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141 posts categorized "Thinking Out Loud"

June 03, 2014


Conceptual or Intuitive?


Some things floating in my mind these days.

1. After my Boat People art show that happened earlier this year, I started feeling this weird pressure. It was a pressure that I felt by way of a small voice within me saying something like this: "OK Jenny. Now that you're done with this show, stop letting boats appear in your art. You should be done with that. Move on to your next." This pressure felt really bad and made me feel restless and uneasy and uncomfortable. What I have realized recently is that that voice is fucked up. Who the hell is it to tell me that just because I've painted boats that I am no longer able to? It's arbitrary and it's illogical to impose a timeline and a ban like that. So I've decided to take that pressure off of me and allow myself to let boats appear in my art to the degree that I want them there. And to not let them appear if I don't want them there. And to have them evolve as they appear if I want them to evolve.

Photo-2

2. Speaking of evolution, I've been seeing a few other things in my art and my environment, which you may have noticed. Namely, the vagina. I see them everywhere! I also see antlers, bows, arrows, and a few other things. And whatever I see, I usually go with it.

3. But when I think about #2, I wonder if I'm really seeing all that or if I'm surrepticiously infusing constructed concepts into my paintings. In other words, is my process intuitive and abstract or is it conceptual? Other great questions: What is it that we allow ourselves to see? What don't we let ourselves see? What do we force ourselves to see? I think that topic is quite interesting. For the most part, when I begin a painting, it is very intiutive and abstract. And at a certain point, when I let the canvas really speak to me, I do see things. But why do I see vaginas and antlers while another artist might see something completely different? When is intuition actually concept and when is concept intuition? Perhaps they are more inter-related, is what I'm thinking lately. Not so separate.

4. So all of this talk makes me think about Regina Spektor's song, On the Radio, which I adore. The lyrics pierce my heart:

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again

  Jenny

May 27, 2014


Bravery: If not in my art, where?


Before I ripped up the piece of paper where I had written down my response to the question, I wasn't certain that that is what I would be asked to do. Rip it up into teeny tiny pieces, that is. I suspected that that might be the course but I wasn't 100 percent certain.

And because I wasn't 100 percent certain, what I wrote on that paper isn't really and truly what was beating in my heart, wanting to be written and released.

It was a response to a prompt given by art journaling instructor Orly Avineri, who said to think of a time when everything changed, and to write about that time.

God.

There have been more than just one time for me, really. And some of those times I'm less fearful of discussing openly, while some other times I'm much more fearful of discussing openly.

Photo-108
This realization is something I admitted to and shared at the end of the 2-day workshop that we had with Orly. "Brave" has become such a throw-away word these days, I think. But saying it isn't the same as doing it. I mean for a grown adult woman like myself who seeks to be uninhibited in my art to hesitate and hold back and resist in really and truly "going there" on just a tiny piece of paper illustrates the point.

I ask myself: if not in my art, where will I be brave? And if not now, when?

Photo-109

May 11, 2014


Top 10 List :: Motherhood 2014


10 things about Motherhood on my mind.

Jenny Doh

10. I've not always done my best. Not surprising. No one ever always does their best. Sometimes, I have done average. Or less than average. In spite of that, my kids turned out ok.

9. Motherhood isn't the end all be all. Sometimes it's really tough. And even if you never become a mom, I think you can live a fulfilled life.

8. Having said 9, I know for sure I've become a better human because I have had the opportunity to be a mom to Monica and Andrew.

7. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have had a 3rd or even a 4th child. I like to imagine what they might have looked like. And how Monica and Andrew might have related to them.

6. I am grateful that I didn't stop at just Monica. If I had, I may have become a preacher of dogma about how to raise children after just raising one child. But with Andrew, what I learned is that each child, no matter how similarly you try to raise them all, are different. Each child is wired differently. I am grateful that I didn't become that mom of that one child going around being unable to understand this important truth.

