Studio Visit Book Vol. 1

ATHGames

Holly Wong on Healing Through Art and Personal Growth for Artists

In the episode of the Arts To Hearts Podcast, hosted by Charuka, we explore the world of multidisciplinary artist Holly Wong. Join us as we delve into Holly’s incredible journey of balancing a full-time job with her unwavering passion for art.

Throughout the interview, Holly emphasizes the importance of setting short-term goals and celebrating each step of the artistic process. She believes in embracing different interests and talents without any shame or self-doubt.

Moreover, Holly shares her personal experiences with trauma and healing, captivating us with her raw vulnerability. She provides valuable insights on setting boundaries, being intentional with time, and prioritizing self-care as an artist.

Holly’s artistic talent extends to various mediums, including fiber art and painting. To see her amazing creations, follow her on Instagram at Holly Wong Art. Don’t miss her current shows at the Ogden Contemporary and Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

Tune in to this episode as we explore the world of Holly Wong, where creativity, authenticity, and personal growth come together to create magic.

TimestampSummary
00:00.00Introduction
00:03.70Holly’s gratitude for being invited to the podcast
00:07.70Holly’s work is stunning, with beautiful textures and colors
01:01.31Holly’s routine of working in the studio from 2 am to 6 am
03:10.74Holly has been working this way for over a decade
03:27.13Holly’s day job is in finance at a university
04:11.41Holly’s combination of art and finance is a feminist perspective
05:21.10Holly’s mentor encouraged her to learn finance
08:14.95Holly’s experience with the perception of different art forms
09:53.14Holly’s perspective on the distinction between fiber art and fine art
11:00.20Gender norms and fitting into boxes as an artist
12:21.77Alternative history of art and women artists
14:16.00Balancing art with building wealth and investing in oneself
16:48.76Valuing worth based on real-time creation and career goals
18:10.16Women as caregivers and diverse strengths
19:24.74Embracing alternative paths and owning choices
20:38.39Shift from high-level job to pursuing art
21:58.94Finding balance and fulfillment as an artist
21:58.94Introduction
22:08.22Holly pushed herself too hard in her job
23:02.86Holly developed an eating disorder
23:26.80Holly realized she needed to live her own life
24:02.54Holly made a decision to change her path
24:46.20Holly shares advice on finding balance
26:00.50Therapy and setting boundaries were important for Holly
27:00.69Tracking progress is important
27:37.78Holly’s mother’s death impacted her work
30:09.21Holly’s work focused on reprocessing trauma
31:55.98Holly’s work improved as she healed herself
32:10.20Talking about anger and grief after losing a loved one
33:26.18Importance of being part of a supportive community
36:19.85Embracing multiple artistic mediums
38:04.17Finding clarity in artistic identity
39:46.60Personal experiences shaping and evolving artwork
41:28.80Artist statements as a point in time
42:05.45Comfort with evolving artist statements
42:05.45Importance of evolving artist statements over time
43:55.44Finding clarity and purpose in artistic journey
44:46.40Struggles with writing artist statements
46:00.55Seeing oneself objectively as an artist
47:06.20The importance of unpeeling layers and being authentic
47:43.73The experience of aging and blooming artistically
49:30.85Shedding societal expectations and finding oneself
50:49.64Encouragement to prioritize and set realistic goals
52:01.33Seeking support and talking through priorities
53:13.80Practicing radical acceptance and finding happiness in current circumstances
0:00.00Introduction
53:32.10Setting short-term goals
54:05.37Celebrating achievements and building upon them
54:51.10How to find and support Holly Wong
55:20.87Holly’s upcoming shows
56:24.67Holly’s involvement in the art community
57:03.27Closing remarks
57:16.85End of recording
57:22.78Final goodbye
[TRANSCRIPT]

**** – (): 00:00.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Welcome to the podcast Holly how are you.

**** – (): 00:03.70

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I’m good So great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

**** – (): 00:07.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Same here same year. You have this incredible work I saw your work I seen your work quite a couple of times and we wanted to bring you on the podcast and your work is as stunning as one can say um I love the textures, the colors and. Think the organicness of your work to be honest, but I want to talk about that. But before that I also want to talk about a lot of things that have found about you and then I read more about you and learn more about you. We’re recording this episode at 2 am m right now and. From what I can understand you’re 2 am to 6 a m is your studio hours and you have a day job and you paint throughout the week in during the night isn’t it.

