Below is a wonderful short interview we had with artist Jolene Lai in anticipation of her double limited edition print release of "Migration" and "Dollhouse." Jolene discusses her first artistic ambitions, her days in the studio and the wonderful story behind the two pieces releasing as prints tomorrow.
Where were you born and where are you now?
Born and raised in Singapore and currently residing in Los Angeles.
What are your first artistic memories?
My dad used to lay out large pieces of drawing paper on the table and we would just spend our afternoons and evenings sketching. I remember as a child being totally envious of the drawings my dad produced effortlessly, and thinking to myself I need to surpass his awesomeness.
Are your paintings part of the same world or is each one its own, separate universe?
They are unique in their own strange and fantastical ways, but at times function as portals or gateways to one another in my mind.
Where do your ideas come from for your artwork? That is, are they ideas you cultivate into a final piece or, perhaps like a dream, the entire image is there ready to be put on canvas?
Sometimes it's the engaging surroundings I am engulfed in that inspire me to construct a narrative. And at other times, I am fixated with an alluring character or plot I dreamed up and then become compelled to build a parallelling environment for it.
Could you tell us a bit about your print set with The People's Printshop, the ideas and themes behind the two pieces?
It was springtime as I was walking down the streets of the neighborhood I was living at then. I was enjoying and taking in the array of beautiful houses, cheerful bird chirpings and vibrant greeneries that was presented to me. I felt like a kid exploring a new place I didn't know existed before, and that stroll led me with an impulse to want to capture the moment of quietness and solitude in a playful but nostalgic perspective. The entire explorative and creative process gave rise to 'Migration' and 'Dollhouse', which traveled all the way to Taiwan for the Art Taipei show in 2014.
What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
An oatmeal breakfast to start the day, while perusing the internet to find something enjoyable to listen to before I pick up my brush. I recently listened to a few podcasts from Sword and Scale and found them pretty entertaining. If you're into crime stuff, definitely check them out.
Painting begins at nine. And yes I do log my times with the help of the Toggl app to help me keep track of my progress.
A bit of snacking throughout the day, accommodating my cat in my lap while I paint, and pretty much know to pause the clock when I notice the art brush has been stationary in my hand for a bit and that I have been staring at the canvas for awhile.
What's the most difficult part of creating?
It's extremely exciting to start a new piece of work, and tremendously satisfying to complete it. I wouldn't call that in between moment where you are neither here nor there difficult, but it certainly can get mundane enough that I feel like I'm running in a hamster wheel.
Other than art, what are some of your favorite things to be doing?
I am a garden nerd for sure. When I am not painting, I spend hours at my little balcony dirt digging and plant pruning. Majority of the plants I own are either seed grown or plants that I found discarded along back alleys.
Any words of advice for fellow artists?
It's alright to feel jaded or disappointed if you are not able to get to where you would like to be. But it is important to not let those frustrations manifest into anger and discontentment. Instead, manipulate the emotions and channel them into a positive motivational force.
"Dollhouse" and "Migration" will be released at 1PM PST, Thursday, May 3rd, 2018.