The Sky is Limitless. Be Your Authentic Self.
“The sky is limitless. Find your own passion and own purpose. Some people never find it their entire life due to being too into standardization,” said Jenny Lam, a 34-year-old artist. Jenny, who is a talented artist and also a mentor speaker on mental wellness, believes that being an artist allows her to express more about her feelings and fears. “I have always been passionate about art, and it is now one of the main areas of focus in my life. Arts calms me down and is a great way to find an outlet for all my emotions through my creativity.”
Today, Jenny talks to Whizpa about her journey to becoming an artist – how she found her inspiration to become who she is today.
How did you become who you are today?
I started creating abstract art pieces a few years ago. For a whole decade, I was surrounded by the finest artists, fashion designers, and art collectors from New York and St Tropez to Italy and Antwerp. My aesthetic eye was nourished through observations, interactions, and having dialogues with the masters.
What do you think makes your artwork stand out?
I use very strong vibrant colours and thick layers on the canvas. My paintings are simple on first impression, but complicated when you examine them more closely as there are at least 5 layers of painting in most of my art work. I am also here to make a statement: a movement around “Beingness”; of coming back to your own power as a human being; Of coming back to vulnerability;of love. A major difference is while my art may in some cases, appear simple, it contains multiple messages that require the viewer to look further. In this way, they are thought provoking and never only have just one meaning.
My art also expresses my independence and wishes around a woman’s freedom and loveliness.
How did you develop your techniques, skills and creativity for art?
I never took an art lesson. Maybe it’s because I grew up visiting many museums. I have a passion forvisiting different galleries when I travel just to look at art, and understanding them has given me a different eye for the way things are painted, installed and created. I have always had a deep creativity in me, and have expressed it in many ways - not just through art.
What are your inspirations? Was it an experience and emotion that led you to express yourself through art?
The sources and inspiration for my images are my personal stories and the female figure.
First, I am a woman. I am familiarised with the silhouette and subtleties of women’s figures. Secondly, I had a dramatic life in my growing years. Being an Eurasian, I had to move from home to home constantly. This unsettling childhood led me see the good side as well as dark side of human nature which has given me ample inspiration and resources to draw on.
What advice would you give parents who have kids who are passionate about art? How can they help support their kids’ passion and growth in art?
Art is very personal. It is an expression of whatever self you want to tap into. I paint a lot with my feelings and memories and retrieve emotions from it. The most important thought in my mind is constantly “Don’t paint for other people. First find your own style and ask yourself would you hang this in your house?”.
What advice would you give a young child who is a budding artist?
Do what makes you happy, keep exploring and expressing. Don’t forget, it doesn’t really matter what others think - it is always good to hear different advice and suggestions as long as it sits wellwith you. Pay attention to what history has created and what currently is happening as doing that will also will help you understand what is your own identity and position.
In addition to her passion for arts, Jenny is also a mentor in mental health and wellness,giving speeches on mental wellness and awareness.
What inspired and led you to support mental health and wellness?
I started becoming passionate about this subject because I was moving from home to home and changing schools and cultures. It was difficult for me to catch up with so many changes of school. For example, it was particularly difficult when I came to such a competitive environment as Hong Kong, when I didn’t speak any English or Cantonese (I only spoke Flemish and basic French). It was extremely confusing for me and there was a year I stopped speaking at all, hence I was put in special-needs classes as a kid. In HK, because of the competitive environment, I felt everything was absolutely pointless and it was impossible for me to ever catch up. I wish I had someone at the time who told me it was ok and to just keep going! Instead I was drowning and sort of gave up on everything. That is where my passion comes from in mental help.
What do you think are the biggest problems faced by individuals/people you know who are suffering from mental issues?
Often we think there is something wrong with us and we begin to isolate. I’m talking about mild mental health issues, not more complex or severe issues. We all have mild mental health issues. I’ll give you an example: some women after they have given birth hit a depression and have no idea what is going on with them,believing there is something wrong with themselves. While the fact is our hormones change so drastically that sometimes it affects the dopamine, serotonin and other chemicals that make us look at life as if there is a veil covering our perspective, and everything becomes heavy and dark. Women often lack the knowledge of what is happening to our bodies, especially when we are first time mothers and the changes that happen to us can be so drastic that in itself deserves a big acknowledgement. So is it mental health, mental balance? How do we find balance? First step always comes from acknowledgements, both being acknowledged and acknowledging that we have undergone a change.