Sunday, June 4, 2017

I'd Kill Everyone On This Earth For You

"I'd Kill Everyone On This Earth For You" by JUURI
Digital collage of hand-painted elements | 24 x 24" (61 x 61 cm) | Prints available here

I'm sorry that instead of a typical expression

My utterance is only:

"I'd kill everyone on this earth for you."

Lifted from the words of a captain, for his daughter but

that's how I say, I'd follow you into death.

Ridiculous, ludicrous, foolish I know

Strong words from a fragile mouth, bare frame

To someone who really doesn't

Need any help at all.


Before I can kill anyone, I'll most likely be

Killed myself.

And the only fire left will be the one that heats the scarlet trickle

But that's alright with me.

This is a new piece which I made on location in New York City. I love making art when I travel, because I find fresh new influences and emotions that I don't know when I'm at home. 

The painting is beautiful yet violent; the female figure is both opulently arrayed with brilliant blue Hoopoe birds, and yet vulnerable and bare. Her gaze is unaffected and nonchalant... as if she is bleeding out from the neck as a matter of unavoidable (yet not wholly unexpected) circumstances.

I'd love to hear what this piece represents to you.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How To Start An Art Collection (Tips from... well, an artist)

I've heard quite a few people say "I'd like to buy art if I were super rich, but I don't even know where I'd start."

Fear not, dear buds! One does not need to be overly wealthy or even overly clever to be an art collector! Here are some tips that I think will make it easier for even the most novice-est of novices to slay the art of the art treasure hunt. Say bye-bye to boring old stock art from the clearance rack at Target!

Superstar Secret: Another great resource on this topic: Invaluable's How to Start a Fine Art Collection.



First, calm down. Don't feel pressured to dive into a purchase immediately. Take some time to just casually browse art. You can look online, in magazines, in other peoples' houses... what speaks to you? If everything is kind of meh, keep looking. Did you know that when a person sees an artwork they love, it activates the same part of the brain that controls physical attraction to other humans? So basically... You'll know when you find "the one"! Also, don't feel like you have to like a particular genre (i.e. a black and white landscape for the living room, a painting of fruit for the kitchen...) No matter what you're attracted to... even if it's a painting of a cheese-it on a paper towel dispenser... if it pulls your heart-strings, it's for you!

Superstar secret: Grouping things into themes are a fun way to collect. Maybe a color scheme. Maybe a medium. Maybe a subject matter. Your home can be a collection of several different themes of art.



These days, there are endless ways to find your perfect piece. Try browsing Etsy, Saatchi Art, or even Google Images. Or, find out if your city has a 1st or 2nd Friday Artwalk night... not only are they a great way to find out about local talent, they are very fun (and delicious... hi mega egg roll food trucks.) Most states also have some type of statewide art organization (in Oklahoma, we have OVAC) that can provide you a list of working artists. Nothing is nicer than supporting local talent while adding to your collection!

Superstar secret: Develop relationships with your favorite artists. This will allow you to know about any special deals, studio sales, or available commission slots. Plus, it's just nice to support a person instead of a webpage. Good things for everyone!


OK, I assume that you'd followed my above tips and now have a few pieces you're just dying to put on display for all to see. Here are my fave ways to showcase art. I use all these methods in combination in my own home!

- Gallery (saloon) style. There are endless templates online to help you navigate this look. This is a great way to showcase a large collection of very differently-sized pieces. Examples:

Photo via
Photo via
Photo via

- Picture ledge. IKEA has my favorite ones. You simply lean your fave works up and then change them out when you're tired of the arrangement. Perfect for people (like me) who hate permanence! Examples:

Photo via
Photo via
Photo via

- Alternative hipster ways to hang art. Behold heart-rending chicness.

Photo via
Photo via
Photo via Urban Outfitters

Superstar secret: Here's my best tip for having artwork framed at Hobby Lobby. Pick your frame on 50% off week. If you need a custom mat cut, use your 40% off coupon on it. Boom. You saved several hundred dollars just then. You're welcome.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

An Organized Way to Fulfill Those 2016 G O A L S

Standing on the brink of the Sea of Japan in October this year.

 I've never really liked New Years' resolutions because they seem hokey and woefully flaky to me.

However, this past year I've been reminded that writing down actual goals (WHAT, HOW and BY WHEN) is a powerful thing. So, here they are!

Goal #1: Raise the value of myself.

How: I recently attended a seminar by an Australian business billionaire. One thing that he said that stuck with me was "work harder on yourself than you do on your business." I'd never thought of that before. I had thought that running yourself ragged on behalf of your business shows how much you truly love it. But tis not so! And if you think about it, of course this makes sense. So how can I polish myself? For me, it means eating better and exercising more. It also means instead of spending my evenings scrolling FB, IG, Zillow or Houzz, (which, I never have anything to show for my time), I could finish dozens of books or work on home improvement projects that I never have time for. I could pay better attention to my spending habits and account for every penny that goes out the door, and why.

