Nov 3, 2014

Love or fear?

"You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all it will ever be is what’s happening here, the decisions in that we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear.
You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world, and as you walk through those doors today, you will only have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart."

-Jim Carrey at the commencement ceremony for Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa

Oct 29, 2014

Sticky notes on my wall

A bunch of sticky notes pasted on the wall beside my workstation to keep me inspired. A bunch of quotes I probably lifted from the Facebook headquarters, Ben Zanders, Seth Godin, my buddy Aaron Tang, and a bunch of other authors...oh, and Nike.

Oct 27, 2014

What does your day look like?

I occasionally get questions about how my day-to-day activities look like. I work for myself now (which is great!) and I'm glad that I've set up a strict start and end time every day. I used to work late into the night and crawl into bed when my body starts begging for some rest. I've learned that being your own boss requires you to be really strict when it comes to drawing the line and prioritising what is important and what isn't. The doodle above shows what my ideal day looks like (that usually happens earlier in the week, when I'm more motivated and recharged from the weekend) but the doodle on the right is what usually takes place...hah!

Here are 5 key ideas I try to remember:
1. Ask "What is the most important thing I should work on today?" and then tackle that first
2. "If it can be completed in 2 minutes, do it right away." This refers to replying emails. I tend to push them aside and eventually forget to reply them
3. Write down what I'm doing every hour of my 8 hours of work. Keep a time log to be realistic with goals and tasks.
4. Work ends at 5:30PM. No excuses.
5. "Inspiration is for amateurs. It's not the world's fault that you want to be an artist. Now get back to work."

Here's a post by Eric Barker on how to achieve work/life balance, and Seth Godin's view on the idea of what we call work/life balance.

Oct 22, 2014

Brave enough to share

It's been ages since I've blogged and though I'd hate to admit this, I stopped blogging because I started hiding. Yes, so I've continued creating art and sharing my work with others (they're on my Facebook and Instagram pages)...but there's a lot of thoughts about my work process and lessons I've learned that I know I should be jotting down. I started hiding because I was scared to share my thoughts. What if he/she starts judging me, because I'm putting forth my thoughts and opinions about a certain subject...?

I've decided to stop hiding and start blogging again to find my own voice. These posts will happen at least once a week, and they will be short, simple posts mainly about creativity, productivity, design, art in the digital age, experiments and more.

Over the years, I've learned that being an artist or a creator of any kind requires guts. You're essentially creating something and putting it out there for the world to analyse, judge, comment. And not everyone's going to like what you have created, so you have to be prepared to accept that. I'm thankful for the incredibly encouraging, supportive community that value my work, but occasionally I do get comments like, "My kid could paint better than her" or "That is not art". I am reminded that comments like these are missing the point. The art here is about being brave enough to share with the world that work you have poured your heart and soul into.

Be brave, everyone!


Apr 9, 2014

Jackie Chan portrait with chopsticks!

Jackie's art director contacted me about three months ago to commission me to work on an art piece for Jackie Chan's 60th birthday. When I met Jackie a month later, he told me that he first saw my artwork, the portrait of Zhang Yimou made of socks hung on a bamboo pole, online. That piqued his interest and he thought I only do art made of socks! One day, he stumbled upon the video of my Jay Chou portrait, a portrait made with coffee cup rings, and he loved it, and found out that it was done by the same artist. That was when he told others about my work. Jackie is incredibly supportive of what I do. In person, he's warm and funny, kind of like a grown-up kid I guess! He also has a thing about making sure you finish every single bit of food on your plate! "I just got back from Africa and there are a lot of people who starve out there!" he told me once when I couldn't finish my bowl of fried rice. 

Work process and art:
It wasn't easy to choose the material for Jackie's piece. He is a world famous actor, an exceptional martial arts fighter, an environmentalist, and one of the most well-known faces internationally! I finally decided on chopsticks because Jackie had used them in some of the fighting scenes in his movies the Fearless Hyena and Karate Kid, and because chopsticks are Chinese. As he is also an environmentalist, I used disposable bamboo chopsticks to show that discarded materials can be reused and made into something meaningful and beautiful. This art installation is a tribute to the life, art and cultural significance of Jackie Chan.

I spent a month collecting 64,000 chopsticks, in Zhejiang and in Beijing. I tied them into different bundle sizes with strings, and then hung them on a steel frame. This was a hanging piece that had to be suspended with steel cables, so I had to make sure that it was structurally stable enough to carry that many chopsticks. I also hung 60--for Jackie's 60th birthday--bamboo chopstick holders filled with skewers that formed the word 'long' (dragon) because Jackie's name in chinese means "Dragon". The installation is best viewed from the front, where the portrait is most visible. From its side, waves of chopsticks tied in bundles is seen. 

Presenting at Jackie's concert:
Jackie Chan held a concert in Beijing on the eve of his birthday, 6/4/2014. Entertainers and stars such as Jay Chou, Wang Lee Hom, Coco Lee, Kim Hee Sun, EXO, Lang Lang and many more performed and celebrated this event with him. I was incredibly honoured and thrilled to present my Jackie Chan portrait video and talk about my art and Jackie's portrait to this crowd of 10,000. It was surreal how all this started from that one video I uploaded two years ago on Youtube, the video of Yaoming's portrait painted with a basketball! I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, for my family, friends and fans who have shown so much love and support, and for God's perfect timing and blessings. I want to create more art and share them with people around the world.