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11” × 14”, Oil on board, 2019-2022

"But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others.” —— Carl R. Rogers

Over the past 10 years when I was mostly a full-time mother, I’ve spent almost all my energy on my children. I organize giant parties for their birthdays. I cook and prep their daily lunch boxes for school. And I take thousands of photos of them. I’m not joking; I literally have four terabytes of storage filled of photos, mostly of them. It was another way for me to practice art. I have never been into the techniques of photography; most of the time I just shoot in auto mode. But when I carry my 35mm Sony camera, toting my children along with me around the world, I simply can’t stop shooting. I feel like Diane Arbus in 1962, wandering the streets of New York. I became the schoolgirl again wandering the streets of the world in the 21st century, portraying life through my children.


In 2019, my friend Amanda invited me to present some of my art work at the small coffee shop in St. Paul that she owns. The first thing that came to my mind was those photos. So I decided to paint them. I named this series "iNovel" because I wanted to paint a series that could tell stories. My children inhabit the most secret, yet open world that I've ever known. I see them grow in the beauty of innocence and share their joys and sorrows with my own raw emotions. Their experiences as individuals with a mixed-race and multicultural background are so vivid in my mind and heart that I am compelled to express their essence through my art; and with a little imagination, it becomes a part of me.

Growing up I was heavily influenced by San Mao, a Chinese author who fearlessly and with a passion of love bared her story to the world. It touched me then, and still moves me today. I hope to emulate that bravery and honesty through my paintings.

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