APRIL INSPIRATION

MONTH FOUR of being on Patreon!   Thank you so much for being my art patron.  It seriously makes a difference in my hustle life: I can by my art supplies with joy and ease.  Thanks to you!

April has been rough.  It was winter here in Chicago.  It snowed.  THERE IS HOPE THOUGH!  It will be in the 70s this week!  I don't want to fool myself in thinking things like that don't affect art.  It's all interconnected: my thoughts, diet, sleep, relationships, spirituality, conversations, creativity, etc.  All of it influences one another.  That reality is both miraculous and sobering.


Word:

RACIAL SHAME

Continuing my exploration of race and microagressions, I'm still pressing into the discomfort of this topic.  This month has emerged with a clear focus, which is dissecting where my subconscious racial shame comes from.  I'm Chinese - born in California and raised by my mom and dad who immigrated from Hong Kong.  Looking back I'm slowly seeing how the strong message of white supremacy has snuck into my the fabric of my upbringing.  I was conditioned by my whole world to devalue foreign-ess, and to become as white as I can be.  Despite my parents doing their best to protect the Chinese culture and language, the pressures of society was much stronger.  The saddest part is that what society was saying (that the more white and american you present yourself, the more society will uplift you) was entirely true.  I'm just at the beginning of piecing it together, and I have a feeling that its going to be a life long process.  Sharing about it through Memory Mondays has been really encouraging to me, because so many conversations with friends and other people of color has emerged from it.


VISUAL:

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Article:

"100 Ways white people can make life less frustrating for people of color"

by kesina boom // broadly

38.  In general, just don’t assume we want to be white or want to assimilate. And don’t pressure us to do so.
50. If you call a woman of color “exotic,” you deserve to stub your toe every day for a year. Do. Not. Do. This.
62. Refuse to speak on an all-white panel. Regardless of the topic.
67. Don’t say things like “there are two sides to every story!” or play devil’s advocate when it comes to conversations about race.
69. It’s never useful to say stuff like, “But what about the white working class!!!” Have you thought about non-white working class people’s needs?
93. Remember that your queerness/womanhood/transness/class background/disability doesn’t exclude you from white privilege.
99. Recognize that fighting racism isn't about you, it's not about your feelings; it's about liberating people of color from a world that tries to crush us at every turn.
100. And remember: Being an ally is a verb, not a noun. You can’t just magically be an ally to people of color because you say you’re one, it's something that you must continually work on.

BOOK:

  MAYA ANGELOU - The Complete Poetry .  Oh my word.  She makes me want to practice having courage about things that matter.  Her story and her poetry is so empowering, wise, and hits the heart.  ITS EVERYTHING.  Growing my library written by WOC.  Join me!

MAYA ANGELOU - The Complete Poetry.  Oh my word.  She makes me want to practice having courage about things that matter.  Her story and her poetry is so empowering, wise, and hits the heart.  ITS EVERYTHING.  Growing my library written by WOC.  Join me!


PODCAST:

I'm not done with Maya Angelou!  This two part podcast interview by Oprah is so good.  You will cry.  My favorite part is when Maya ushers people out of her house during a party she was hosting, because the said degrading things about people.  Oprah asks her how she has that much courage.  Maya responds by telling her that it didn't come over night, and it was a small act of courage - feeling good about it - and then the next.  That courage grew over time - so that you can stand up for the humanity of your fellow brothers and sisters like that. WOW.  You must listen to these two episodes.  PART 1.  PART 2.


Movie:

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Ok.  You might have see A Quiet Place directed John Krasinski.  I'm actually not recommending you to see this movie - you will hate it if you don't like suspenseful and scary movies.  BUT it did make me think.  Granted, it was a well made movie, and for me it was fun adrenaline filled experience.  If you did see it, THIS podcast episode [We Watch Whiteness by Still Processing] addressed this movie, and it blew my mind.  They basically call out white fragility and white people fearing that they will be silenced.  The whole episode is worth listening to.  I can't wait to listen to more episodes!  What I gather is that they talk about current pop events and bring social awareness to it from the perspective of being two people of color. 


MEMORY MONDAYS:

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This is Week 18 of #TWmemorymondays:

Week 18!! Crazy how Mondays come around seemingly so much faster than Friday. Today's microaggression/memory is when I (along with most WOC) are called "EXOTIC."

Like what I said in my instastories, as child that term wasn't as prevalent in the bay area, but once I became an adult and moved to the Midwest...oh my did that change. (Here's a picture of me as a 6 yr old before the exposure of what I will learn in my later years.)

