Lauren "Lolo" Jie-ye Bahng
This year with Momentum has serendipitously coincided with a significant turning point in my life--after working as a public school teacher for 3 years, I have chosen to shift my focus, time and energy to art-making, and eventually make a livelihood from offering my artistic vision and service.
My media of choice are drawing, pen & ink, watercolor and acrylic paint. Producing art is a fundamentally healing way for me to translate and interpret what I go through in daily life. I already had a concept for my "art business" before joining this group--inspired by the passing of my dog Copper last summer. Now, after 2 months of being challenged to prioritize my creative self, I am finding that while this project commemorating and honoring Copper is still authentic within me, my inner artist has a lot more "healing" to do than I thought! There are several other subjects I feel compelled to explore
with 2D and 3D visual art media, and writing. I am humbled and thrilled to be on this year-long journey of self-exploration and growth, and I'm learning to "say yes" to inner creative callings, trust, and allow accountability and structure to empower me, my voice and vision.
Copper was rescued twice- First when my family adopted him from the shelter; he was 2 years old and I was 12. The second time was when I became old enough to move out of our abusive household and got to take him with me. We finally experienced the security, peace, and support of healthy family with each other, and he also provided me with a kind of regularity and structure that was so critical during a transitional stage in my life. While I've had years of formal training in art and drawing, the art I had preferred to make was abstract with no literal subject or obvious representations. During the handful of precious years that I was living with only him, Copper and eventually Copper with me became the main subjects of my art. It was a joy for me to combine stylistic abstraction, formal representation, and my love for my dog into artwork. After his death last June, continuing with that subject became a powerful way for me to maintain connection with his spirit.
"Mutual rescue" stories with a pet are not uncommon- I am deeply inspired and moved by the unique connection that exists between a human and their animal companion. I wish to further develop this genre combining abstraction, representation, and spiritual-emotional connection so that I can provide commissioned illustrations of the special relationships that people have with their animals. This service may also include a writing component.
Reaching in towards my inner artist has unearthed a great deal of inner challenges, which I choose to deal with using--what else--art! Along with this project about people and their relationships with animals, I am reconciling and championing other "artists" within me- a writer, sculptor and meditative healer. I feel a freedom and power when using verbal language that is similar to when I yield a pencil or paintbrush. The 3D language of sculpture has always come naturally to me, so it is no wonder that the active jostling of my inner painter is waking up my inner sculptor too. Certain visions, imagery, and words that come to me in my meditation practice are so vivid and compelling that translating them onto paper seems like the most appropriate stroke to complete the session.
Participating in Momentum is clearing a path for me to pursue a wild dream--a life built on applying my artistic skills in service of others and also myself. The path has been ignored for years in pursuit of an alternate career, buried with stories of its impracticality, overgrown with poison, thorns, and also sweet flowering trees and shade. With the structure and community that Momentum provides, I am supported in this journey of bristly hardships and blossoming celebrations, creating and healing all the way.