Earlier this week one of my friends on Instagram was doing a poll for fun. Her question was “Which super power would you rather have: Invisibility, or the ability to fly?” I chose the ability to fly. Unsurprisingly, flying is far more popular than invisibility. The thought of being able to fly makes us feel free and excited, while invisibility sounds practically dangerous and insignificant. While I intuitively chose flying, I didn’t think about the reason for my choice. I didn’t choose flying because I wanted to feel free or powerful. In fact, if you replace flying with any other ability–super strength, super speed, walking through walls, you name it–I would probably choose that. That is because I just want to avoid being invisible. You see, I was invisible for a very long period of time when I was younger.
I was a very introverted kid; I still am at times. I didn’t really talk to people much. Not because I didn’t want to, but it’s because I didn’t know how. I came to America when I was 14 and spoke very little English. That in itself already put me in an awkward spot in the school. While I was able to make friend with other Mandarin-speaking kids, we had very little in common. Teenage boys around me were into playing sports, talking about cars, and watching the NBA. I on the other hand didn’t really do these things. Instead I spent most of my time drawing and painting. I rarely got much attention from anyone except a few occasions when people complimented on my drawings. Even after I went to art college, not much changed. You might think I would have found a group of people who were also into art, so we should have gotten along very well. However, the popular theme for the major I was in seemed to be edgy, dark, and shocking. I on the other hand just wanted to paint pretty pictures of landscapes and my girlfriend-now-wife, so my teachers were usually not interested in my works.
Fast forward about two decades later, not much has changed. I am still that kid who likes to draw and paint. I made some good friends who appreciate what I do, but they are not really into my art. It wasn’t until recent years when I decided to start sharing my work on my website, YouTube, and other platforms. People started to notice me and my work. I am not saying I become famous, but I don’t feel invisible anymore. As you are reading this, please know that your support means so much to me. I paint and share because of you. This is also the main reason why I am determined to create art that is meaningful for you. My motivation to grow as an artist is knowing that my work brings joy to people.