**** – (): 00:51.57

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yes, that’s accurate. Yeah I have a full time day job and um, my sort of my best hours for making artwork are before I go to work in the morning.

**** – (): 01:01.31

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wonderful. So a lot of artists feel um, handicapped and I would include myself in that too because sometimes I feel like I have too much on my plate I have so many things to do that Often. Um. You know I Miss out and I feel like oh I won I’ll do this once I have time and I’ll do this once you know I get there or I feel more St or like you know if I have like all of those reasons and I wrote that when I read about you and I was like this is calling out on all of our excuses. Can you. Talk me through about this. Um, this idea how did you come up to this and a lot of times a very general attitude amongst all of us is like you know I have a full time Job. How do I make card probably I’ll make on weekends but going this extra mile and having this routine and putting your hours did you did you. Like were you always like this or did you land up here with like a sequential incident. We don’t know about yet.

**** – (): 01:59.65

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Well so I think it’s a great question and something a lot of people ask me um to be honest with you I learned this by working in I used to be a shift scheduler in a medical Er and I would schedule all the residents in the medical students and what.

**** – (): 02:09.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh wow.

**** – (): 02:17.25

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): As I put the schedules together I realized that people were coming into work at Eleven o’clock at night and they left work at 7 and some people came to three and they left at 11 So I learned about.

**** – (): 02:24.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay, okay.

**** – (): 02:32.10

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): This the swing shift the graveyard shift and I figured if they can get up and do this and come into a hospital and care for acutely ill patients I think I can get up at and go migrate a few feet to because my studio is in my house I have a um.

**** – (): 02:46.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): In my house home studio. Yeah yeah.

**** – (): 02:51.20

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): That is that is helpful if you can work in your home and I just go a few feet next door and get to work. Um, and it’s it’s my protected time to actually focus. Um, and I do really want to work every day to keep the conversation going with my practice so that is why I do that.

**** – (): 03:10.74

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wonderful and when did you so like when did you start doing this How long has it been for you.

**** – (): 03:16.69

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I would say I’ve been doing this for more than a decade.

**** – (): 03:22.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): My card so for almost a decade you have been working at 2 to 6 in the studio hi. It’s um, very amazing.

**** – (): 03:27.13

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah, yeah, and it’s been really good and and you know with with pen with the pandemic I I You know there is more of an opportunity for remote work so that has also worked well for me.

**** – (): 03:40.79

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow and tell me something and then when do you go to your day job. What does that look like for you.

**** – (): 03:47.44

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Um, so I my day job is 8 to 5 so I have an mfa in art. But I also have an Mba in finance and I do finance during the day and I do ah hr and you know you’re sort of I work at a university um.

**** – (): 03:52.87

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Okay.

**** – (): 04:02.00

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): In a community based organization and I support their efforts you know I do contracting and you know good old bread and butter kind of stuff like budgets and things like that.

**** – (): 04:11.41

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): But that is interesting I think um, this is this is such a nice combination of you. You know once you have I think a lot of artists and people who either have come from mat at schools and people who didn’t come from art school I Think. This is too contrast a lot of people who came from art school. They felt like they came with the skill set but a lot of time they didn’t come from ah the business side. They didn’t know how to navigate the career. They knew how to make art but they didn’t know how the skills that it required to navigate a career. Versus a lot of artists who feel like they have figured out how to navigate a good career but they struggle with taking their art. You know, conceptually and technically and skillfully to the next level. So I think like this is a very wholesome combination for you isn’t it.

**** – (): 05:03.18

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I mean I think so I think a lot of people would think it odd but it comes it draws really from the feminist perspective of having a room of one’s own of being able to make your money. Um for me as a young woman. It was really important to earn a living.

**** – (): 05:11.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 05:19.28

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Absolutely.

**** – (): 05:21.10

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Because I felt that that it demonstrates you know your ability to kind of own your own methods of production and to be able to pay for your stuff and one of the ways you know I had a mentor in business years ago she had been a bonds broker on wall street.

