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oddballs

Catch-up dinners with close friends are a wonderful thing. Sometimes they are just casual and fun and other times they become some of the most inspiring and motivational conversations you’ll ever have. Last night I had one of the latter kind with a friend who’s known me since the beginning of college. She’s seen me be everything from ridiculous to amazing and seems to always understand the beauty in the things I do. Pretty priceless, huh? We got into a discussion over our current states of restlessness, almost drowning in our desire to make our dreams manifest into reality. She read aloud to me Linda Holmes’ article on NPR, Hey Kid: Thoughts for the Young Oddballs We Need So Badly. I highly suggest you read the entire thing, but here are a few of my favorite parts.

The fact that nobody is doing what you imagine doing is the beginning of your idea, not the end. People want to read things that haven’t been written, see things that haven’t been made, and hear things that don’t yet exist. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t see yourself reflected in what’s being shown to you, let alone what’s being heavily marketed to you.

oddballs | tide & bloom

Everything worthwhile has a strong feeling in it, which means if you’re going to make great stuff, you’re going to have strong feelings. This is part of why people associate artistic types with moody outbursts or temper tantrums or lying around saying, “Oh life!” And it’s sort of true.

Out here, we are already waiting for you. We are already anxious for you. Out here, we want to see your stuff. Don’t get me wrong — some of us will disappoint, reject, confuse, misunderstand, mislead, or even exploit you. (Not the good ones of us on those last couple. But some.) But we want to see your stuff. Keep going.

UGH. That is SO good right? Of course after reading it, I’m thinking “I wish I had written that,” but more importantly I wish I had read that when I was younger. The world is prime for our individuality to shine if we allow it to. If we believe in our original thoughts/ideas/creations and put them out there and exercise them, who knows what will happen. And the beauty is in our possibility, our potential. We – meaning I – need to stop trying to arrange ourselves to be reflections of icons of success or cultural importance and instead place priority on becoming a genuine and unfiltered reflection of the inner creator. 

s’more grams

I don’t have a smartphone, but thanks to an incredibly generous boyfriend I get to instagram to my heart’s desire! Favorites tend to include food and fashion. Can you blame me?

[instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/bttpZ4H_0i/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/btv1YhH_4F/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/bo7LLeH_5_/ width=325][instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/bZxwL6n_3z/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/cCOkF-H_5i/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/cCgw9pH_6y/ width=325]

starting small

One of the biggest mental setbacks I have is the fear that I’m not as great as the people I admire and aspire to be like (artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc). Those beautiful creative professionals seem like they have everything together so effortlessly and they continue to surprise me with their ability to stay fresh, relevant, and inspirational. Despite knowing that they all had to start somewhere, I always find myself feeling so far behind with so much left to go. Why do I feel like I have to start big and so close to the end?

starting small

I keep forgetting that you don’t begin a success. You become a success.

pattern play

Thanks to the flourishing film industry in Atlanta, I’ve gotten the chance to make a few bucks on the side by doing extra work on tv shows and films. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, but all the sitting around gives me a chance to play with some pen and paper. Perhaps someday soon I’ll get to see these come to life! Do you like this pattern? What would you like to see it on?

geo pattern by Christina Kwan

iman

artist Iman Person

Iman works at the art gallery where I first began my journey here in Atlanta. She wasn’t hired immediately after we interviewed her, but she was always lingering in the back of our heads. She exudes a quiet and graceful beauty that sneaks up on you and stays. I try to visit the gallery for every opening night and at the last one, Iman looked completely stunning (in that subtle way she has). Her pairing of white jeans with this sheer shirt-dress is just the best.

artist Iman Person

Completely elegant casual. It’s no surprise that she not only dresses beautifully, but creates beautifully as well. Her sculptures and drawings are as delicate and earthly as her fashion style reflects. These are some of my favorite pieces of hers:

drawing by Iman Person

home

Thanks to a doodle-a-day challenge from Ello Lovey, I have some little drawings from my sketchbook to share. The prompt for this was “your home”. First time I’ve drawn a portrait in I don’t know how long. His head is not really this misshapen.

sketch by Christina Kwan

the industrial organic

I’ve lived in Atlanta for about three years now so you can imagine how many art festivals and markets I’ve been to. After a while, everything starts to look the same to me. Not in a bad way – just in the fact that I’ve seen all the local vendors already. Thankfully, I was recently and pleasantly proven wrong when I stumbled upon MDC Interiors at ARTlantis.

concrete planter by MDC Interiors in Atlanta | tide & bloom

concrete succulent planters by MDC Interiors in Atlanta | tide & bloom

In their sweet and humble booth full of tiny treasures, I met the warm and ever-so-lovely Mona Patel. She and her partner, Mike, began MDC Interiors to craft custom objects that are visually striking as well as beneficial for the environment. While I didn’t get to see their furniture pieces (due to the limited amount of space), I absolutely fell in love

meditative gestures

sketchbook drawing by Christina Kwan | tide & bloom

Now that I’m an “adult”, I no longer have school assignments leading my art practice. This is liberating and terrifying. Without any limits, how do you chose to represent yourself? Wait, I’m wrong. There are definitely limits – the limits of self-doubt, financial resources, physical space, mentor support. I’ve been slowly and painstakingly inching towards finding imagery from within. While I could very easily just draw from life (and sometimes I do), my true self is only revealed in abstract gestures. What you see here is a small series from my sketchbook that I’ve titled “Lock”. They’re all 14 x 11 inches and done in Micron pen.

sketchbook drawing by Christina Kwan | tide & bloom

I envisioned these in my mind laying in bed one night, thinking about how to distill my mark to a pure form. They end up looking a lot like feathers or hair (hence the series title) and I love – yes, I love – how delicate they ended up. The movement in each line is subtle and sometimes strained, but always organic. It’s really difficult to take accurate pictures of my drawings, but I edited them to the best of my ability.

sketchbook drawing by Christina Kwan | tide & bloom

I decided to share this series as a part of the Love Yourself Linkup because the act of exposing my drawings is an act of self-love. It takes everything in me to be proud of myself. If you know me in real life then you know how ridiculously true this is. I’m terribly self-conscious about speaking about my work or showing my work – even more so if you’re my friend or loved one. So here I am, allowing myself to receive whatever reaction may come… including praise.

loveyourselflinkup

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