Tag: self portrait

Fall Semester Work

Untitled (Oil and Water)

Last semester was intense. Along with working a couple part-time jobs and working on side projects, I took my first online MFA class and attempted to maintain a regular studio practice for school. Read more


Still Here


I’ve been absent for a couple weeks now and my excuse is just that I’ve been busy (this is a valid excuse, I promise). Anyway, things are wrapping up (no pun intended) as the holiday season quickly approaches, so I am finally finding time to return to the things I’ve had to place on the back burner recently.

Today I am finishing the first paper of my graduate school career (it has been no easy task, but it’s almost done!) Maybe I will post the finished paper in its entirety on the site later, or at least a link to it…but here is a peek:

Picture 8

In the next two weeks I will teach my last museum classes and gifted art classes of the year. Here are some of the projects we have been or will be working on:


Literal art gouache paintings


Monochromatic paintings


Abstract sculptures inspired by Chihuly’s glass pieces

My goals for this month are to finish a commissioned painting, start a new personal project (which I’m really excited and will share details about soon), and relax! I have a lot more to do, but I’ll spare you the list. Hopefully I will be able to post on here more frequently again, but for now, here is some more evidence that I have been alive and well:







Medical Avatar Opening Reception

Ana and Virgil Wong

Last night, I attended the Medical Avatar opening reception with some of my family. There was a great turnout and I was able to meet and talk to Virgil Wong, the man behind the show and the company Medical Avatar. His own artwork was included in the show and he gave a great lecture discussing his process as well as his background and an overview of his work with medical avatars. It was fascinating to hear about this technology that we will probably become very familiar with in the near future.

Wong 1       Wong 2


I’ve been putting up images of these pieces for the past several weeks, but I never really explained the meaning behind them. The first piece in the series, In the Works, depicts the present me. There is a lot of potential in this piece. The pencil grid in the background indicates an ongoing process and a plan. My facial features were drawn or painted and covered up multiple times to represent how I’m still at a point where I can reverse damage that is caused by diabetes and lack of control.

In the Works

The next piece, In Repair, is me five years from now if I continue living with poor control of my diabetes. In this case, poor control can mean several things including poor diet, lack of exercise, neglect to administer insulin and check my bloodsugar levels, etc. This portrait illustrates a combination of symptoms from a variety of complications such as kidney damage and eye disease. Fatigue, weight-loss, burst blood vessels, and nausea are some of the symptoms I chose to depict. The circular shapes in the background are made from a sugar and paint mixture and symbolize a chaotic lifestyle. The peeling away of the paper indicates my approaching death.

In Repair

The last piece in the series, In Control, is me five years from now if I am proactive about my diabetes control. I wanted to make sure to show that even with good control, actually even with near perfect control, I can still suffer from complications. This is why I didn’t want to make the grid in the background too perfect and why I added tiny X’s around my body. The blue ring over my chest is the symbol for diabetes.

In Control

I’m really glad I was able to find time to create work for this show. It was a great experience! The show will be up through March 2015, so make sure to check it out if you are in the Roanoke area. Thanks for reading :]



New Work: Medical Avatar Series

medical avatar

From left to right: In the Works, In Repair, In Control
18″ x 24″
Mixed Media
October 26-27, 2014

I finally finished my submissions for the Medical Avatar exhibition that’s coming up. Despite my busy schedule, I decided to enter this show because the theme is relevant to the work that I’m currently doing. I had even planned on doing more self-portraits this semester.

The prompt was this: Entries should include three self-portraits: you as you are today; you as you will be in 5 years if you continue with an unhealthy habit you have today; and you as you will be in 5 years if you continue with a healthy habit you have today.

This process was pretty frustrating and I wasn’t surprised that it turned out that way. Self-portraits are hard for me to get through. It was an interesting experience, making three self-portraits in different styles and with different messages. I’ll post more background information later on.