BY WHEN: My goal is to look and feel the exact way I want by March. To get there, I plan to drink my morning yoghurt smoothies for breakfast daily, and have my favorite green protein smoothie for lunch. Dinner can be something more exciting, but still healthy. I will go to the gym no less than 2 times per week, and run no less than two days per week. I am confident that I can reach my goal, since I've been going to the gym pretty regularly this entire year anyway. I want to use my evenings to read and finish one book per month. I am going to set an iPhone reminder so that I look at my budget and do any work that needs to be done, at 8pm every night.

Goal #1: Raise the value of my art.

HOW: By adjusting prices to something I feel fairly compensates me for my time and skill. By creating fewer pieces, but better pieces. Creating pieces that address my deepest feelings I want to evoke, by drawing on inspiration from my travels (don't waste them!)

BY WHEN: I want to have a new body of work (15 pieces or so) by the end of 2016, all worthy (no "filler") pieces that evoke the actual mood I'm after. I'd like to have the show in December 2016, in a good gallery space.

Goal #2: Raise the amount of my learning.

HOW: Experiment with new mediums and brands. Never be too proud to watch tutorial videos and learn about how to paint. There is no such thing as learning too much. Make it a point to watch beautiful foreign films and music videos for inspiration instead of endlessly pinning "dream home" stuff to Pinterest. Go to museums in the area and get on their mailing lists. Make it a point to attend new exhibitions, even if the descriptions don't interest me. It's good for your brain to search through less-inspiring stuff to find hidden treasures than to become desensitized to the endless streams of good images available through the internet.

BY WHEN: I must attend the newest exhibit at the Fred Jones Art Museum by the end of this weekend. I will endeavor to have a new favorite thought-provoking foreign film every month... something I can do on the weekends. By summer, I want to know how the old masters painted portraits and be able to emulate their glowing skintones.

What are your goals for 2016? How about trying out the what, how, by when method? Tell me how it goes!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

知らない場所の懐かしさ | The familiarity of a place I've never been

From JUURI's instagram feed.
From JUURI's instagram feed.

 日本語でブログを書きたくなりました。 可笑しな日本語でごめんなさい!






English version:

I just got back from Japan. Ten days' worth of unpacking and laundry is a sight to see! I currently feel like I'm living in a space between Japan and the US. I suppose I will have to return to reality someday, but I will work hard to preserve the inspiration and rejuvenation I got by being back in Japan.

I learned that I can't properly create art without having experiences in Japan. During this hiatus, I learned more about what I want to say with my art, and what I need to paint for myself. More than "objects" or "faces", I truly desire to present a "nostalgic feeling or mood." Maybe the glitters of remembrance I have from living in Japan when I was small. Also, I have a great longing to convey the feeling of being in a dark, quiet forest surrounded by plants. I'm not sure why I'm longing with such familiarity for a place I've never known, and why that longing is mixed so inexplicably with my childhood memories.

Perhaps I will find out if I paint. Or perhaps, I don't need to ever know.

Anyway, I will paint.

Thank you everyone.

+++ Appendment:

Don't worry, I'm not going to give up painting gorgeous girl faces anytime soon. But I'm going to now try to pay more attention to minimalist compositions, gradients, darker (or extremely light) backgrounds, environment, color de-saturation, monotone, neater rendering of plants, mood, feeling... I want to bridge the gap between what I want to paint and what I would display in my own minimalist modern dream home. 


This is the type of Japanese forest which beckons my imagination!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


My little self attending Japanese kindergarten in Kobe, Japan.

 I see that now the hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory has joined the fray, and a lot of people are using it to whine about how they are mistreated. So let me tell you my #MyAsianAmericanStory.

I immigrated from Japan to the US when I was six. I got made fun of occasionally in school, yelled at by neighbor kids, and in 7th grade, our class was made to listen to a comedic routine (on cassette tape) that had some jabs at Japanese culture. The rude jokes hurt my feelings so much that I burst into tears in front of the whole class. Major embarrass. And of course when I got older, there were the guys who only liked me because I was another Asian-esque who fit into their Asian fetish. Gross.

If I search history, I can find that thousands of Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps during WWII though they had committed no crime. I can remember the story told by my grandmother in Japan, of how she was forced to move from her home because the city had been firebombed by the Americans. (Something you don't learn in American history books.)

