On the road to creative success; The journey is rarely smooth. In this interview series, we question established artists about their roughest moments and how they have overcome adversity. Welcome to The BUMPS. Today, we’re talking to visual artist and designer, Llucy Llong!
How long have you been pursing a life in the arts? Has your passion affected your relationships with friends or family members who may not understand your calling?
LL: I began pursuing a life in the arts five years ago. For the most part, I have a lot of support from my friends and immediate family. I will say that there have been times when I have felt distant from loved ones who don’t understand the journey that I’m on. There have been no fall-outs–more like benign severances. It’s all love, but definitely something that I’m working through. On one hand, I want those who know me best to truly understand what I do and why I do it. At the same time, it’s my vision and the only one who is responsible for seeing it through is me. Overall, I do have a lot of people in my corner who genuinely appreciate my work and the dedication I have to my mission. Therefore, my focus is on nurturing the relationships that nurture me.
Are you a full-time creative? Or do you struggle to find balance between a day job and art? If so, what has been the challenges of entrepreneurship. If not, what’s holding you back from going all in?
LL: I have been a full-time creative three out of the last four years. This is my second round of entrepreneurship and I feel like I am just now getting a good handle on it. One of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurship is having to wear so many hats. Besides visual art, I am a graphic designer, which often times multiplies my tasks by two. No matter the size of the workload, it’s natural for me to “do it myself”, but I am learning to outsource what I can so that I can focus more on creating.
Your work seems to have an underlying theme of spirituality to it. Are these themes implicit or subjective? How important is faith (generic, not religious) in the pursuit of an artistic career?
LL: My reverence to divine spirituality is definitely implicit both in my work and in my life practices. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is the difference between faith and active faith. People often view the pursuit of an art career as one courageous leap, but really it’s a series of leaps. Personally, I have experienced periods of time when I felt like I was jumping off the ledge everyday, not knowing whether I would fly or fall. Active faith really shows you who you are and forces you to ask yourself if you still believe in your vision even when things aren’t going your way. These times can be excruciating and often make you feel like you are as strong as you are weak, but the rewards of pushing through are always exponential.
A selection of your work is internet/animation/gif based. Sometimes, that doesn’t translate for real world art collectors or traditional perceptions of art. How are using the internet in order to connect to fans of your work?
LL: When I started five years ago, I didn’t see much digital work in contemporary art spaces and felt like I had to create in more traditional mediums like painting and mixed media in order to connect with collectors. Two years ago, I decided to fully embrace my “digital superpowers” and when I did, so many doors opened up for me in both the digital world and in traditional art spaces.
I use the internet as an immediate outreach tool to inform, engage and communicate with my supporters. My loop animations are created to be a quiet, affirming space amidst the noise. The repeating visual commands are meant to reiterate messages that are usually centered around inner stillness, reconciliation, and connecting to one’s Source.
For most of my career I have kept my digital and traditional mediums separate, but now I am working on pieces and experiences that infuse both elements. This fall, I will be releasing a collection of wall hangings and tapestries featuring images from my digital collage series.
If you were to name one thing that’s holding you back from your goals, what would it be? How can you overcome this challenge?
LL: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a bad habit of trying to live in the present and the future at the same time. It doesn’t keep me from reaching my goals, but it definitely makes things more complicated than they have to be. I’m working on letting life flow and literally taking things one step at a time.
What do you do to relax?
LL: Lately, cooking has been one of my favorite ways to relax and release. I enjoy cooking dishes that take time and are made with love, similar to the approach I take with my work.
If you were to give one piece of advice to yourself or any other designer on day one, what would it be?
LL: One piece of advice that I would give to another designer on day one is to never be afraid to create your own opportunities. You’re a creative, it’s what you do naturally. This is the same thing I am telling myself now, in year five. When I began my career, I created many of my own opportunities out of necessity. I couldn’t wait until someone accepted my application or submission to show and sell my work. Now, it’s my preference and almost feels like a duty. So, if you are lucky enough to see your vision clearly, take the time to execute it as authentically as you can for the people you intend to reach.
You all can view the entire breadth of Llucy Llong’s work right here!