Describe your journey. Were there some pivotal things that helped propel you to where you are now? (Perhaps there were some struggles that you see, in hindsight, helped you get to where you are now?)
I spent a lot of time alone when I was a kid, being an only child with parents who were strict about me hanging out with friends after school. However, they gave me lots of art supplies, supported my interest in art, and tolerated my severely and perpetually cluttered room growing up.
I would spend hours in my bedroom painting, making colourful collages with textures that I found interesting, rearranging the furniture in my room according to colour and form, and also assembling different outfits. Sometimes I would even make “furniture” like a couch made from a cardboard box and towels. Rolled up towels as arm rests.
I spent as much time painting as I did assembling different outfits of varying colours and textures, and redecorating my bedroom. I'm almost embarrassed of how much time I have spent in front of a mirror in my life, assembling textures and colour to my outfits, and making jewellery from found objects.
I think that this time in my life really had an impact on my art and personal style. Colour, texture, and creating worlds that are expanding from room structures are a big part of my work. Carving order out of a cornucopia of colour and pattern and then adding more colour and pattern is something that I do a lot of in my paintings, and it reminds me an awful lot of cleaning my childhood bedroom.
I went directly into art school when I finished high school. In some ways, I wish that I had waited a little bit after high school to figure out more clearly what I wanted to take from university and use the time more effectively. I feel like I spent a lot of time socializing and partying in the first couple of years. It was fun though and it got me out of my shell more and gave me a network of other artists and friends. I have found that to be very important.
One very pivotal moment was fairly recent. I graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2013, travelled in Asia, did an illustration internship at a product design company in Hong Kong, and then immediately found my first studio space.
Having this new space where I had to pay rent for, gave me a place to concentrate. It really grounded my art practice and took it to the next level. A couple of months later, I got involved in 'The Duality Show', where twenty-five artists were paired with twenty-five writers to create one piece of art and one piece of writing. Next, I started participating in shows almost every month. I had my first solo show in the same year, where I made lots of work that I really loved and that set into motion my new work ethic and obsession with seeing what else I could create and love.
In the past year, I had my first couple of commissioned illustration jobs and artwork commissions, a live painting gig for a private party with Loreal, participated in the annual 'Frontlines' show at the Robert Lynds Gallery, winning the Populist Award, and also participated in the TEDxVancouver exhibition.
With all of these new steps that I had never taken before, came exciting new work, better craftsmanship, better marketing, but also more encounters with “Imposter Syndrome” and social anxiety. I'm not sure how obvious it is to other people but these two things are actually boulders for me and I work really hard to not let them sabotage my life or get in the way. It's been a year of growth, with owning up to my accomplishments with self-pride and also handling new social situations like the shows and recorded interviews.