11 posts categorized "Jinil Doh"

August 13, 2014

Everybody hurts.

These slips of pink papers, and the words contained in them are evidence of two powerful truths: 

1. Everybody hurts.
2. We are not alone.

Photo 1-1
They are papers that people (acquaintances, friends, and strangers) used to write confessions of loss during my art exhibit honoring my late brother Jinil back in February. They talk about loss related to alcoholism, divorce, accidencts, suicides, beloved family pets who have passed, virginity lost to first loves, a laptop lost after putting it on top of a car and driving off, photos and memories lost, and on and on and on. 

It blows my mind, these confessions.

IMG_5055When I saw the confessions happening in front of me, I realized that it doesn't matter what color the skin, how old or young the age, how rich or poor ...




IMG_5088This profound first truth points to the second truth about the fact that we are not alone. And for me, the key to moving past the hurt to the the light is to spend authentic time recognizing what I've lost, and to allow myself to grieve properly. Miraculously, by letting this happen, rather than strong-arming myself to always "choose happy" I start seeing and feeling the light and love and before I know it, I find happy. It happens to me when I don't force it. I can't sustain happy 24/7 but it's there. And when it's authentically there, it is because I am authentically respecting the other feelings that I allow myself to feel.

Sorrow is not a bad feeling. It's a feeling. Just like happy. And it ought to be respected and allowed to run its course without shaming, harrassing, or bullying it away.

Are you hurting?

If you want to, consider letting it out. Consider grieving it. And when the light starts to shine, consider letting it in. It's ok. The person or thing that you've lost will not feel badly that you are finding the light again.


PS: It is my intent to do a large art project with these pink slips of paper where the confessions can be shared in an anonymous and artistic manner. If you'd like to participate by sharing an anonymous confession of loss, you are invited to do so by emailing your confession to mailbox@crescendoh.com or snailmailing your confession to PO Box 11726, Santa Ana, CA 92711

March 07, 2014

Beauty and Melancholy

Every day, I wake up with anticipation as I think about what new thing I will get to see through the wonders of painting. When I really get to see ... without inhibitions, what I see is achingly beautiful and laced with melancholy. This life. It is so relentlessly strong and delicate.

Photo-62This painting is one that my late brother, Jinil made. It's beautiful, don't you think? And it's a little sad and and lonely and scary. I think he did a great job capturing the essence of this marvelous scene from nature. This fragile life.


February 09, 2014

I See Boat People :: At the Santora

I am deeply honored to announce that my solo art exhibit, I See Boat People, has been installed in the lobby of The Santora for public viewing.

Photo-37Installing for this space was a completely new and different experience. The exhibit will be up all this month. I hope that if you are in the area, and if you want to, that you will stop by to view it at:

The Santora Building
207 N Broadway St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Here are a few shots (courtesy of Monica Mouet), of the installation process from today.









February 02, 2014

I See Boat People :: Remembering the Show

There are many favorite photos from last night's show. Here are some and then a short video with all of them at the end. Thank you to everyone who came to experience the show. I'm happy to let you know that selected pieces will be displayed at the entrance of The Santora Building for a larger portion of time for public viewing ... coming soon. I'll let you know when that happens so that you can see it if you want to and happen to be in the area.





January 12, 2014

We've Still Got Time

The Boat.
Deadicated to Jinil

The boat.
My brother who must have felt he was sinking.
The boat.
My memory of him that I fight to hold onto.

Jenny Doh

The boat. The plane. The boat. The plane.
The vessel that our family boarded together.
The boat.
The vessel that our family boarded to carry him back.
Brilliant and tortured brother of mine.

Jenny Doh 3The boat.
That didn't know.
That we still had time.


IMG_4712Falling Slowly
by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

I don't know you but I want you all the more for that
Words fall through me and always fool me and I can't react
And games that never amount to more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly eyes that know me and I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me and I'm painted black
You have suffered enough and warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had the choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

December 21, 2013

Remembering Jinil Doh


Jim jenny mom dad

We love you Jinil.

Jim and Jenny Doh

December 05, 2013

And in the End

I came to understand and adore The Beatles through Jinil. He loved many bands and many artsits but emblazened in my memory is the early and ongoing education I received from him about the fab four. In many ways, The Beatles music became the soundtrack for many of our years in Bakersfield. I remember distinctly one time when he was so fascinated with the song "Her Majesty" from Abbey Road ... for its loveliness and its 23-second long brevity.

I've been listening to Beatles songs and other songs as I think about which one to choose as I put together the slideshow with photos that I'll be getting from friends and family. His friend Jay would probably agree that it should be a Beatles song.

IMG_2644But Jinil's passion for music reached far beyond The Beatles. For example, his friend Dennis recalls the two of them singing Neil Young songs together. Monica remembers his folksy period as she first heard the song "Freight Train" as performed by uncle Jinil.

