I’m never really sure what to write about myself. I’ve done a bit of ‘stuff’, but I’ve always had a hard time talking about things I’m passionate about. That’s the modesty of my Asian side coming through. And I also have these weird anxieties in even trying to frame what I do. It’s like, okay, let’s say art is some insubstantial, floaty concept—like dreams made of material, and in describing it to you in the way I see it, I’d have to hold it just right. Too many big words is too heavy handed and I might crush it. Too many simple words and it’s too light, and it’d fly away and we’d never be able to grasp it.
That’s pretty much how I feel about painting. I’m a total, full-blown, unadulterated perfectionist and I’m obsessed with communicating ideas. I’m happy when I think I’ve expressed an image the way I wanted, or the way a client wanted. And I have to say that in the past this mentality has definitely toyed with my sanity! But the thing I’ve learned about art is that once you put it out there for anyone to see, whether it be one person or many persons, it’s really not your beef anymore. Not unless you’re constantly editing for edition 1.1 or 1.2, or 1.3. And hey, even in an ideal world, were I the ideal artist, I’d draw the line at about 1.10 … Which probably says a lot!
You’d think this new shove-out-the-door mentality would be unsettling for a perfectionist, but it’s not. Once I shunt a project off, it’s like a child grown out of the home and out on its own two feet. It stands on its own merits or it falls over, but it’s beyond my responsibility. Whether it’s loved or hated, I can still tell myself at the end of the day, ‘Girl, you done your best, and that was good enough’.
It took me a long time to learn this, and a whole bunch of deadlines pushed back due to me not being satisfied with whatever I did. And to be honest, I’ll still dither about on a piece but just in different ways. I love what they call ‘pixel-pushing’, when you just sit there and move a single little thing around until you find the ideal place for it on the digital canvas. I love messing with colours until I find a hue that hits a vibe with me.
That’s like the best thing of all about art. Finding that sweet spot that makes me go ‘wow’, where I feel inspired, or moved, or heightened—whatever you may call it. It’s when I can think ‘Yeah, I really did something cool with that. The piece and I had a moment.’ Because then at least I can feel like I achieved something no matter how flawed I later think it is. I can say to it, ‘Babe, we may never have that moment again, but hey, we’ll always have Paris.’