A Tree Grows in Chinatown: The Opening

•Sunday 13 December 2015 • 3 Comments

The opening reception for my show was a wonderful experience: the work looked beautiful, we had 40 – 50 guests, family, friends, acquaintances, who found the work moving and thoughtful. Some people told me they bawled over some of the pieces. I cry over some of them too, but that’s different.

Some random people who had taken the garden tour and were finishing with a cup of tea in the great hall, people who had nothing to do with me or my family, spent an hour or so looking at the work. One of the women I worked with at the garden told me that the average amount of time people look at a piece of art was 3 seconds (she also told me that for her first solo show 6 people came to the reception), so people spending an hour looking at 12 pieces of art is good.

I’m thinking of turning this show into a book.

Afterwards a bunch of friends and I went to the New Town Bakery/Restaurant  where we had dim sum and other Chinese-y snacks.

Yesterday was an exceptional day. Today I’m trying to organize my studio which is exceptional only in that I do it so rarely.

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: 456 Keefer

•Friday 27 November 2015 • 2 Comments

ATGIC-456-KeeferTitle: A Tree A Tree Grows in Chinatown: 456 Keefer; Size: 12×24; Medium: inkjet print on silk and acryllic ink on canvas

456 Keefer Street was the Chinatown address of my mother’s family. We look at a photo of her two younger brothers standing on the Strathcona steps with two other boys. I ask if there was a big gang of kids that all hung out, and she says, “My brothers had lots of friends and I hung out with them”

ps. The pieces I’ve been posting here for the past few months have been made for my first solo show, “A Tree Grows in Chinatown” at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (opening 2 – 4 pm, 12 Dec 2015). I love the work, but my perfectionism and the lack of perfection in the work have come together with all the other stuff around me and made a perfect storm. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been worried – the work isn’t good enough, it’s stupid, it’s boring, it’s trite, it’s derivative, there isn’t enough of it, you know, the stuff that rolls around in the head of a clever woman who is talented and skilled, but has a tendency toward laziness.

Last Thursday, after a mostly sleepless night, I met with the women who are in charge of the show, and they loved the work. They thought it was perfect, thought it was the exactly right amount of work for the space, thought the subject matter was perfect for the mandate, understood the choices I’d made, saw things that I didn’t see…Etc…All good…All good…

Maybe they were trying not to make me feel bad, but I believed them, and that’s a good thing because I am a lot more relaxed now.

I don’t know how many of you are local, but if you are, please come to the opening of “A Tree Grows in Chinatown”, my first solo show. Time is 2 – 4 pm on the 12th of December 2015 at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC ). There will be tea to drink, art to see, people to talk to, and a classical Chinese Garden in which to be contemplative.

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Movement

•Monday 2 November 2015 • Leave a Comment

ATGIC-movementTitle: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Movement; Size: 12×24; Media: Mixed

When my mother was 3 years old, the family moved to Vancouver’s Chinatown, into a cabin which was at the corner of Gore and Union until it wasn’t. I used to walk by there on my way to the Skytrain Station, and one time the fellow who lived there let me look in the living room. There was a small oil-burning stove, and I imagined my mother and her siblings playing on the floor.

Incremental Change

•Saturday 31 October 2015 • Leave a Comment

a-tree-grows-in-chinatown-hI spend a lot of time looking at old photos and negatives. Today I found this pic of me, aged 4 or so, dressed in the best outfit. Other than the frill on the bottom of the top, I would wear this outfit (scaled up of course)

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Beautiful Daughter

•Thursday 29 October 2015 • 1 Comment

atgic-beautiful-daughterTitle: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Beautiful Daughter; Size: 12×24; Media: Mixed

There is a photo of my mother as a young woman with me, a baby, in her lap. This may be the first photo of me. We appear to be at a birthday party. I ask her what it was like to have a baby. She says, “I don’t know. They knocked me out, I woke up and there you were, my beautiful daughter”…

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Two Beauties

•Wednesday 28 October 2015 • Leave a Comment


Title: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Two Beauties; Size: 12×24; Media: Mixed

When I hand my mother the Foncie’s Foto of her and my father, she gently touches his cheek with her index finger. She and he look like they are having fun. The parents I knew were worn down by work and worry; they were never so carefree, never so kinetic as these two beauties…

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Princess and Pender

•Tuesday 27 October 2015 • Leave a Comment


Title: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Princess and Pender; Size: 12×24; Media: Mixed

In the next photo my mother is young, maybe 18, leaning on the family car which is parked on Pender between Princess and Heatley. Behind her the big now-green house and the small now-yellow house can be seen. “Dad always had Plymouths – this one was light blue,” she tells me.