I first started drawing when I was perhaps four years old. I grew up in a building of immigrant families and all the big kids were good at it, so naturally I wanted to be too. Drawing made a home for itself in my heart and stayed with me throughout the years. Throughout long periods of loneliness, uncertainty and awkward growing up, it stayed with me. My childhood was blanketed in doodles scribbled in the corner of my mom’s office. I was terribly introverted as child and I spent a lot of time alone. As well as a lot of time being dragged around places because it was just my mom and I and the single parent life is such and so. Also if you have ever been a kid, you KNOW how much it sucks being dragged around with no one to play with. So I made friends with drawing. I lost myself in creating stories and characters, in faces and lines and places far away. And for a long time, that carried me.
I don’t draw as much anymore. I don’t draw like I used to. Because I don’t need it like I did before. Now I have friends and relationships and conversations and half a sense of humor. Now I am a person, confident in my identity- in faith and person. I found myself relying less and less on drawing throughout the years, until voids once empty were empty no more.
For a long time it bothered me that I didn’t care for drawing and art the same way anymore. I pushed forward in denial. Perhaps in the depths and corners I still feel that a little. But I am coming to terms that drawing, art, design, the things I claim have my heart, just don’t hold the same weight for me anymore. They don’t define me. There are more important things now.
I could never give up on drawing though.
I could never give up on art and design and pursuing a creative life.
Even now when I ponder, “What do I want to do with my life?” I find myself in the same place. In answering, “live out my faith” and the follow up wondering is “well then, how will I do that?” I find myself paintbrush, pencil, tablet in hand.
I don’t think it was an accident, I think God gave me drawing as a friend when I was in desperate need of companionship, and now although the desperation is gone, we are still inseparable. What would I rather do, day in and day out? How would I live a life void of creativity? Where would my mind go? I believe God gave me certain things for a purpose. There is reason in my background, history, and ethnicity. Being born where I was, in the family that is mine, and the time that I live in. There is purpose.
I struggled to reconcile these things for a while.
How do I live out my faith in relation to my work, my ethnicity, and the issues I care about?
How do I create work in relation to my relationship with God, my cultural background and experiences?
How do I make God’s purposes for me worth it?
Frustration, disappointment and anxiety loomed threateningly over me. Now I know all I can do is put my best foot forward day after day and leave the rest to God.
For me, being an artist has become living all the instances and influences that I am given, and believing that through experience and time, they will find themselves onto the blank page of my work. More and more, I am finding truth in letting go of control, in waiting and being okay with things taking time. I am finding freedom in becoming unconcerned with trying to make it to the top, or being incredible or successful or better than others. Instead, I want to find success through being genuine, and in creating things that are sincere.
I believe that slowly but surely, I will make things that do not just breathe my influences, but draw oxygen from my person. I will create things that are made of these influences, instances, and impressions, that hold my ethnicity, faith, struggles, history, sense of humor, awkward quips and truthful intentions.
All these things, they will find their way on to the page.
– lydia he
Lydia studies Illustration at OCAD. You can find more of her work at http://www.lydiashe.com/.