5. When my kids were little, I became frumpy. Hair, make up, clothes, body ... lots of neglect. And then after they started getting older, I thought to myself: "Why am I frumpy? I still have a life to live. I'm not just a mom. I'm a mom and so much more. I don't want to be frumpy." And so I took action. Just because someone's a mom doesn't mean they want to be invisible in terms of their womanhood.

4. When I think of my own mom, I know she hasn't always done her best. And I need to recognize that is because she is a human. Just like me. Sometimes, she's done average, other times, less than average, and occasionally, the best.

3. The thing that makes my heart happiest is when I see my two children show affection and protection for each other. It makes me believe that once I'm gone, they will be there for each other.

2. I hope that at the end of it all, my children and I will love each other as we remember the best we did for each other and forgive each other for all the ways in which we did less than best.

1. Because it all happens so fast. And without a manual.

Have a happy Mother's Day. If you want to. ;)

Photo-101

May 08, 2014


Staying in My Own Business


I was recently asked what advice I'd give to a person just starting out on their creative journey. I responded by saying that I'd give no advice at all. When asked for clarification, I said that I'd never give advice to anybody unless that person came to me specifically, seeking me out to ask for my perspective. I mean, who am I to go around advising this or that to a hypothetical someone? I have my story and my experiences but those are my experiences and my story. Others have their stories to live and learn from, right?

This desire to focus on my story and expressing my story without preaching, commanding, or judging others has been growing within me for the past couple of years. As I get better at it, I am acutely aware of Byron Katie's observation that indeed, staying in my own business is a full-time job.

I hope that with each passing day, that I become better at staying in my own business. Because I don't want to be that person ... you know the one ... the one in everyone else's business ... wasting time and creating energy that is the opposite of elevated ...

Photo-99As I've shared here before, I have a therapist. I'd say that that is one relationship where I seek Therapist out and I pay Therpaist to give me opinions, advice, insights, and even commands. But even Therapist knows that effective therapy isn't about telling me what to do, but asking me thought-provoking questions that I answer for myself where I discover insights on my own. 

The beauty of art I feel is that as I stay in my own business, I can choose to express what my business looks and feels like ... packaged not as advice or anything like that but simply an offering and sharing of who I am. A portal to view and experience that offering if you want to. And for those who happen to peer in, it connects with who it connects with and it repels who it repels. That in and of itself is endlessly interesting.

May 07, 2014


My Days


After almost two years of shooting arrows, I feel I'm finally starting to shoot semi-decently. I had one major problem about a year into it when I had a wrist injury from boxing that just made me regress with all things archery. I had to go back down in the weight of my bow limbs after having worked my way up and generally, I had to rest my wrist and hope that time would heal it back to health. It was so discouraging. Cause when your bow is light, arrows don't fly or land with strength.

IMG_0539My coach who used to come to Santa Ana no longer does so I go to Long Beach to see her. It's worth it though. She's got the goods. She's been reminding me all this time about the importance of practice. Of course I know that and agree with that but finding time to actually do what I know and agree with has been a whole different matter.

But finally I feel I'm in my groove.

It's all about protecting my time. Making time for what is important to me and not letting things that aren't important to me rob my time.

My days.

Early morning boxing/training. Then arrows right after that. And then work on my computer. And then a good lunch. And then art. If I'm lucky it goes that way. Sometimes I'll put it all aside for someone/something. But I've learned that there aren't many someones or somethings worth doing that for.

I like my rhythm. It helps me worry less about this and that.

May 06, 2014


The Ultimate


I've been tongue tied as of late in terms of writing here on my blog about my art. I'm trying to get back into it. Because it's all part of it, right? Making the art, writing about it, taking photos of it, uploading it to sell, shipping it, showing it, trying to expose it to a wider audience, getting more supplies, and on and on and on it goes.

Sometimes it feels like I'm spinning my wheels.

