I’m an illustrator, poet, yoga teacher and full time college student. The art I create— whether it is visual, written or auditory— is more about internal exploration than it is about external validation. As a poet, I want people to have an emotional response to me. When people understand my writing, we get hold space for each other and I relish those connections. Poetry helped me transition from victim of sexual assault to survivor, and gave me courage to develop and explore myself as a visual artist.
A lot of us grow up told not to bottle our emotions, but growing up most of us never had an example of how exactly to express those emotions. My art has been a process of unlearning that habit of bottling. Now I have more empty bottles of ink than I do bottled emotions, though of course I’m not perfect. I’ve always been drawn to working with pen and ink. It’s an unforgiving medium, but when you are bold enough to use it, ink is liberating. Ink is the perfect metaphor for life; it’s how you interact with your experiences that decide the outcome. My missteps with ink guide me towards exploration. I either work with the mistake, making the unplanned seamlessly part of the plan, or I scrap the whole thing and practice the art of non-attachment. I find nothing more satisfying than the feeling of black ink on white paper. That contrast is hard to ignore when you are faced with it, and I intend to be hard to ignore.
Ultimately, I am combining my yoga career and my artistic career to promote self-healing and self-expression through mindfulness. This is why chakra symbols, yoga poses and repetitive lines and mandalas show up so much in my work. While I am putting myself through college I still find time to be active in the Long Beach community by participating in and hosting open mics; as well as hosting artistic yoga workshops and helping educate people about selfcare. I am currently completing my second semester as an intern for The Living Arts program at The United Cambodian Community through the Arts Council and I am always looking for new opportunities. For the future, I plan to start writing and illustrating mindfulness poetry books for children. I hope I am setting an example of being unapologetically authentic, because showing up with my weird art and my sad poetry is an invitation for others to do the same. I want people to sense that nothing is off limits and that nothing is too weird or too dark to be shared.