I was so aware that my asian-ess was and is for some men a novelty, and that came through them by drawing attention to my "exoticness". In the dating scene, I was consistently trying to sniff out any hint that a guy had "yellow fever" or had a thing for Asians.  It's an awful experience to encounter someone who fetishizes an ethnicity. It's SO incredibly dehumanizing to be diminished to a caricature of what westerners thing about Asian women: this sensual, other worldly, submissive creature.

It's really disgusting, and media and history shows how far back this kind of dehumanizing potrayal exists. Read the article link in my profile to learn more about how the world "exotic" is racist.

Another reason why it's so harmful is because it assumes and upholds a "right" kind of beauty that you're not. You are exotic because you don't fit into the normal white American beauty we all know and can recognize. Feeling like a foreign object of desire is not flattering at all...it's actually pretty scary.

We all need to stand up for upholding the dignity of WOC by being intentional to HONOR our cultures and differences. Maybe try complimenting a woman for a characteristic that is uniquely hers. There are so many empowering ways we can really compliment each other.

.....

#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 18/53. 'Exotic' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper


Video:

YOU'RE WELCOME.


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I hope you have an empowered and enboldened month of May!  And I'll leave you with this quote by Maya Angelou:

"My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.”

MARCH INSPIRATION

MONTH THREE of being on Patreon!   Thank you so much for being my art patron!  

March has flown by, and there's new spring energy that I've been feeling!  This month has been filled with collabs and many introductions to other creatives.  It reminds me that sometimes it's good to do solo work (and its needed), but it's also good to be reminded of how kind and generous other Chicago artists are.  That kindness and generosity propels me to be the same for others.


Word:

DISCOMFORT. Pt 4.

Continuing my exploration of race and microagressions, this month has had one focus: I/we need to address that sugary coat of language that covers systematic prejudice.  So many things are said with good intentions and politeness, but the content is stricken with evil dehumanizing assumptions and attacks.  Microagressions can be SO aggressive. I/we need to speak up when those comments are made, because true peace and freedom usually is uncomfortable.


VISUAL:

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Article:

"The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility"

by Anna Kegler // Huffpost

As Vernā Meyers says, “not enough White people have done their work”:
After all the resources spent and goodwill extended, many white people, in exasperation, ask me why we haven’t gotten further in racial understanding or increasing the diversity in our workplaces and lives. Sometimes, they don’t like my response. I tell them what I have come to believe. Not enough white people have done their work: the work of seeing the barriers to true meritocracy, the work of putting themselves in the shoes of black people to learn more about their experiences and perceptions, the work of understanding how being white has shaped their worldview and self-perceptions, and the work of gaining the skills of deciphering and managing cross-racial and cultural dynamics. That’s a lot of work, but without it you cannot create fundamental change in your sphere of influence.

BOOK:

  GWENDOLYN BROOKS .  Sometimes I need to take a break from reading long form, and poetry just hits the spot.  This book addresses racial issues, gender issues, relationships so well.  My heart would burst and break reading this book.

GWENDOLYN BROOKS.  Sometimes I need to take a break from reading long form, and poetry just hits the spot.  This book addresses racial issues, gender issues, relationships so well.  My heart would burst and break reading this book.


PODCAST:

This month was filled with so many AMAZING podcast episodes.  You need to listen to these now.

  1. Embodiment by The Liturgists Podcast
  2. Five Women by This American Life
  3. Consent (3 part series) by Dear Sugars

Movie:

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MEMORY MONDAYS:

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This particular #TWmemorymonday piece is very personal to me, and even thinking about it now...it makes me mad.  How we use "compliments" or sugary language can hold such weight and do so much damage.  READ about my story and this piece I painted inspired by it.


Video:

MTV Decoded: Are all Asians Rich?

WATCH IT. Talking about offensive "compliments," this one rings too true.


Connection:

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This month my heart has been bursting, because I got to meet so many new fellow creatives and artists.  It's so good to know really know that I'm not alone, and that there are so many generous and truly kind people out there.  A few that I met and some that I worked with are: Liz Flores, Laura Rose Davis, Ashlee Eland, Bjork Amundsen, Hannah Leadley.  Check them out!

FEBRUARY INSPIRATION

Thank you so much for being my art patron!  YAY for my first month on here.  

FEBRUARY has been quite a month.  I feel like my heart has exploded and my eyes are opened this month in a good and hard way.  I think I'm confronting and recognizing my ethnicity as an Asian American for really the first time.  It sounds so crazy!!  I've obviously always known it, but I've never dove into it in regards to my parents (who were immigrants from Hong Kong)  or as an American or living in the predominant white culture.  I'm taking baby steps, and I have a feeling its going to be a long road.  


Word:

DISCOMFORT. Pt 2.