**** – (): 05:25.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): From it. Yes.

**** – (): 05:40.30

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): And I just remember that she was like look you’re not stupid. You can learn math. You can learn finance because I had a lot of stuff in my head about what women did or didn’t do and so that was kind of the pathway now it I ultimately didn’t want to make my whole life about finance.

**** – (): 05:48.19

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Mind.

**** – (): 05:55.76

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): About it.

**** – (): 05:59.48

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Ah, but it was a good foundation for me to actually grow confidence.

**** – (): 06:02.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, Holly there’s a lot of you Mike I think can you take your while on the back. Yeah, and let’s see because I think I it’s it’s a lot of noise now.

**** – (): 06:17.17

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Is it? Oh okay so I should just go like this will that work or.

**** – (): 06:18.71

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And you’re moving I think it’s moving.

**** – (): 06:25.72

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, this looks better. Yeah, this sounds but otherwise there’s a lot of disturbance. Yeah, okay, so yeah I think that’s very true. Um, and but okay, tell me something why Don sorry.

**** – (): 06:27.21

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Ok, ok.

**** – (): 06:38.96

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I Can’t oops.

**** – (): 06:43.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, so tell me something while you were young. Um, we all have these notions that we either pick up from our surroundings for people. You know we see people how things are done I remember I did not come from now at school and. d run a business I had been working in business and I’m doing that the same thing to do. But I think very different approaches I’m being more comfortable with who I am now. But at that point when I wanted to enter into the arts. um in the beginning I felt like um I remember so I come from a design school I didn’t come from an art school. Always um, ah I’d always been creating so I remember people where I used to work and it was like a co-working setup and I’ve shared this story a million times on the podcast and they would tell me oh you so they wouldn’t so they would okay so this is an illustrator and this is um. This is a designer. This is a this and this is a fine artist so I always felt this um bottled in a bottle that I didn’t want to be so I kept on this fight. Okay, maybe if I do not do enough of this if my work does not look enough figurative if my work does not look enough. Illustrative. So maybe I’ll I’ll feel like an artist like you know and it it sounds so bizarre now to myself even when I say this but to be honest, that was what I felt at that point and um, that is what people around me were also you know, um, these boxes were being put like oh you.

**** – (): 08:14.95

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh This is a commercial artist so this is sellout artist so this is so ah, a very typical idea was like what’s been sold for so many years is ah a real artist, a successful artist someone who’s sitting quietly in the studio. Um, who’s not active on social media or who like everything comes to their door and like. So you know it pulls us you know this this whole facade that’s been built for years. But once we’re naive and Young. We often a lot of us buy into it and then we figure us are like it’s every layer drops down what was it for. For you while you were young and like you know, figuring your path and decided. Okay, this is what you want to do.

**** – (): 08:55.28

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): So I think that that’s a really great distinction because I you know like a lot of kids I like to draw I did go to ah you know I went to a bfa and Mfa and it was certainly drawing based at least initially. However, I studied new genres at the San Francisco Art Institute which was very much about interdisciplinary practice which included video and performance and more conceptual bases of sculpture. However, what it did not include was fiber art.

**** – (): 09:28.76

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 09:30.29

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): In any significant way back then and fiber art has always been very much. You know if you did fiber art. There was this sort of notion that you were a craftsman and for me I don’t you know. I’ve done both and I continue to make both paintings drawings and fiber installations and I don’t see it as Well. This is fiber and this is fine art because I think we really damage our own creative process when we see these.

**** – (): 09:53.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, asthma. Yeah.

**** – (): 10:01.78

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Sort of fake distinctions and some of this is a very gendered response to things that Well if you’re working with fabric. That’s craft. That’s a very sort of like you know.

**** – (): 10:02.37

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 10:09.93

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Absolutely I felt this my mom because I come from so I did I started fashion design and I had always wanted to be a fashion designer and you know growing up I grew up in India so I grew grew up a lot you know around a lot of. Culture in the sense of textiles and fabrics and like you know they were very much they were like a very natural instinct for me and when I started to get into it and I’d always been doing it and and always enjoyed but the moment I felt I wanted i. I wanted to become an artist because I wanted to feel creatively more expanded more free more liberated but when I actually started went onto that path I realized that it isn’t um.