Other times, it feels like I'm on target. Like when convos like these happen. And similar ones from people I hardly know who come up to me to say they feel deep emotion and honesty when they see my art. That's the ultimate.

PhotoBut even so, even with convos that make me feel like flying, it can be exhausting, and the nature of the process sometimes endangers what I want most, which is to make deeply honest and uninhibited art.

Every day I wake up reminding myself that I have one day less than I had the day before, to make my art, to make my mark. And so I'd better get going and avoid wasting time making bullshit, saying bullshit, or doing bullshit.

Sometimes the non-art-making part of art-making feels like the ultimate bullshit but actually, it's more like necessary bullshit. I don't know of any artist who can just paint 24 hours a day without having to do some bullshitty markety things.

I guess what I consider the ultimate bullshit is making art that is phony balogne. Art that is full of commands and preaches authenticity but is actually inauthentic. That's the hole I don't want to go down.

March 14, 2014


Mostly Late at Night


I am ...

Photo-66good and bad
serious and playful
Korean and American
an artist and a crafter
productive and lazy
at peace and restless
in love with making art
mostly uninhibited
sometimes brave
sometimes a fucking coward
not interested in command statements
grateful for the time and freedom I finally have to pursue my art with total commitment
excited every day to see what else I'll see and understand through art
acutely aware of the limited time I have on this earth

sad ... mostly late at night, as I'm turning off my lamp

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March 07, 2014


Beauty and Melancholy


Photo-64
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.

 

March 03, 2014


Abstractions


 I frequently think about the story that my life will tell. The story of a daughter, sister, wife, mother, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The story of a woman who was born a baby and who thought she'd be a little girl forever.

I think about the various people I intersect with as I'm playing out different parts of my story. What do those people who get to see part of me think my story is? Like the bank teller who always talks to me about fitness when she sees me in my workout gear. What does she think my story is? Or the server at my favorite deli who knows my order by heart. What's my story in her eyes? And why the heck am I at that deli so often ordering that same broccoli salad and coffee every time I'm there? "What is it exactly that that Asian woman with paint stains on her shirt doing anyway?" she must be thinking.

"And there she is again, next to that pianist, listening sincerely and daydreaming intently. What is her story?"

But what about the pianist? What's his story? Does he play the piano all the time? Or just at night? Does he have children? Does he like broccoli salad and coffee? And who's that guy standing behind him with the envelope? What's his story? How did we all get here?

Photo 1I wake up most mornings wondering what new thing about the universe I'll get to see through art. Sometimes, I want to be regimented and explore things on a list ... like let's explore nature, and then let's explore childhood, and then let's explore motherhood. Or something like that. Because I think to myself that my story should go around those loops ... in an orderly sort of way.

But more times than not, I find myself meandering off of my lists ... as I step into abstractions where I find the most amazingly fantastical things that are beyond the confines of what I think my story is or how I think the rest of it should be steered.

It's within those abstractions where new stories get birthed ... and where I can see the tiniest kernels that all relate.

I like that. Meandering off, that is. I like letting myself be less chronological, less literal, less orderly, less obvious, and less list-oriented ... and allow myself to step into the portals of abstractions to discover new and different, where reality and imagination dance together to help me express my story. A story that continues to become. Photo 2

February 14, 2014


Opera Interrupted


My mother dreamed of singing opera.
She had the voice that could make that dream come true.
"Whatever you do, do not get married, becuase that will lead to motherhood, which will endanger your operetic destiny," cautioned her professors of music.

IMG_6774But love happened.
And she entered the boat of marriage with my father. And she had babies ... my brothers and I.
And opera, as her professor forshadowed, became forever interrupted.

IMG_6775It is both tragic and triumphant ... the intersection between women's dreams and motherhood, as destinies get modified through the choices of which boats we choose to board and which ones we forego.

The world of opera lost out on my mother's voice.
The world gained my brothers and I.
My mother's heart lost the thrills of receiving standing ovasions that her voice deserved.
My father's heart gained my mother's.

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