Thanks for visiting :]


Fall Update

Last week I had my first studio visit with my mentor for school and it was so helpful. In Chicago I was able to get feedback from other artists at pretty much any moment so it was sort of a difficult transition to go from that to having little access to feedback again. My mentor gave me a few assignments and some questions to ponder over and I’m very excited to get started.

Last week I also started teaching an after school art class for Roanoke City. This means I will be teaching five to six different classes every week for a couple months. The kids were great and I’m looking forward to working with them every week :]

I’m working on so many different things right now. Here are two!


More sugar painting


A special self-portrait…

I’m also working on a commissioned painting, some show submissions, and a secret side project! More info soon. Thanks for reading!


Experimental Summer

I wish I had the time to write a post reviewing every single day of my residency, because that’s how much content I have to share. Unfortunately my schedule is completely packed, but I at least want to share some images of things I’m working on! Also, if you can’t tell from the photos, I’m experimenting a LOT. A teeny bit of information: I’ve been working with sugar, medicine, and obviously the colors red and pink. Thanks for visiting!

DSC_2104 DSC_2112 DSC_2094 DSC_2105 DSC_2115 DSC_2152 DSC_2150 DSC_2203 DSC_2212 DSC_2200 DSC_2216



April Inspiration

andromeda quilt

1. Geometric shapesTheRules-JohnCage

2. “The Rules” by John Cage


3. Frida Kahlo’s self portraits and life


4. Leah Duncan’s Etsy shop items


5. Popular slogans…you’ll see why in the future


6. Artwork of everyday things

Links: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Have a great weekend!


20 Years

30″ x 40″

Today is a big day for me. 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. That makes today my 20th “Diaversary”. I’ve talked about my diabetes on several occasions here, but if this your first time visiting, just know that I was only three years old when I was diagnosed so I don’t remember a life without it. You should also know that my diabetes became a prominent subject in my artwork pretty recently (about 3 years ago). Explore the site a little and you’ll see what I mean.

February 28th is really no different than any other day for me. It’s not like I forget about my diabetes the other 364 days of the year. No, diabetes is constantly on my mind. This day, however, is a reminder of how far I’ve come and the things I’ve conquered in spite of my chronic invisible illness. It’s also a reminder of the long journey ahead of me.

The self-portrait pictured above is my first painted self-portrait, and while it may seem pretty ordinary to you, it kind of makes me want to cry when I look at it. I started the painting back in December and intended to include it in my portfolio for my grad school applications. I finished it just in time for the deadline, but it didn’t look right to me so I didn’t use it. I decided to come back to it this week so that I could finish it in time for today. I finished it last night and I have mixed feelings about it. Since it’s a pretty large (and not totally accurate) rendering of my face, I’m nervous to hear or read what anyone will say about it. The painting itself reminds me of my relationship with my diabetes. It’s not totally figured out and it somehow makes me feel both good and bad at the same time. Satisfied and also really unsatisfied. My expression is calm, but kind of unsettling. The thing is that I didn’t plan for any of those things, it just turned out that way.

PWD (detail)

Initially, I planned on creating a really expressive portrait of myself using loose strokes and lots of colors. However, the more I worked on it, the more I focused on getting it to look just like me and the more frustrated I became when it didn’t. Anyway, the point is that the process was definitely a learning experience for me and I plan on doing more self-portraits in the future. Now back to my diaversary.

While I’ve always been aware of the short-term complications of diabetes, going through the process of making artwork about it has kind of forced me to really confront the possibility of long-term complications. Yes, it’s hard for me to think about those things sometimes, but the nice thing is that when I’m painting, I’m sort of temporarily escaping my reality (even when I’m painting it). Does that make sense? It’s like I think about these complications and risks without getting too emotional or becoming really sorry for myself.

Having this disease completely sucks, but I have a lot of people and things to be thankful for and it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t think about them today. My plan is to continue with this series of work (probably all the way through grad school!) and show it to as many people as possible. I’m also playing around with the possibility of putting all these paintings in a book someday. We’ll see. As always thank you for reading :]