**** – (): 11:00.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): It’s it’s it’s capping me so much that I started becoming conscious of who I was so I want like you know,? Okay, fine if painting is more of an art versus oh this is craft because um, my inclination was always towards um, fabrics and textiles and embroideries and. That was crafty and crafty means um you know in our culture women Sow and men become athletic. It’s like a very gender norm kind of a thing so you know how we confuse ourselves with these things and we want to fit in those I think consciously we also want to fit on those boxes. Define us and it is not ah often the box is coming to us. It is us going to that boxes. Okay I Want to fall into this box of being an artist. Let me check what it needs and let me take those off.

**** – (): 11:49.42

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah I definitely resonate with that I think that you know I was definitely set up to follow sort of the white male conceptual artist. Sculptor blah blah blah and and then I found as I look deeper I found this whole alternative history of art making of second wave feminism and a lot of women that were working extensively in textiles and of course a lot of indian. Ah, women artists now in contemporary art are completely knocking it out of the park. Um, and are are a huge presence certainly in the contemporary american art world. So there is an alternative history that is flowing in and it’s ah it’s an amazing time to be a woman artist.

**** – (): 12:21.77

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes. No.

**** – (): 12:37.61

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Um, so to me, it’s It’s one of the best times now I know there’s a lot of barriers that we can talk about in terms of trying to get your work out there and there are a lot of people working in this space. But it’s also a great time to bring everything in everything that you are creativityly.

**** – (): 12:37.85

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Ah I agree. So.

**** – (): 12:50.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, blurring blurring those boundaries no longer having the definition of what is art. What is not how you can fit In. You can truly be yourself and um project and you know create what’s calling for you and I think it’s. Ah, far more fluid than it ever was so tell me something what what was the mindset and how were you did you always want to become an artist while you were you while growing up were you exposed to the arts.

**** – (): 13:12.34

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Absolutely, It’s a great time.

**** – (): 13:29.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): How had like all of this manifested for you.

**** – (): 13:33.75

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Well I think like a lot of people that start out in the arts. There’s usually some relative in the family that you know painted or Drew um, my mother’s father and her brother were both artistic, um, none of them. Well, her brother was a commercial artist and her. Her father was he worked for a railroad but he painted and drew on the side and um, you know from that basis I did end up. You know, studying art at an early age went to art school but when I got out of art school with my Mfa of course I was like. Okay, so does that mean that I like work as a barista for the rest of my life like how am I going to swing this because I started to think about as a woman you’ve got to be thinking about building wealth. You know, investing in yourself and.

**** – (): 14:16.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 14:22.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, having yeah.

**** – (): 14:25.60

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): You know the miracle of compound interest and all you know I was starting to think about those sorts you need to start investing in yourself early on to try to build a life and it was something that. I Don’t know that everybody was thinking about at the time you know, but I was thinking about it because I grew up really pretty poor and I didn’t want to go back. There. You know so I went right into the workforce but I was always making my work you know and I was showing my work.

**** – (): 14:47.58

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Go by? yeah.

**** – (): 14:57.29

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, it didn’t mean this or that it meant I think that is another notion and a myth I feel like a lot of us need to more and more talk about is that and I keep I keep telling this to myself Also like there are seasons I’ve seen in my own work. Um I play so many roles.

**** – (): 15:00.26

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): No.

**** – (): 15:14.81

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And apart from our professional role. Also I feel like we play so many roles we have a family we have friends and then we have you know you want to travel and I feel like being an artist does not mean like I feel like a lot of my art extends beyond my studio. How I live my life How because it’s a lot about me being a woman in my culture and like you know, seeing that juxtaposition my culture. How I talk how other women talk What am I feeling and how the society make like all of that and even if it didn’t have to we all have a life that always inspires us. You know it. It truly gives us experience that we can document and we can get inspired by but we need to have a life in a way that accommodates all of that that is an extension all of that and it cannot be that you know we will only be a good artist that okay if I’m covering these hours in the studio if I’m doing this or even if I’m having. Number of shows and like all of those things and I feel like a lot of times we have this notion that we have to like have this one career goal. Um, and I don’t say that this wouldn’t be like you know it. It works for a lot of people and they are hyperfocused. But for someone like me I need a lot more in my life than just one thing because I like to create in multiple formats and I can’t be like I can’t force myself into thinking. Okay now I’m a painter I will get up every day and I will paint and I get up tomorrow and I see a yeah piece of fabric and I’m like how do I use this or if I see something and I’m like.