But but but, does any race have a monopoly on suffering? Uh, no. Every person on earth has been mistreated by some other person on earth, simply because humans are cruel creatures who tend to dislike people different from themselves. If you search for sad stories involving your race, you’ll find them all day long. If you live life expecting people to harass you because of your race, it’ll happen constantly.

Knowing history is important. But using history to make excuses, create fake enemies, and find a personal ticket aboard the complain train is an insult to your ancestors and those who suffered before you. We are a nation of immigrants in a world of different races. It's about time people stopped dwelling on every possible negative thing and see how many good people surround them daily.

Oh, and here’s the latter part of my #MyAsianAmericanStory that continues to this day. Any negative comments regarding my race seemed to fade away and be replaced by kindly genuine interest and fascination. I'm not sure if everyone around me grew up, or I did. I've also learned to take a joke and will be the first to laugh about my rice addiction and actual need to create my eyelids in the morning with tape (#asiangirlproblems). Sure, I get an uneducated comment every now and again, but I don't let them bother me, because: seriously, does it matter? I live each day as an artist, my dream job. I have a lovely husband, fantastic family, and probably the cutest dog on earth. I have the greatest friends, and live in a wonderful community in a house which is safe and clean. I get to travel often, including visits back to Japan to see my sweet relatives and hilarious friends. I am very fortunate to belong to two countries which have so many positive things about them. My life is pretty great.

If you look around you, you will also probably see that that your life is great too. If it’s not… nothing in the whole world is holding you back from making it great. Fun quote from a TV show I’ve never watched: “When I feel sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.”

#MyAsianAmericanStory, #asianproblems, #asiangirlproblems, #asiangirls, #immigration, #raceissues, #japaneseamerican, #japanese

Monday, July 27, 2015

New piece: "16 - 鎌倉権五郎景政 -" (Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa)

"16 - 鎌倉権五郎景政 -"
Watercolor, colored pencil, Japanese paper, and gold leaf on wood
24 x 24"
Close-up of the face and Japanese paper collage on the helmet
Close-up of the figure... strangely I like this crop
My stamp, after a long process. DONE!
 Wow, it's been a long few months to complete this piece, but I'm pretty thrilled at the finished piece and the curiously muted (for me) color scheme. Read the story of this mysterious warrior boy below.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Are you sick?

There is nothing I love so much as the big bold blue sky above the start of a new adventure.

 Recently I finally invented a word for a nagging feeling I've had my whole life. The word is "place-sickness." I'd describe it as the opposite of homesickness. When you are homesick, you miss home so much that it makes you physically ill. When you are place-sick, you want to leave so much that it makes you physically ill.

I've been place-sick for longer than I can remember, because I have the most incurable case of wanderlust. I should have been born as a wandering desert nomad!

I've lived in a few varied places in my life (Tokyo, Japan; Kobe, Japan; Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, and for a short spell in the UK) and I go out-of-state and out-of-country several times a year. But, it's not enough. I want to live somewhere totally new every few years, not just visit and return to the same home airport. I want totally new experiences, new friends, new scenery, new ways of life, new languages, new interests and new fears, new adventures. But, currently... it's not meant to be. I am being taught patience and the ability to be content in any circumstance. Perhaps I'm in a training period or something for when I really do wander the earth...

Always the right answer: the sea.

I've realized more and more that this is why I need to create art. Getting lost in the sketching of serene faces, scribbling wildly with oil pastel as the paint drips, letting watercolor flow its own way as music from other lands fills the room... for now, that is my escape. During the times I paint, I don't feel place-sick because I feel that I'm someplace new every time. Even after I finish the pieces, I can look at them and suddenly be transported to another place... someplace uncommon and exotic.

When I start working on the floor, you know things are really serious

Maybe you need a break from negativity or the constant grim reports that fill the news. Or maybe respite from a job which exhausts you. Or time off from a not-quite-right group of friends who make you feel slightly worse each time you hang out with them. I hope that my works might be a remedy for for that type of place-sickness. I hope that you can look deeply at the colors, the faces, and quiet patterns and gold, and feel that you have been transported elsewhere. Someplace peaceful, someplace magical.

Photo by Quit Nguyen

Much more art to come. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inspirations from Vienna

We went on a work/holiday trip to Vienna, Austria! Travel gives me such intense inspirations like nothing else can. I'm dreaming of the paintings I can make on this new power... hope the ideas don't melt away under the blanket of home-monotony before I can create them.

We also had short stops in London and Paris, which I'll blog about later!


- I loved the winding stairs leading up to our borrowed apartment. The building was probably almost as old (if not older) than my country. So many stories must be contained within those sunlit hallways, filled with assorted potted plants from neighbors, ornate wall carvings (in need of a good cleaning), the smell of cold stone and old tobacco... and the occasional echo-y cough emanating from a missing window pane of one of the apartments.

