What is the first creative moment you remember?
Ever since I was young, I’ve enjoyed doodling on paper and on walls, even the floors. I also really loved stickers and would stick them all over the place; it would drive my parents insane. The earliest art project I could remember was when my family went back to Taiwan for the summer and in my boredom, I decided to draw a dog and cut it out, then stuck it to the wall and pretended it was my pet. I even designed a house and a bathtub for it.
2.) Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?
My parents have always been around to encourage my artistic tendencies, but my mom especially liked my idea of creating a pet that didn’t make any mess. It kept me busy and out of her hair.
3.) What is the best idea you’ve ever had?
I guess one of the best ideas I can come up with off the top of my head would be making a scrapbook for my parents to give to them for Christmas. It was a very simple idea, but I feel like it was the most appreciated by my parents out of all the gifts I have given to them in the past few years.
4.) What made it great in your mind?
Since both of my sister and I are currently in Victoria for university, my parents don’t get to see us that much anymore. Even though we’re a pair of troublemakers, my parents still missed us as much as we missed them. To add to that, my dad is usually in Taiwan for work so my mom is left to tend to the house in Richmond by herself. My mom isn’t really technology-savvy, so I thought I’d make a scrapbook filled with pictures for them to look through when my sister and I were away in Victoria. Though it took quite a while to arrange the pictures and get everything bound together, my sister and I combined our efforts and managed to make a lovely piece of art. The smile my parents gave us when they first looked through it made the long nights of pouring over each page and making sure everything was perfect completely worth it.
5.) What is the dumbest idea?
I come up with a ton of dumb ideas (a big thanks to my older sister for always reminding me to put take off the stupidity hat and come back to earth), but at the moment, I can’t seem to think of a single one. One that does come to mind though, was when I decided to make a gigantic cream puff for my friend for her birthday. That was a big flop.
6.) What made it stupid?
I obviously did not think this one through, because the massive cream puff was too thick and turned out cake-y rather than pastry-like. The air bubble that was supposed to form never made it into the glob of batter I had put in the oven because it was way too thick, so rather than the hollow centre I was expecting, it was just really dense. I ended up having to cut it open and scoop out the dough in the middle. It was pretty terrible, I hope my friend didn’t get a stomach ache from eating it…
7.) Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea?
I had a lot of whipping cream left over from the mini cream puffs that I had made for friends that week, so I wanted to make something big to use up the rest of the filling. Obviously, the end result was not at all what I expected.
8.) What is your creative ambition?
Making art is something enjoyable, a process that makes me both relaxed and excited at the same time. I wish to create artworks that can bring a sense of calm or joy to the people who see it, something that encourages positivity and contemplation.
9.) What are the obstacles in this ambition?
I struggle a lot with getting started. I’m easily discouraged when I can’t get something to look the way I want it to, which makes me want to give up halfway through. Sometimes I will start on a painting and be halfway done, until I decide that I dislike it and I just set it aside, never to look at it again. A lot of my ideas are lost that way, because I lose the inspiration I started out with.
10.) What are vital steps to achieving this ambition?
I need to get into the habit of drawing more, and stepping outside of the lines I am comfortable with. I feel like I don’t push myself hard enough, and that I tend to stay within the boundaries of drawing easy things. Studying in the Visual Arts department is a great way to expose me to new medias and materials, such as photography and sculpture, both of which I have never worked with before. This helps to expand my knowledge and take step into areas I never had the courage to experiment with.
11.) How do you begin your day?
I begin my day by groggily rolling over and checking my phone for texts and the time, and do the necessary morning routines such as getting dressed and running a comb through my hair. If I have classes in the early morning, I will fill my thermos with coffee.
12.) What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?
I have a habit of never putting things back in their places, so my room is often very messy. I’ll leave things out because I convince myself that I’ll need it later, only to have more and more things piled onto my desk. Also on days when I feel like a wreck, I have the habit of changing my outfits. I’m not quite sure why I need this change of clothes to help me get through the day, but it’s something that I’ve developed over the last few months. It might be a way of dealing with stress.
13.) Describe your first successful creative act.
I guess I could say my first creative act was playing at a piano recital. I can’t really remember how well I did, but I guess I was dolled up enough that even if I did play terribly, I was cute enough for the parents not to mind. I’ve attended at least three recitals in the past, but the only song I remember playing was a duet I did with my sister for Christmas, ‘Up On The Housetop’. I never made it past Level 3 though, since I quit piano in elementary school.
14.) Describe your second successful creative act.
The second creative act that I can remember is making a cover for my light switch. The switch in my bedroom had a creepy face of a clown on it, and because it bothered me so much, I went and made a paper covering over it and decorated it myself. It was a creative act that I had fun doing and helped solve my problem of having to stare down that creepy clown face every time I flicked the light switch.
15.) Compare them.
My first creative act was about music and performing on stage in front of an audience. I consider it a success because I was able to get through my song without having a nervous breakdown. My relationship with music ended on a bad note (excuse the pun!), all I got out of it was that I do not have a single drop of musical talent in my blood. My second creative act was arts and craft, and it was more of a private project, one that was not meant to be seen in public. In comparison to my first act, I prefer this one so much more, and to this day still love using my hands to create things that I love.
16.) What are your attitudes toward: money, power, praise, rivals, work, play?
Towards money, I am unsure; sometimes I am a spendthrift, sometimes I am very careful about my purchases. Until I get a steady job, I don’t think I will truly understand the concept of money.