**** – (): 16:48.76

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): What can I do about this I behave like that and in my own experience I figured like you know it’s like it’s like seasons. It’s like phases like some days my job takes over what I’m doing the podcast um the work. Some other projects they take over and the time crunch forward. Let’s say my art is a slightly crunch here or I’m making it in a different way. Sometimes my studio space and my studio time takes so much over that everything else mellow down and sometimes when life happens I lost my mom sometimes somebody has. Like somebody’s getting married someone has a child like there’s so many life things that that gives us time to okay now your creativity is in your mind think with your mind and like you know I don’t know but I think we constantly value a lot of our worth with how much in real Time. We are creating when what from what we expect unless we’re not making these large scale paintings and doing the installations and doing this. We’re not doing good enough. What do you think.

**** – (): 17:51.97

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah I think it’s a real problem that’s sort of either or thinking and I’m sorry for your loss by the way. Um it. It is the it is that sort of either or thinking I mean I’m either a mother. Or I work in an office or I I’m an artist and I do nothing else but make this artwork and this is and really especially for women that’s generally never something we can swing because we are often caregivers.

**** – (): 18:10.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um.

**** – (): 18:14.54

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, it’s nabo. Yeah.

**** – (): 18:26.20

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Whether we’re caregiving for our children for older parents. Um there. There’s a way in which women in particular are socialized to care for others and so this sort of independent Genius in the garret. You know who every you know everybody.

**** – (): 18:29.83

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Pageants.

**** – (): 18:34.75

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 18:46.38

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Champions that person that generally often is not our experience. We are spinning a lot of plates and in the air. But I do think it’s a strength and I think if we can learn to build on that strength and to celebrate that we are diverse. Um.

**** – (): 18:47.98

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 19:00.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 19:02.98

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): That we learn in different ways that we succeed in different ways and stop seeing that as a deficit. Um I think that for me was where my life really shifted I stopped seeing.

**** – (): 19:08.11

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 19:15.82

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): The fact that my background was not a straight line I didn’t just go from Mfa to a teaching job to doing residencies all the time. No, that wasn’t my experience. You know I worked a good solid 25 years in an office you know? and yeah and it it may I meant that i’m.

**** – (): 19:24.74

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 19:28.74

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And you wear it like a bat which is amazing.

**** – (): 19:35.11

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Fast I can multitask I can I’m good with technology Reasonably so anyways and there’s those are gifts and I’ve stopped looking at that as like wasting your life. No, you just had an alternative path.

**** – (): 19:35.20

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 19:41.77

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, absolutely.

**** – (): 19:50.83

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): You know and I think it’s it’s owning your choices. That’s what really releases a creative power is owning your choices and not being ashamed of them.

**** – (): 19:58.41

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I Love that I Love every bit of what you said and you know I think this is a narrative that we need to switch on for your ourselves. A lot of times. Do you feel like there was a particular moment in your own life that you know were you always as clear as driven. But I’m I’m sure which might not be you know. Most of the cases because we all have our own confusions and you know, but there are experiences and times we feel like okay, something’s happened. There’s a shift I can feel in myself. Ah a shift that brought this to life. Do you think there is something that you can. Point point 2.

**** – (): 20:38.39

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah I mean I got my mf on my Mba in finance in 2011? Um, and I had taken some pretty high level jobs at the university managing really really large budgets and I so I got to a point where I was like you know. I don’t really want to work ten or twelve hours a day on this job. I mean it just you know you kind of push yourself to a point where you realize that actually isn’t what I want to be I mean that’s a path and some people do really well in these very very large jobs.

**** – (): 21:08.32

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, um.

**** – (): 21:13.27

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Um, it turned out I wanted to have a little bit more of a normal job. A normal 40 hour job and make my art and see where that was going to lead me and once I let I followed my artistic path it led it led me in a really really nurturing place. Um, I’m a few years away from retirement from my day job and I feel like I’m in a really good spot where I’ve got a lot of studio activity going I’ve got some good shows coming up and I feel like i’ve.

**** – (): 21:32.70

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Oh wow.

**** – (): 21:48.10

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I Found my balance. It took me a long time and I think I had to push myself all the way in the opposite direction to realize that’s not actually who I want to be I really need to be an artist and.

