The ride home

Scraps of Life, the thoughts of a kat

My personality never gave me a chance. Being an INTJ, the thing that most drives me to either sit in the corner peeling the skin off of my thigh or plot the bloody demise of innocent children is misunderstanding. And yet the way that I, as a soul, have been designed seems to make it nearly impossible to make my intentions understood. Perhaps an even greater finger-in-the-eye is that due to my many years of training on social interaction (AKA being around humans and having to survive in a society), I’ve come to function relatively smoothly in social situations, thereby giving people the wrong expectations.

The thing that often trips me up, I suppose, is that though, being an artist, I do have strong emotions and am aware of them, my decisions and behaviors are based on thoughts rather than feelings. This does not work out well sometimes.

Once, when I was living in Seoul, Korea, during a small group gathering, my close girlfriends and I were sharing our thoughts and feelings. We were really baring our souls and being vulnerable. One of the girls, a neighbor of mine, in fact, shared some honest fears, to which I was quite compassionate.

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The typically 15 minute cab ride home lasted about 3 hours that evening. I was always taught, in counseling classes, to address the current issue, and not to form general conclusions. So if my friend was feeling insecure about how people feel toward her, doesn’t “people” include me?

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It was time to be comforting. Some other people might not have thought to tell a friend how valuable she is. But I wasn’t going to be “some people”. That’s how we get people who go through life wondering if people love her.

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So I began…

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But then my feelings tried to fight my brain. “This is weird, you crazy woman!” they said. But my brain rebutted, “That’s what selfish feelers say, which prevents them from being kind and logical humanitarians. Shut up!”

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I don’t know what I expected to happen. I think I thought that she might just say “thank you” and that we would stop for shaved ice on the way. Instead, the reality of the situation hit me like an angry woman with a dead fish in her hand. I’d made a monumental mistake and now I was, once again, the awkward girl in the group. How would I recover from this? What would make this right?

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Thank God for socially capable people.

Narcissa

doodles, the thoughts of a kat

There was a period of time when I never drew myself. I didn’t allow others to draw me, and I took very few pictures of myself too. Some might assume this had to do with some sort of confidence or body image issue. How cliche do you think I am?

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The theme of a current project of mine (My first live action film! Eek!) is disconnect and indirectness. Ok, that IS pretty cliche for an artist. Anyway, I’ve made it so because of the nature of art itself. Bear with me now: art is often an analogy of some kind. If one were to be literal with one’s art, one wouldn’t call it art. One would call it whatever the hell it is—a table, a house, a hammer. Now, this statement breaks down slightly when we begin to define art apart from its contemplative qualities. I do happen to believe that art does include design, in many cases. This is why I mentioned that “art is OFTEN an analogy”.

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Aaaaaanyway, because art— at least my art— is often an analogy, actually depicting myself has long since been a strange way to communicate anything of value. But lately, I’ve come to a new realization: who in tarnation cares?

I used to draw cats, monsters, dolls, and other things to represent me in scenes. And now I use me to represent other things in scenes that I draw. So, here are some of those!

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Drama

doodles, the thoughts of a kat

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It’s a tricky game, being a part of society. On one hand, something inside one yearns for community and a sense of membership. There’s an undeniable need to be a part of something greater than myself. On the other hand, a herd of humans can easily infect one with some dangerous afflictions. And unfortunately, I’m terrible at games.

The surreptitious influence of my little pod of primates has had many results, including me thinking that my work is good only if it’s like by a large amount of people. Thankfully, before this notion affected what I made, I caught onto the infiltration and resolved to create from my point of view, instead of that of the masses.

If one person can be touched or inspired by what I make, I’d have satisfied my role in the game.

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Stylizing

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I am officially searching for my fellow unicorns.

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Unlike many artists that I know, I grew up longing to fit in. Standing out and seeming to be unique always isolated me. Am I alone here? In a culture where individuality is not only encouraged, but prized, I’ve also been unique in having these feelings as well.

Being an even split between an INTJ and an INFJ, and also between a harmony-seeking idealist and an independent thinker apparently makes me a mentally deformed mutant. It’s possibly also why I have so many interests and jobs.

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Sometimes these different worlds collide. Perhaps not too many people who enjoy my illustrations know that I also do things in fashion. Mostly hair/ makeup & styling. When I’m working on a set, or thinking of an outfit, or styling someone, I tend to sketch out the ideas and I’m endlessly grateful that I don’t have to hire an illustrator for projects.

I’m still looking for other unicorns.

A scene behind the glass

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It’s a basic human need to be validated and supported. Yet those seem to be the very things we refuse most and the needs we despise most in others. It’s frightening to me that people are judged (meaning condemned) for having insecurities. Who doesn’t have them? Insecurities are wounds from a lack of validation. So judging them is a lot like hating someone for having a bleeding gash. Humans are evil, no?

So what keeps me interacting with them? Moments that remind me that we are all just mushy piles of goo. What was this couple beyond the glass talking about, so intensely and yet tenderly? Something about their moment, as far away and separated from me as they were, grabbed me and kept me long enough for me to draw them. He leaned in, she swept her hair behind her ear, he looked down, she took a drink.

Just goo.

