I believe in the expressive and communicative powers of art. Art connects us to each other in a language stronger than words, for it is derived from emotion and finds a place in the emotional center of another. In this flow of communication, it is a reminder that even though, our personal situations are unique, we are connected through our shared humanity. For me, form and color become tools to understand the world around us and the world within us. When I create, I sketch many images and then apply formal art techniques to achieve the desired emotional quality through balance, light, and weight. Whether a trained artist or not, each of us has the ability to create imagery that is meaningful, either to others or if only to ourselves.
Compensation and Integration (2015, 5″ x 5″ ~ 12.7 x 12.7cm, oil pastel)
I created this series as part of a heuristic, arts-based research project to investigate Carl Jung’s notions of creativity. The full description of the investigation is recorded in the chapter I co-wrote with Lisa Garlock, “Unconscious Compensation and Integration: Art Making for Wholeness and Balance” in the book The Unconscious Roots of Creativity (see Publications page for further details).
Ai’ye-ka. (2012, 4.5″ x 4.5″ ~ 11.4 x 11.4cm, watercolor)
The first time God speaks to a human in Bereshit (Genesis), God asks “Ai-yeka?” (“Where are you?”). Distinct from the customary word that inquires on one’s geographical location (ei-foh), scholars see ai-yeka as connoting a spiritual inquiry. Where are you… Emotionally? Spiritually? In life? Now? Each of these images began with simple meditative breathing. I began with the first inkling of a color, line, shape or image and continued until it felt complete. Following each image, I wrote a haiku (Japanese poetry technique composed of three lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables). This writing technique was introduced to me by my colleague Hoi Lam Tang who finds that it helps her arrive at an imaginative and succinct description of her art.
PhD Process. (2010, 4″ x 6″ ~ 10.16 x 15.24 cm, acrylic on cardstock)
Throughout the three years of working on my PhD, I had a lot of difficulty getting into my own art. I’m not sure if it was a result of the pressures of the PhD process that didn’t allow me much time or if the creative part of my brain was taken up by words, which left little opportunity for images. No matter which, in the weeks between submitting my dissertation and preparing for my oral defense, I was overcome with images. As I reflected on them, I noticed that they paralled my PhD journey. While the images and themes are not unique to completing a PhD, I was reminded of an example that Joseph Campbell gave in The Power of Myth. He spoke of how any time we are tested – and he used exams as an example – it calls to mind the archetype of that experience that involves crossing a threshold or rite of passage. I can see how my images resonated with the PhD process is perhaps a fraction or glimmer of that original testing experience.
Weighting Series. (2005, 24″ x 48″ ~ 60.9 x 121.9 cm, acrylic on canvas)
We all carry around ideas, thoughts, and feelings that can weigh on us in a way that strains our shoulders and burdens our spirits. Sometimes we carry it around while maintaing an optimistic viewpoint and a face of grace. Other times we look for the support of another to help in lightening the load. Whether we can maintain a good disposition or we are not yet in an emotional place to do that, we sometimes need show our hurt and anger as we learn to transform those feelings into creative and productive energy.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word for “circle” or “center.” Although the circle and its use in ritual is nearly universal, psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung established their use for increasing self-awareness. In his autobiography Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Dr, Jung wrote, “I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, a mandala, which seemed to correspond with my inner situation at the time. With the help of these drawings, I could observe my psychic transformation from day to day.” I offer a selection of some of my mandalas in the hopes of encouraging their use as a valuable tool for meditation, reflection and contemplation.
Laundry Room Mural. (2005)
This mural was co-designed with my friend and fellow artist, Emi Nakatsugawa. The owner wanted to turn an ordinary white laundry room into a fun and colorful space with Afrocentric themed images. Art and sculptures on display in other rooms were recreated and integrated into the mural.
Window Mural. (2004)
I created this mural in my window-less office to give a sense of space and wonder to my adolescent art therapy clients. Sometimes, we wondered where the path was leading and where their personal path was taking them. Sometimes, we looked at the stain glass sun and moon and we talked about the influences in their lives. Sometimes, we just imagined how it would feel to be in that space and we imagined peace.
Pilates Studio Mural. (2003)
This mural was designed for a pilates studio. The various poses represent both active and resting positions connected with a calming blue line that represents the breath energy necessary when holding positions.
Therapeutic Multipurpose Room Mural. (2002)
Located in the multipurpose room of a wellness center, this mural had to convey a feeling of peace in a room that is used for group therapy, massage therapy, pilates, and workshops. The owner requested a mandala as an image of wholeness to be the focus.
Sleeping Beauty Panto. (2013). Hong Kong Players, Hong Kong.
You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. (2013). American Community Theater, Hong Kong.
Snow White Panto. (2007). Hong Kong Players, Hong Kong.
Little Shop Of Horrors. (2007). American Community Theater, Hong Kong.
KETUBOT (Jewish Marriage Contracts)
I design ketubot that are personal for individual couples and that reflect their important images , relationship goals, and moments of significance in their lives together. I strive to design a ketubah that will serve as their first work of art and as a reminder of the commitment that they made to each other in the presence of their loved ones.