art than I did before I started my job.
A couple weeks ago I was asked by my friend Kim to illustrate a few things for a children’s workbook she is putting together. I don’t consider myself to be a great illustrator, but I pushed myself to give it a try anyway and the illustrations turned out pretty nicely. The following week, she forwarded me an email about an Open Call for Artists for re:present LA, a show of “art work that highlights various portrayals of Los Angeles including but not limited to cultural, civic and community practices”. Although the due date for entries was only a week away, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get started on a project that has been lingering in the back of my mind for a while. I wanted to show work that documents the cultural activities taking place in Chinatown, Los Angeles, some of which may become obsolete as older generations of Chinese-Americans fade. Since I had limited time to produce 2-3 pieces for submission, I decided to use photography as my medium for the project even though it’s not my specialty. I asked my father-in-law, who is a professional landscape photographer, to meet me in Chinatown on the weekend and show me a few pointers with the camera. To my surprise, I was able to get a lot of great shots, a few of which I submitted to the show today. See the photos on my new Portfolio – Photography Page.
I got a call from another friend of mine from undergrad, Kristen Dikio, who started the MA program I was interested in at CSUN. She is preparing for her solo show Shedding Walls next week and asked me for help with her project. I met up with her and her buddy at the studio yesterday to lend a hand for a couple hours. It was nice to chat and catch up on life as we worked, just like old times.
It’s been a great month full of unexpected opportunities. Now I know I can take on new challenges and be more confident in my abilities as an artist. Getting back to making art for the sake of making art is also a lot of fun and very therapeutic after a long day of data entry and filing at work. Work/life balance is hard to achieve and maintain, but I think I’m getting a hang of it.
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Work, work, work…
While taking advantage of studio time at LMU, I have started working on a sculpture from a new series of sketches, called “11”.
This series consists of 5 sculptures so far. It is a body of work that reflects my love life with my husband for the past 11 years, mostly focusing on the ups and downs, emotions, and obstacles we faced throughout our relationship. Growing up together as a young couple created a sense of spontaneity, vulnerability, and confusion that has driven us to draw on past experiences in order to learn how to love each other better and mature as individuals. These new sketches were inspired by my reflection of the past and a hope for a lasting future filled with peace and clarity.
The piece I am working on now is called “Heart Strings”, which is basically a hand crafted wire cage with 11 white strings tied across the inside of it. The cage will be constructed using old dry cleaning hangers. The white strings will be dipped in costume blood, some rinsed out and showing only the residue.
Right now, my task is to disassemble and stretch out over 400 dry cleaning hangers. So far I’m done with about half of that.
In the meantime, I am using up my spare time to apply for some art-related jobs and plan for a solo show sometime at the end of the year. So far, no luck on finding a proper venue to display my work.
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At Mindy Shapero's "Breaking Open of the Heads" solo show reception
The four days I spent in New York were amazing! It wasn’t long enough! I stayed with my friend Chloe in the Upper West Side, learned how to use the metro system to get around the city, and ate yummy New York bagels and pizza. I didn’t get to watch a musical or visit the Guggenheim Museum as I had hoped, but it’s definitely an excuse to go back!
I went to Mindy Shapero’s opening reception at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in Chelsea, and attended the private dinner afterward. I reunited with Mindy and a couple of the other interns, Merry and Charlie. We were glad to see that all the pieces came together so well, and proud to know we each had a hand in all the work.
The gallery was right next to The High Line, an old railway that has been turned into a beautiful modern park. I ventured there after the dinner with Charlie and his friend. It was a great way to see New York City at night.
I had a great time in the Big Apple and can’t wait to visit again.
Check out this link to my Facebook photo album of my trip: New York
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