2018 Artist Trust Fellowship

Activism, Art, Exhibition, family, Film, Installation, Narrative, Story

So excited to share this news with you!!!!

It was just announced that I am one of 16 recipients of the 2018 Artist Trust Fellowship ~ “an unrestricted grant program that awards $7,500 to practicing professional artists of exceptional talent and ability.” (You can read the full press release here.)  I am in awe of all that Artist Trust does to support the arts and artists across Washington state!  And I am grateful to the Jurors for their time and thoughtful deliberation — and for their kind consideration of my application.  Having served on numerous film festival and grant juries, I’m aware what a time and energy commitment it is to review and deliberate over hundreds of submissions…

This news has me Standing Taller and Breathing Deeper.  With this generous Fellowship, I will finally have the time and resources to complete the ambitious project I started during my COCA residency last year.  The Truth Has No Borders is a multi-media installation that integrates 40 years exploring my family narrative through writing, music, film and art.

And finally, a Huge congrats to my fellow Fellows! I am deeply honored to be in the company of so much Excellence.


Pictured Left to Right/Top to Bottom:  Tariqa Waters, Barbara Sternberger, Taiji Miyasaka, Christopher Paul Jordan, Ryan Feddersen, Haruko Nishimura, Jade Solomon Curtis, Salome MC, Grace Love, Christopher Icasiano, Eliaichi Kimaro*, Tessa Hulls, Diana Xin, Mattilda B. Sycamore, Laura Da’, and Cathy Linh Che. *A warm thank you to Zorn B Taylor for my beautiful headshot.


EMERGE: The Journey is Everything

Activism, Art, Exhibition, Narrative, Speaking, Story

Emerge: The Journey is Everything

For me, the journey is everything.  I am far more interested in the process of becoming than I am in the final state of being.  The journey is dynamic, energetic – constantly evolving, transforming and expanding.  While creating, I exist in a suspended state of not-knowing.  I open myself up to what my painting is showing me, and then intuitively respond to it. This dialogue of discovery is what I crave.

As a self-taught artist and creative storyteller, I am constantly reinventing myself, learning whatever medium it takes to tell the story that is emerging.  Over the past 40 years, I have used writing, music, photography, film, storytelling, and now encaustics to explore my personal/family narrative.

The paintings in this show hang together loosely.  They demonstrate new directions I am exploring in my work (using mark-making, texture, and organic materials to tell a story.)  Some of these pieces came into being fully-formed.  Some were labors of love, with 2-3 completely different paintings living beneath the surface.  And still others have yet to find their final form.

While I am in love with the current incarnation of these paintings, I know some will be radically transformed when they return to my studio – melted, scraped down, carved into, painted over.  But as a lover of process, I believe that even our evolving selves deserve an occasional spotlight…to be seen, witnessed and lovingly considered in our current form.

The EMERGE show at the Columbia City Gallery (Seattle) is currently exhibiting through Sunday, May 13. 

The most consistent comment I’m hearing about this body of work is that these are pieces that need to be seen live and up close.  So if you’re in the Columbia City neighborhood, please stop by!  (Gallery hours: Wed-Sun, 11-7).

Upcoming Featured Show

Art, Exhibition


: to become known
: to come into being through evolution
: to rise from an obscure or inferior position or condition
Four artists explore what it means to EMERGE through
encaustic, photography, acrylics and ceramics.

April 4-May 13, 2018

Please join me at the Opening Reception!
Sat. April 7, 2018

The trouble with labels…

Art, Narrative, Story

Going Nowhere – 28×36 Oil painting (2018)

It has taken me a long time to figure out why I have always resisted other people’s labels that defined who I am based on what I was creating.  My reluctance to be called a violinist, filmmaker, photographer, artist has been misinterpreted as false modesty or insecurity.

But each of these labels felt limiting in their own way.  They came loaded with expectations and baggage that was not my own, and had nothing to do with my intentions/goals for the work I was creating.  And if you’ve known me for any period of time, you know that my creative expression is dynamic, fluid, constantly evolving…

That said, I also realize that I am not above labeling.  If you look on this website, you will find no shortage of labels I have used to define my self, and the lens I bring to the world.  As humans, we are compelled to label and categorize because it helps us organize and make sense of our world–for better or worse.  And so, as long as we have to contend with labels, here are some that more accurately reflect my truth at this moment in time:

I am a restless, curious, creative storyteller.  And I will learn whatever medium it takes to tell the story that is emerging.  The joy of being self-taught is that I am free to follow my inspiration, to be a perpetual student, and to learn by doing.

I am a writer.  I have been writing daily in my journal for the past 40 years.  Writing makes my subconscious conscious—it is my key to unlocking my stories of cultural inheritance and legacy. Then art (in its myriad of forms) is how I make meaning of the narratives that my writing has unearthed.

I am an activist. This is the lens I bring to all aspects of my life.  My activism informs my art.  My art infuses my activism.  It is my way in the world, to personalize the political…and to politicize the personal.

And, above all else (or at the root of it all), I am a mother.

Borders – 24×36 oil painting (2018)


Residency Day 19

Activism, Art, Exhibition, family, Film, Installation, Narrative, Residency, Story, Works In Progress

Going thru so many family photos today, feeling profoundly still and in the flow, cracked wide open, and aware of how intertwined love and grief are for me in this moment. Really feeling the beauty and depth and value that age brings as I reflect on the complexities of our real lived lives. looking deeply into the faces of those who came before, I can see the indelible imprint of their love in Lucia’s being. Been crying on and off all day, feeling so very grateful for these creative openings….

Residency Day 16

Art, Exhibition, family, Film, Installation, Narrative, Residency, Story, Works In Progress

Today was Photo Day – tracking down, doctoring, and printing out images of the Korean side of my family. The images in the final show won’t be this crisp. They’ll be faded, broken up, washed out, imperfect…just like our memories.

End of day:  First image transfer done (my grandfather), many more family photos to go…