- I loved the fresh, spring air of the city as we explored it by bicycle. The bike lanes in Vienna are constant and wide, so you can get anywhere you please with the utmost speed and convenience. There was lots of golden pollen drifting about and people coughed and sneezed with their allergies. But there's nothing like that brilliant yellow golden shine from statues and memorials in the middle of the city.

- I loved the bakeries on every corner, and the dizzying varieties of just-baked delicacies. They were all so cheap, though I would have paid anything to have them! The friendly "Grüss Gott!" of the store clerk girls, the bustle of daily patrons, and the tantalizing possibility of adding a fabulous cup of dark-roast coffee to the sugary treasures was also so such a comfort.

- Flea markets and recycle shop paradise! The antique shops in the US could never hold a candle to the treasures you can find in Europe! The older I get, the more I love to rummage through dusty old treasures in random shops much more than buying shiny outfits in modern malls. We bought an interesting black iron light fixture for €3, and struck a deal with a kindly old Vienese gentleman over some botanical pages from 19th century field guides.

All these lovely feelings and beauty lead me to effortlessly imagining some new artworks. I'm thinking of girls faces on wood, with wood as the skintone. I was to surround them and cover most of their faces with ornate golden swirls, horses, and boughs full of leaves and white berries. The backgrounds can be pure black. Very European, very chiaroscuro, I think.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Should Artists Go to University?

J graduating university, circa 2006.

I've been hearing this question a lot recently so I thought I should write a post.

My short answer is YES. Go. Finish it like a boss.

The Skillz.

Not only is college about the most fun you'll even have in your life (If I could, I would be a student forever....) But you will gain some very valuable instruction there. This is true whether you want to major in graphic design, studio art, or any other art form. I would never have the technical abilities I have today if it weren't for the excellent instruction I gained in college classes.

College is like Chicken Pox.

 College is like chicken pox! Do it early if you can! "Doing it later if I want to" gets exponentially harder after you have a life, spouse, and kids. Why wait? Having a bachelor's degree simply compounds the possibilities in your life. If you're like me and change "what you want to be when you grow up" every few years, you'll know that you can choose to be a studio artist, entrepreneur, or... you could even apply to a government graphic designer job. You should give yourself every tool other people have in their arsenal.

Balance the Benjamins

One thing I think an artist should avoid is to get into huge debt to go to college. College is advisable for artists, but not dead necessary like it is for a medical doctor. Don't rack up a $120,000 debt after school. Your artist career will most likely not support that! Look into inexpensive colleges. (I think my alma mater, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK is the King of Inexpensive. I had zero college debt.) Apply for scholarships. Work student jobs that give you discounts on tuition. Be creative.

You can make it work if you really want to!

JUURI's Golden Advice Point (I wish I would have done this)

 Use your electives and take marketing classes. FOR REAL. I have no idea why it's not required for artists. That is a huge flaw. 50% or more of your time being an artist will involve marketing, whether it's for yourself or a client. Become a guru of it. As for clueless little me, I squandered my electives on stuff like Billiards class and I had to learn marketing on my own time once I desperately needed it.

Reasons Not to Go to College

- If you stumble upon some amazing career opportunity or mad entrepreneurship chance, and things are going so so swell that going to college at the moment would be impractical and in fact impossible.
- .........

That's the only one I can think of. Please feel free to let me know what you think!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You - Haters Gonna Hate Edition -

It seems to happen without fail: whenever you're doing something awesome, creative, incredible, out-of-the-box, or different... somebody somewhere will have an issue with it. Now, these moany groanies usually aren't brave enough to come talk to you face-to-face about a legitimate concern. Probably because there is no legitimate concern and all their animosity toward you stems from intense jealousy, insecurity, or plain wrong information (often found inside rumors.) Also: you can tell it's the handiwork of a jelly person when the accusations or complaints about you make no logical sense.)

I'm a naturally demure person and I dislike confrontation. I even have a hard time being firm with telemarketers because I feel so awful about being rude to anybody. So, you can imagine that if I hear that a group of people think badly of me or are actively hatin', it really hurts my feelings and messes up my day more than I'd like to admit. I often wonder what I can do or change to placate everyone so that people won't be mad at me. After thinking about it awhile, I came up with a little test to help myself. Maybe it will help you too when the whingers and moaners come for you.

- What is it that people dislike about me? Is it something bad? If so, fix it in spectacular fashion so they have nothing more to say. Is it something good? If so, do it 1000x better and torture them with pure excellence. 

And here's a little graphic that you can pin on your Pinterest to cheer yourself up on bad days. It cheered me up today.