Hotel California #1

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“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air”

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This song has been a mystical fairy in my life ever since I can remember. It wasn’t until just after college that I began to truly appreciate the lyrics.

Was it the haze of being bed-ridden that made me begin this series? Perhaps the fascination I have with this new app? And why did I blog #3 first? Who knows? Here’s the first one and all of my novice attempts at painting with Art Studio on my iPhone with my finger.

merry christmas

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the best gifts i’ve received throughout my life were the kinds that told me that the giver cares for me, thought of me, and wants the best for me.  i’m not going to be idealistic and say that they were all zero-dollar gifts.  that’s rubbish.  however all of them were costly in the ways in which it counts.

christmas has never really been about family for me.  maybe it’s my buddhist upbringing.  maybe it’s my church experiences.  whatever the cause, to me christmas has always been about giving and gratitude.  complain all you want about the stress of shopping, the financial burden, and having to meet up with a bunch of people that you’ll probably only see again next christmas (i’ve been the expert on that); the reality is that i know what i’ve been given–great friends, reconciliation within my family, a roof over my head, and a college education.  that’s already far far more than what much of the world can hope for, and i can’t help but to want to let those around me know that i appreciate them.

alrighty, enough sentiment.  have a happy christmas, folks!

snow

not yet

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while i was living in korea during 2007-2009, i visited my parents’ house in anaheim once, to gather some old stuff to bring back to seoul with me.  during my hunt through old boxes containing my kitchenware and overpriced decor that i impulsively purchased from the MOMA store while i was in art school, i came across even older boxes–remains of my childhood.  slightly eerie and touching at the same time, i must admit.  don’t worry, i’m not going to drench this post in gooey words of nostalgia and all-too-early sentiments about time and memories… not yet, anyway.

no, these boxes were like a cemetery of experiences.  i tend to like cemeteries.  they’re places of openness and honesty.  they offer closure and commencement.

anyway, in one of my cemetery boxes, i found an old book i had written when i was 6.  it was a comic book about a king–a funny king who made all of his subjects laugh.  i had created a small library card type of system for the front cover so that people can borrow it.  however i never finished it and, alas, nobody was to ever behold the delightful antics of this stout monarch.

as an artist, i find it easy to do this: begin an inspired project and then never finish it.  i’ve tried to start small projects so that i don’t grow weary of working on it.  i’ve tried to keep myself accountable by telling everyone about a project (btw, don’t do that).  i’ve also tried to take on projects whose subjects are so grand and lofty that it should force me to finish it… otherwise it’d be a disservice to society, right?  oh, ignorance, how i seem to love thee.

yet it seems there is no pattern to which kind of project i will eventually quit on.  it seems that it’s not the project that is the issue, but it is myself.  it’s been said to death, so i need not add another word to the discussion of fear and accomplishments.  all i know is that there’s a box in my parents’ house with an unfinished book written by a once courageous little girl, who now often sits before a computer screen or sketchbook, imagining all of the ways the present piece could end.

not ready

not ready

boundaries

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once when i was five, living in korea, i had a small argument with a friend.  i distinctly recall talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up.  naturally i said, “artist”.  or did i say, “a fly”?  oh, right; that was another story.  sorry; childhood memories… they’re a like an acid trip, am i right?

anyway, we were talking about what good career options there were out there (yes, we were.) and someone brought up the idea of becoming president one day.  being that we were both girls, my friend laughed and said that there are no female presidents and there couldn’t ever be one.  though at an early age, i believed there were definitely differences among men and women, career options didn’t seem to be one of them.  i emphatically disagreed and turned to my mom to seek support for my noble protest.  she smiled to herself and nodded, partly proud of my audacity and partly amused by my naivete, no doubt.  afterall, it WAS korea.  and… that’s all i’m going to say about that part.

fast forward to college and actually pursuing a career.  i learned quickly that i should be thankful that my zen master father and buddhist mother never tried to impose any popular ideals of success or purpose on me.  becoming an artist was never a question.  it was what i was meant to be and that was that.  and come to think of it, whatever i wanted to be or do, aside from a murderer or a missionary, was completely fine to them (uh, and let’s keep the worms inside that can for now, yes?).  needless to say, i’d been brought up in a super bubble:  one of freedom from the pressures of status, one detached from the discrimination and restrictions, which, for much of the world, is the human condition, and one in which creativity and dreaming was encouraged and celebrated.

ew, is that enough hippy-dippy nonsense for you?

anyway, korea has a female president.  i could indulge the sappy gods of obvious commentary by writing about the country’s progress, open-mindedness, and hope for the future, but i’m not gonna.  i don’t know much about this broad.  i plan to find out, but for now, we’ll see how things go.

what i know is that there were probably many little girls about 30 years ago in korea who were told they couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that who decided to gnaw on the bars anyway, and either bleed to death or finally break free.  thank God for those little girls and i wonder sometimes, if i’d stayed in korea, would i have been one of them?  my surroundings here in the states and the convictions of my parents were what primarily influenced my determination and decisions… or were they?  who knows.

whether girls or boys, men or women, white or yellow, poor or rich, i’m always for pushing boundaries and seeing what happens.

life story