Happy December everyone! Today I am delighted to introduce a new series starting on the blog: Interviews with Artists on Art and Fear.
Starting us off is my good friend Sojung Lee. She has been such an encouragement in my life and work at WELD ever since she greeted me at the door on my first day, and continued to check my first blog and ask me about it even when I hadn't posted in weeks. She gets one of my cheerleader seats when I create.
What art do you make?
I am an illustrator and graphic designer. I especially love watercolor illustration.
What are you working on that you’re most excited about?
I am currently working on a personal series, “Mundane Type”, that I am super excited about because it’s the first time in a while I’ve worked on a project just for myself: not for a client, not for a class; just for me. It combines my love of type and my love of florals. I created this series as a challenge to myself to create daily and also to get my work out there daily and be vulnerable daily.
Describe the season you’re in:
I’m in a season of personal discovery within the redemptive qualities of my past decisions and the consequences.
I spent 4 years in college not learning about myself but rebelling against authority, involved in an all-consuming unhealthy romantic relationship, and just making it through my classes. I should have taken advantage of my full-ride scholarship and taken classes that really interested me or would have challenged me, but I wasted it by just wanting to graduate as quickly as possible.
After college I subbed for a year and then eventually found a job as an art teacher. Again, I put myself in the backseat and allowed life circumstances to drive me around.
It wasn’t until after getting married, quitting my job, finishing grad school, and starting a career as a freelance artist that I realized how I had never taken the time to be a student of myself.
I went through a season most of my first year as a freelancer where I regretted all of the choices I had made, whether they had been "good" or “bad.” I put myself down for having either worked too much or not enough. I wasted so much of my early 20’s thinking that I had everything figured out when really I didn’t, but also I guess there’s not much to be embarrassed about because who doesn’t go through seasons of immaturity?
It was only a couple of months ago it really hit me that God is the great Redeemer, that He has been shaping me all along with all of the decisions I’ve made and with all of the doors that He’s shut and opened for me. Acknowledging the redemption in all of the negative events has allowed me to forgive myself for past mistakes, which allows me the freedom to be myself and learn about myself and has opened up my heart to allow God to work through me and for Him to show me who I am, glimpses of what He has in store for me, and what He wants me to walk and work towards.
How are you struggling with identity?
I fell into the trap of just being a wife to my husband, both in our marriage and in our business. I allowed his work to be priority over my own professional development in my creative career. I don’t think there was anything wrong with that - I wanted to be the best supporter I could of him because this last year, I know that’s what God was calling me to be and to do. I don’t regret that at all.
However, there are always two sides to everything. I really lost my own personal vision for my work because I was content with being comfortable as my husband’s supporter, his administrative assistant for his side of our business. But God does not call us to be comfortable. When it really comes down to it, I don’t think as human beings we are comfortable with being comfortable because we are made in God’s image and He doesn’t call us to live in comfort. I think there is such tension in comfort. On one hand, it’s comfortable being comfortable, but on the other hand, comfortable not only gets boring because it’s not challenging, but the apathy of it sucks you dry. And an apathetic life, an apathetic Christian life, is not life-giving or fruit-bearing at all.
I completely lost a sense of who I was, what I loved, and what it is I wanted to do. I felt like I had no identity apart from my husband and our business.
So I am in a season of self-discovery, trying to find my identity in my creative endeavors, and most importantly my identity in Christ. And, wow, it’s hard. Somedays, I think I am doing really well, being in God’s word, really understanding the direction He’s guiding me down; but when I think I have it all figured out, I soon realize that I was actually just being prideful and I start battling with the enemy. The devil is so sneaky.
What are you thankful for in this season?
I am grateful for the support of my husband and the community around me, both my church community group and the creative community at WELD. There has been so much encouragement from these people I trust and love, and that trust and love me back. Without them being kind and gentle and pushing me towards the Lord, this year would have been much more difficult and I think I would have lost my sense of self and worth completely.
What are the lies you have to push away when you sit down to create?
“You’re not good enough.”
“Who are you to call yourself an artist when you don’t have formal training from a prestigious art school?”
“That’s already been done before. How unoriginal of you.”
“Why even try when you know that it’s not going to get you anywhere. You’re wasting your time."
Who is currently an influential artist for you?
Anna Bond of Rifle Paper - To me, she is someone who is not just a talented artist but also in her life, she seems to be a walking piece of art. I don’t know how to describe this without sounding like I’m absolutely obsessed with her… so now that we’ve got that disclaimer out of the way... She dresses the part of elegance and sophistication, which is how I would also describe her art - it’s like she’s a living breathing art piece herself, like she could have stepped out of one of her floral paintings.
Favorite snack while creating:
Anything sweet or carb-y, paired with freshly ground freshly brewed black coffee.
How do you recharge?
I really love to cook or bake. I especially love when it’s for people I love!
It really recharges me because with baking it’s sometimes an exact science so all I have to do is focus on the recipe, but then I have creativity with all of the other things I could add to something, like a simple cookie dough recipe. It’s creating within constraints, which is what design/art is all about!
What are you reading?
Think by John Piper
Favorite outdoor activity?
Hiking and running
Where can we find your work?
Where can we find you on social media?
Instagram and Twitter - @soj_lee
Want to be featured? I'd love to talk with you! Send me an email at miah(at)miahoren(dot)com