Last month I wrote: "I want to learn how to be intentional of where that discomfort lives.  An example is that I want to feel discomfort in pushing myself to be more vulnerable to the people around me and through art." OK so its happening.  When it comes to race, it's definitely uncomfortable.  Even being more vocal and expressive through art and Instagram, it's discomfort in the best way possible.  All my dreams of paradigms (of discomfort vs good) and breaking down categorical walls (of work vs art vs relationships vs spirituality) are coming true!


VISUAL:

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Article:

"Model Minority" Myth Again Used as a Racial Wedge Between Asians and Blacks

Since the end of World War II, many white people have used Asian-Americans and their perceived collective success as a racial wedge. The effect? Minimizing the role racism plays in the persistent struggles of other racial/ethnic minority groups — especially black Americans.

BOOK:

 I enjoyed this book SO MUCH.  It hits so many themes that resonated with me - being an artist, mother/daughter relationship, race, socio economic issues, coming of age phases.  This month I also read  White Awake  by Daniel Hill,  The Leavers  by Lisa Ko, and  Imaginings on Love  by Alexandria Kelly (my dear friend).  Currently I'm reading  Swing Time  by Zadie Smith and  Eager to Love  by Richard Rhor if you want to join me!

I enjoyed this book SO MUCH.  It hits so many themes that resonated with me - being an artist, mother/daughter relationship, race, socio economic issues, coming of age phases.  This month I also read White Awake by Daniel Hill, The Leavers by Lisa Ko, and Imaginings on Love by Alexandria Kelly (my dear friend).  Currently I'm reading Swing Time by Zadie Smith and Eager to Love by Richard Rhor if you want to join me!


PODCAST:

Teaching While White: The Myth of the Model Minority. Whoa this podcast really opened my eyes to things I've never thought about.  The sound quality isn't the best, but the content is worth it!


MUSIC + Movie:

 Duh.   Kendrick Lamar: Black Panter.    I've watched some AMAZING movies this month.  Two that I also loved was  Lady Bird  and  Call Me by Your Name .  

Duh.  Kendrick Lamar: Black Panter. 

I've watched some AMAZING movies this month.  Two that I also loved was Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name.  


MEMORY MONDAYS:

 This piece was about an incident my dad had when he was in college in California.  It so reflects the posture of what an "ideal" person should be like in our country: white.   READ about it.  

This piece was about an incident my dad had when he was in college in California.  It so reflects the posture of what an "ideal" person should be like in our country: white.  READ about it.  



Art medium:

These beauties!!  I started working with pastels by Prismacolor and I'm in love.

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JANUARY INSPIRATION

Thank you so much for checking out Patreon, and I hope that you'll join me in finding inspiration and beauty in all things!  Each month I'm going to share with you anything that has sparked movement in my life and art.  

January has been quite a month for me!  It's been a hard month for me - in preparation for Patreon, I have been challenged to maintain my center while doing things that I'm not used to.  It's also been a good push for me to be more vulnerable.  I want to really connect with you and other humans, and I'm learning that it means that I have to put myself out there!  That brings me to introducing this month's themes:


Word:

DISCOMFORT. 

It's so good and needed!  It causes me to ask questions (why am I feeling uncomforatble).  It causes me to change.  It pleads me to look at my assumptions.  This month I have been reminded of last year's goal: which was to be ok with discomfort that leads to growth.  GROWING PAINS feels bad but are GOOD.

I want to learn how to be intentional of where that discomfort lives.  An example is that I want to feel discomfort in pushing myself to be more vulnerable to the people around me and through art.  I do NOT want to feel discomfort in the realization that I am paralyzed by fear and rejection.  Fun stuff!  I'm looking forward to what February brings!


VISUAL:

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PERSON:

OPRAH. Golden Globes award:

In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome. I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say "Me too" again.

BOOK:

 I watched Netflix's documentary on Joan Didion, and was intrigued.  Now I'm hooked to Joan Didion.  The words she chooses!  It goes straight to the soul.  I listened to this book via  Audible , but I would recommend getting the hardcopy. 

I watched Netflix's documentary on Joan Didion, and was intrigued.  Now I'm hooked to Joan Didion.  The words she chooses!  It goes straight to the soul.  I listened to this book via Audible, but I would recommend getting the hardcopy. 


PODCAST:


MUSIC:

 The soundtrack to  The Shape of Water  (which I LOVED).  Here is the  PLAYLIST  I made of the soundtrack minus the scary songs.

The soundtrack to The Shape of Water (which I LOVED).  Here is the PLAYLIST I made of the soundtrack minus the scary songs.


MEMORY MONDAYS:

My great grandparents!  Read about this piece I painted inspired by them.