“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sending you all love on #MLKDAY
It’s not always easy to find time to paint when I’m running around on camera. But it’s not for naught, because all that I’ve experienced helps me to refine my vision for one of my upcoming series.
This morning I dug out this unfinished painting, “Beauty Blinded,” from a few years ago; I’m not sure yet if I want to finish it or start anew. It’s part of that series I just mentioned, which I’ve been dreaming a lot about lately: Women + Mass Media (working title, hehe). After nearly eleven years working onscreen, I’ve seen for myself how this business affects us; both those of us in front of the camera, as well as those watching at home. And it’s something worth examining.
Growing up, I was taught that a person’s most important characteristics lie within: intelligence, talent, kindness and strength of character are traits to strive for. So I worked hard, earned top grades, and practiced my art & musical instruments with diligence. Focused in this way, I found little use for personal beautification, and that coupled with coke-bottle glasses and my nerdy nature, made for a rather homely presentation; but it did not bother me, because I knew I was a good person and that’s all that mattered.
Fast forward to many years later, I suddenly found myself on television — an unexpected turn that surprised me as much as anyone else. And I quickly discovered, that in this business, it’s not what’s inside that counts. In this industry, the most important thing is to be “beautiful.” And mind you, being beautiful on television, isn’t the same as being beautiful in real life. In real life, we think our friends, our mothers & sisters, our grandmothers & daughters, are beautiful not just because of the color of their eyes or shape of their face, but based on the content of their hearts. But on television, as in most mass media, beauty is very rigidly and narrowly defined. Despite talk of body positivity running rampant, so many of my colleagues are cutting themselves up with plastic surgery: I can’t tell you how many friends of mine didn’t “make it big” until after a boob job. Meanwhile, I myself have been admonished for the tiniest blemish (Horrors! An imperfection lol!), and then praised when I lost weight, even though I’m already quite thin. Rather like a dog who has retrieved a ball — “Good girl!” they say. Am I? Am I good? Because this kind of praise, as condescending as it is vacuous, doesn’t feel good.
And what about the viewers at home? What about the people connived into believing that their air-brushed celebrity crushes are as perfect as they appear, or that they too, at home, should aspire to squeeze and alter themselves to fit an unrealistic ideal in the name of self-improvement? And in my personal experience as a math & SAT tutor, I have discovered that so many little girls are more concerned with being pretty & popular rather than being smart, or even just being good human beings.
These conversations and thoughts are not new. We’ve been discussing this for decades. And when I was a child, my parents did not allow me to watch much television, in part for these very reasons — in my home, gender roles, unrealistic beauty standards, and the dangers of mass media consumption were topics for discussion. But now, having experienced first-hand the pressures that we, the women behind the scenes in media, are actually exposed to, I have something I’d like to add.
Working in the media, I could make a documentary about this subject, or conduct interviews; I could write a report or make a YouTube series. But since I am an artist first, perhaps I’ll just put brush to canvas and see where that leads me.
Thanks for reading, and as I’ve often said on the air, stay tuned.
I’ve been painting since I was ten years old, and one of my goals was always to paint as realistically as possible, which meant long, painstaking sessions in oil, watercolor & acrylic.
But we live in such a fast-paced world, that I’ve been desiring lately to get my ideas out more quickly, and on a larger scale. So I recently turned to street art for inspiration, and decided to give spray painting a try.
Right off the bat I discovered that spray painting is not as easy as it looks. Instead of small movements of the wrist and fingers, it’s a whole-body process, requiring quick, decisive strokes & a sensitive trigger finger. Moreover, not just any spray paint will do. And did you know that spray paint cans have different sized caps? Well I didn’t either! But I soon learned on my own, and in the process, I think I might have become hooked!
I created a speed-painting video to document the process:
A very different outcome than my usual precise little canvases, but I love it nonetheless! This little lady is finished, and ready to find a new home!
Repost from Instagram: 70 square feet, 50 hours, + 2 gallons of paint = My Little Prince Nursery Mural is Done!!! So happy with how this one came out :). I was down to the wire on the last day; endless thanks to my best friend & fellow artist Jessica Perilla for coming in and helping me flesh out the background, and taking this picture of me when we finished at 3am(!). Already got great feedback from the client!
Happy MLK Day! In memory of a great man, sharing my painting & our video tribute to his legacy: https://youtu.be/rLxFcPjERpw . The past few years have seen a lot of racial violence and tensions; what do you think about how far we have or haven’t come since his I Have A Dream speech?
Almost done with this digital painting; I block in the flat colors first (inset), then add layers of shading to give it life. I love drawing/painting strong female characters! Hope you guys are having a great start to your week.
Happy Earth Day! When I was 16 years old, I painted this watercolor, “Bleak Future” – to warn people of the blighted planet our children may inherit if we don’t take better care of our home. I’ve never sold prints of this piece as it is too personal, but I thought today I’d make an exception. For every $5 postcard purchased, $1 will go to World Wildlife and their important work. God bless & enjoy the day!
This is my first time combining pen and watercolor, and it was such a pleasure! I definitely think I will work on this technique some more and see how far I can push the contrast between the two mediums. And of course, love stylizing the hair – there’s something I really like developing there as well. So glad the buyer likes it – hope you all do too!
I’ve been thinking a long time about branching out into digital painting. I’ve played with Photoshop painting in the past, mostly for the video game I’m working on, but I never tried to do anything realistic.
Well, anyone who knows me well, knows I love kpop :), so when I decided to finally give realistic digital painting a try, of course I picked one of the lovely ladies from the industry. Sonamoo is a new girl group that debuted last month; check out their music video for Deja Vu here ».
I based this painting on a screenshot, but it was done freehand and of course I had my own interpretation, so it’s not an exact copy (which I worried it would end up being — boring!), but actually something more: an illustrative work born of my combining traditional painting and digital retouching techniques. I like it!
If you like it too, please let me know and comment below! And if you’d like me to make a digital painting of you, feel free to contact me here ». <3
Today we honor a man whose voice & vision carried a movement. It seems fitting to post my “I Have a Dream 2013″ painting today. Thank you again to everyone who volunteered your voices and faces to this project – look at how beautiful we are when we come together! And thank you Dr. King, for your inspiration & sacrifice. RIP.
Check out the full project (including the video!) at www.IHaveADream2013.com.