It began as a regular piece inspired by a mermaid (island artists do that, right?) but as the illustration came to life, I began to see her true form in the flow of the feminine and the Chinese character for woman, or female, 女, appeared across her chest. So 女 became her name and tattoo.
I usually inadvertently paint myself in my paintings without consciously intending to, but as such is the way of art - the learning and receiving of messages from the ether and my psycho-social experiences, I would like to now disclose that I am a girl with many tattoos. Let me specify.
I am an Asian American woman with many tattoos, and there are many like me, each with their own stories, none without their own pain, desperation, and a rising of the Goddess within.
I have been unraveling what it means for me to have grown up as an Asian American girl now that I identify as a woman, and it was facing a lot of contention between what was expected of me - to be soft spoken and pretty and groomed like an expensive china doll - and the extremely expressive creative side or Force that lived within me.
In ancient chinese culture, women were bound to silence, from having their feet physically bound to make their meekness more beautiful, to being sold to richer families as wives and houseslaves. Women didn't have a say in anything, and even though I didn’t grow up in such harsh extremes, the culture of silencing women is still heavily intertwined into our cultural behavior. And that is exactly what I learned as an Asian American girl.
Growing up, it was always made clear to me from my own family that I was being treated a certain way or had to "correct" certain behaviors because I was a girl.
So here is mermaid goddess, 女, having mastered the bind from the label and using her womanhood and Goddess powers as a beacon into the depths of Freedom...
first artprint of 2018
女 never has to worry about getting her feet bound again, for in the depths of the ocean where Freedom is found...