Power is not something I am used to, as I am the youngest in my family and most of the time my opinion is overlooked. But I believe people with power should not abuse it, and use it only to accomplish the greater good.Praise is always appreciated, and it really boosts my confidence. But I am not good at receiving compliments, so when people praise my work I get a bit embarrassed.Rivals, I try not to make. I dislike offending people and conflicts. We should all just get along!Work is important and needs to be done, but for me it mixes in with play. I have very little patience when it comes to using the thinking part of my brain, so I am distracted often and will lean towards procrastination.
17.) Which artists do you admire most?
A few years ago, I discovered a Taiwanese illustrator named Ji Mi, who writes and illustrates picture books enjoyed by both children and adults. I also like the paintings of Paul Cezanne and Rene Magritte.
18.) Why are they your role models?
Ever since I saw Ji Mi’s works, I’ve wanted to create picture books. His style of art is playful and beguiling, and his stories are always wonderfully written. I like Cezanne for his colours and brush strokes, as well as how he manipulates perspective in his paintings. What I love about Magritte is the way he uses amazing juxtapositions in his works of art, and the way his art mimics realism all the while using surrealistic qualities.
19.) What do you and your role models have in common?
My art is a bit childish, and I use a lot of watercolours and markers like Ji Mi. I’ve only just gotten into painting, but I’ve always liked drawing things with a touch of fantasy in it, which I feel Magritte and Cezanne both have in their works.
20.) Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?
There are several artists that I admire on Deviantart, as well as some friends on Facebook who are very talented at what they do. Another place that I regularly find inspiration is Tumblr, since I follow people who reblog artwork from all over the world.
21.) Who is your muse?
I would say for my poetry, my boyfriend has become my muse. I write a lot of poems about him when we’re away from each other, the words usually stem from heart aches. And as I’ve stated above, I would say Tumblr is also my muse.
22.) Define muse.
Someone who, or something that, inspires you to create art.
23.) When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond?
I have a lot of friends who are beyond my level, and sometimes it’s a bit intimidating knowing there are people younger than me who can achieve so much more than whatever I’ll ever be able to accomplish. But when I get overwhelmed, I usually just take a step back and think about my own abilities, telling myself to take it easy and just do the best that I can.
24.) When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?
I feel like the responses would vary depending on the situation at hand. Usually, instead of losing my temper, I try to look at it from their different perspective. Maybe there is a reason behind their attitude or what they say, as it’s hard to judge merely based on what little information you are given about someone. If our opinions clash, no matter how dumb it might be, they probably have a reason for acting the way they do. When it gets to the point of being unbearable and frustrating though, I would ask for advice from other people.
25.) When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond?
I get excited when I know something I am working on is turning out the way I want it to, and it motivates me to get it done. When I know it’s not working out, I get depressed and put it aside, maybe leave it for a bit until I have figured out how to proceed. Or sometimes if I find too many problems with it, I start again.
26.) When you work, do you love the process of the result?
It really depends on what I’m working on. If it doesn’t turn out the way I planned, I would probably enjoy the process more than the result. If I accomplish what I set out to do and I’m satisfied with the result, then it’s the end product that I love more.
27.) At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp?
Whenever I draw, I have this amazing image in my mind that I want to capture. But as soon as it comes to putting it on paper, everything in my brain shuts down. Perspective makes no sense to me, and sometimes subjects that I want to draw don’t turn out the way I imagined in my head. It’s hard to completely grasp your imagination and place it on paper without losing details along the way.
28.) What is your ideal creative activity?
I love to doodle and write poetry. Pen and ink work best for me, as well as watercolours. Drawing little cartoons to make people smile is also something that I enjoy, many people say my art is very bubbly and cute. And for my poetry, it’s usually a quick jot down of emotions in my personal blog.
29.) What is your greatest fear?
I am afraid of being left behind. Often I feel that I am indecisive, too scared to jump into the midst of chaos and take risks. I am in constant turmoil with myself, because I find that even though I want to be independent, I’m so forgetful and naive that I end up depending on others. While I am sitting down at a crossroad in my life, I feel as if I’m watching everyone else leave me in the dust as they bustle towards their destination.
30.) What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening?
I draw and write poetry when I have the time, so that happens quite often. At least several times in a month. As for the second one, it crosses my mind sometimes when I am looking at the art of other artists with so much more talent than me, and the feeling of despair rises up in the back of my throat. But I reassure myself that decisions take time, and that only God knows best what’s in store for me.
31.) Which of your answers would you most like to change?
I wish I didn’t procrastinate so much! Goes to say, this questionnaire took so much longer than it should have. If only I could learn to balance the work part of my brain with the playful one, then maybe I wouldn’t be rushing assignments all the time.
32.) What is your idea of mastery?
Mastery is when one reaches the highest level of an activity in which you can go no further, learn no more. To truly master an art, you have to be able to live it, breathe it, recite it in your sleep, until you have absorbed everything there is to know. I guess in this case, it would take a whole lot of time and practice to become the master of something!
33.) What is your greatest dream?
When it comes to settling down, I have difficulty staying in one spot. The reason I left my hometown is so that I could be in a new environment and encounter new people. Deciding to take art in university, that was the first step to discovering myself. I know that no matter what, I’ll have trouble finding the path I want to walk on for the rest of my life. My greatest dream would be to settle in somewhere, with someone that feels like home, and finally be able to say “This is where I belong”.