During his college years, I also remember that he loved Frank Sinatra, especially the song "New York, New York." His college friend Michael confirmed this as he reminded me that Jinil had even gone to see Sinatra in concert. He also told me that Jinil loved the song "Our House" by Crosby Stills, Nash and Young ... which upon learnign this, I bought immediately on iTunes and have been listening to over and over again. It's a simple and sweet song with a melody and lyrics that paint a picture of a simple life of love that I think we all seek.

Because in the end, do we really need or want all that we think we need and want? Perhaps what we want in the end is just the simplicity of love and coziness. Like maybe a home with a warm fire, two cats in the yard, music, and some pretty flowers in a vase.

And perhaps occasional opportunities to look up and see the sky in the shape of a heart.

IMG_2306(photo by Jinil Doh)

Note: I'm not really done talking about Jinil and music. He was not just an appreciator of music but an incredible performer of music. That post will come later.


December 04, 2013

Hold it in. Let it out.

The night I learned of Jinil's death, I spoke with my uncle who I hadn't spoken to in a long time. As he heard me sobbing, he said to me repeatedly, 울지마 (ool ji mah), which is Korean for "don't cry." Ironically, as my uncle said to me 울지마, 울지마, 울지마 ... I felt close to him because I knew that's what he was going to say as my uncle who is still more Korean than American. "Try to forget" is another sentence that I've been hearing. But it's a sentence that doesn't make me feel close to anyone. It's a sentence that makes me mad. Me. The girl who was born in Korea and moved with her two older brothers and parents to America. A family whose landscape changed from Seoul to Bakersfield.

Today during my session with Therapist, toward the end, I said "OK, I'm ready for the answers." To which Therapist said,

"What's the question?"
"The question is, 'Now what?'"
"Now what, what?"
"Why are you answering my question with a question?"
"Because your question is too general. So what's the question?"
"Now what do I do?"
"Well, what you do now, is what you have been doing and are doing now, which is grieving, crying, talking, remembering, and letting out the sorrow."

If I were to paint the answer to "Now what do I do" from the Korean culture next to the answer from the American culture, they would be as opposite as opposite can be.

Up. Down.
Black. White.
North Pole. South Pole.
Don't cry. Let it out.
Try to forget. Remember.

Jenny DohWhen cultures were more homogenius, I suppose a little girl could have grown up to live a life into adulthood and into her final days believing that the absolute right thing to do when a family member dies is to not cry and to try and forget. And vice versa. But sometimes little girls with big brothers change cultures and assimilate into new ones.

I used to think that immigration and assimilation are boring topics that have been talked about ad nauseum but now these are the things on my mind a lot. Just how that process of moving and assimilating affects a human being and that human being's relationship with family and friends. And how that person decides whether the right way is up or down, north or south, to hold it in, or to let it out.

Jinil Doh(photo by Jinil Doh)

December 03, 2013


Sweet and loyal Scout has been watching me go through grief. MY grief.

He's seen my crying subside for a while and then start back up as it unleashes like a tsunami ... walking through the house in a fog ... wondering how I will connect with Jinil's high school friend Jay, and then trying to rack my brain to try and remember Jinil's college roommates' last names. Michael ... Michael ... Ed ... and then springing up in the middle of the night as I remember ... "Rosa!" That's one of the last names!

I wonder what Scout thinks about it all. I wonder if he is going through a bit of grieving too.

And the day goes on and I'm in Starbucks and my phone rings. It's Jay. It felt good to be sad together and to remember together and to be able to say "thanks for having been so good to my brother" as I recalled a vivid memory from high school when Jinil ran for student body president. I knew from the get-go that his opponent had it in the bag. Jinil was definitely the underdog. I tried to do my part by putting his posters up here and there. On the day of the election, before Jinil made his speech in front of the entire student body, Jay (the football playing scholar) stood up to make a speech and urged everyone to vote for Jinil because Jinil was the candidate with the right ideas. Jinil did not win the election. And Jay still stood by his side throughout high school and beyond.

Scout-like loyalty.IMG_2594Tomorrow I will see Therapist for the second time this week. The first time was yesterday ... an extra emergency session I requested where Therapist said wise things that I know to be true ... which is to let all the tears and feelings flow out ... and to make sure that I allow mysel to grieve the way I need to grieve ... which includes reaching out to those who loved Jinil. Each memory that I get to hear reminds me that Jinil was deeply loved. And sometimes, when the memories conjure laughter, I think that maybe soon I'll be able to wake up with a smile from all the good memories, knowing that the tears are always nearby ... but perhaps eventually nearby not like a tsunami but like beautiful drops of rain.

Jinil Doh

(photo by Jinil Doh)

A private ceremony will take place to say farewell to Jinil with just the immediate family later this month. A slideshow with photos from family and friends will be prepared to celebrate his life and shared here. If you are a friend who would like to send photos to be included in the slideshow, please send them to me digitally at jenny@crescendoh.com. Love.

Seeking to forget makes exile all the longer;
the secret of redemption lies in remembrance.

{Richard von Weizsaecker}


December 02, 2013

Jinil Doh: Two Works on Canvas

Jinil Doh Roses
Jinil Doh Monica Mouet

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