On the last day of 2022, let me count my five fav art moments this year!
Bulgaria was a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
Yes “Welcome to Polluta” was my first museum solo exhibition and my very first time in Eastern Europe, but it was really the unimaginable magical experience that did it for me!
The Quarantine Film Festival (inviting host of my exhibition) was organized by the Dedal Art School. I really can't quite explain in words how special this art school was. 20 years ago, the visionary founder founded an after school art programme for children during a time of unimaginable political turmoil and instability, to provide the younger generation with a window of hope and an outlet for expressions.
I've tasted their pure joy, enthusiasm and magic briefly. You will get a sense from this short documentation video.
The Arctic Circle
I am still dreaming of the arctic.
How can I explain that I cried for a week upon leaving the arctic?
I have become a different person socially, romantically, emotionally, intellectually, professionally, artistically, spiritually. I can and will talk about each one for an hour if you let me.
Basically there is life before the arctic and life after the arctic.
I will never be the same.
I am keeping a soft space for the arctic in my heart and will harden around it and protect it. For now I am putting the arctic in a treasure box in my heart and get to work.
You can glimpse a bit of the arctic magic in this short video.
P.S. In fall 2022, I traveled to Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost town, to participate in the Arctic Circle, a 17-day residency programme where international artists, filmmakers and musicians lived and worked on-board an Arctic-class Tall Ship while sailing the waters of the uninhabited international territory of Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago just 10 degrees latitude from the North Pole. I spent a month in the arctic and conducted research for Northlandia, one of the five imaginary countries in my ongoing 2084 world-building art project.
It was a looooooong journey from the moment I wanted to take a PhD in September 2021. Since then, I have put my practice and career on an operating table and under a microscope.
I identified areas I was not happy with and mapped out new goals. I have taken numerous online courses on marketing, time management, team management, leadership, copy writing, social media, online art sales and product photography, and the hundreds and thousands of podcast-listening hours. I have joined online artist communities and began the incredible routine of seeing an artist consultant. (Best career decision ever!)
I learnt to build and rebuild and rebuild my own website, online shop and a business plan.
Thank you for not letting go when I make mistakes and embarrass myself. Ten fingers are not enough for those.
P.S. I am NOT taking a PhD.
At the fresh age of 40, I am going through life detox.
There are people worth keeping. I want to treat those people 10 times better with love and respect and time. With people who are not—even those I thought I had to for professional reasons, I took out my scissors and cut the ties completely. No need to pretend and waste time.
There are things worth doing. I will do those with gusto that will make an introvert dizzy. I don’t mind doing the work as long as I get the result! I know I may not get the results, but I won’t stop until I do!
My new golden rule is 80/20. I have successfully learnt to minimise time on trivial tasks and dedicate myself to the meaty ones!
As I mature and settle into a fresh person, I also see a shift in my works.
With my newest series “Northlandia Arctic Woodcuts", I sketched and carved 24 woodblocks in the arctic in a month. I’ve never made works this small and this fast.
It was a way to force myself to be productive and train myself not to overthink.
I tend to be too cautious and careful. If there are two ways to do something, you can bet I go for the longer, more elaborate and laborious way.
When I carved the Northlandia Arctic woodblocks, I had no idea how the finished block would turn out. Often even as I put my knife to the block, I still had many unresolved issues with composition, carving techniques or character design.
I used to sit until I had a solution. This time I decided to push forward blindfolded.
My husband and my artist friends saw a difference in the new woodcuts.
“They are less refined and intricate but no less expressive. A lot of work and struggles and I could see your growth as an artist. The marks are less controlled but demonstrate more mastery and emotions.”
“I could tell you had a direction connection to the subject and you had a lot to say.”
As I continue to make new works in Hong Kong, I have kept that freshness in my heart. I will make sure it flows through my hand, my tools and into yours through my works until year 2084.
Keep me company as I dive headlong into 2023. Lots of scary big plans but I am as insecure as I am excited! The best way to support is to share this post with friends and family and to sign up for my artistic love notes for my favourite people!