**** – (): 21:58.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And what do you think was the element that was causing this thisalance. Do you think that while you were having the hard days the unrest. What was that that was what what switched what change? What? what did you figure out.

**** – (): 22:08.22

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Ahma.

**** – (): 22:18.53

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): That brought more balance to your life.

**** – (): 22:19.20

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I think you know I had pushed myself so hard. You know we were you know as a very I was man I was overseeing like millions of dollars and I was just like I don’t there’s decisions you have to make at that level. That can make you really uncomfortable and that’s part of significant business roles and everybody you know has been in the business world knows you have to make hard decisions about people about resources and I didn’t like who that was for me.

**** – (): 22:37.49

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah decision.

**** – (): 22:51.44

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And.

**** – (): 22:53.70

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): And you know I I did develop an eating disorder I became anorexic in my early 40 s and um, typically this is a diagnosis that occurs with younger women. But um I found that I was not eating and was losing.

**** – (): 23:02.86

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): And okay.

**** – (): 23:10.99

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): More and more weight and I finally got a diagnosis of Anorexia and realized that you know that one of the anorexia is one of those mental illnesses that if you don’t address it. You can die and um I.

**** – (): 23:21.99

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, no.

**** – (): 23:26.80

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): It was a great teacher for me and I think that really shifted me that I needed to live my life in a way that was my own I had established financial Stability I’d established a future and I’d done that but I didn’t need to.

**** – (): 23:33.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Hello.

**** – (): 23:42.59

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): You kind of have to know? Yeah, you don’t you need to know when you can. It’s okay to turn around now and kind of live your path I was I was say I was about I’m 51 now I was about 43 when I kind of was like you know what? I think I need to turn this ship around.

**** – (): 23:42.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, keep on going turn. Ah yeah, when was this when was.

**** – (): 24:02.54

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): And the thing is you can always choose choose something different and I think a lot of a lot of people and women in particular think Well I’m on this path. This is what I have to do for the rest of my life and it’s like not really, you get to choose.

**** – (): 24:15.74

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Now No and you you are feed do jews.

**** – (): 24:21.54

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): But yeah I’m free to choose and it doesn’t mean that I ran off into the forest and decided to live on you know, twigs and berries I continue to work to support. You know a job that’s much more livable for me so that I can have a creative life.

**** – (): 24:28.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, just a different job. Yeah, what was happening while you had the other job. How were you balancing your creative inergies and your creative aspirations.

**** – (): 24:46.20

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I sit.

**** – (): 24:47.77

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Let’s say someone who’s listening to this episode. Maybe they are at a room very where you are where they want to and they have a job but or a life a lot of times I feel like Mothers caregivers even though they are not like um like I think with jobs we still have an option if. You know we can figure a financial way out and all of that but a lot of times life happens and we’re not able to deal with it and we’re not able to find that balance. Um, how were you dealing it with that at that point how were you making it work.

**** – (): 25:20.71

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I Think that number one I did get I did get some therapy and I think anybody that is struggling with some major life stuff. You know, talking to a well-trained capable Mental Health provider is really Helpful. Um. I Think that you know that was really important um to sort of you know we did a course of cognitive Behavioral therapy which really emphasizes I mean I’m no expert but it’s really about how you think impacts your actions not the other way around because a lot of people think. I I feel this way because you know you know and it’s actually a lot of it is I’m thinking myself into this kind of sort of emotional space and so I had to retrain the way I was thinking so Therapy was really important I Also think setting boundaries.

**** – (): 26:00.50

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um I was doing that.

**** – (): 26:08.47

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Night.

**** – (): 26:17.60

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Setting a schedule for what was going to be my day. So ah, if so initially I didn’t have all this time in the studio because I did have this really big job. So I started small and I said all right? you know today I’m going to do an hour of artwork I’m going to get up a little early and I’m going to do that.

**** – (): 26:19.79

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 26:27.38

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 26:35.46

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): And then I’m going to commit that I’m going to have at least 20 minutes of exercise. Um, so that I like am not completely like just dilapidated you do you know as you get older. You definitely need to exercise because you do get creaky but I say so start small.

**** – (): 26:44.42

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes. Yeah, yeah.

**** – (): 26:54.34

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): If you can only do studio practice for 15 to 20 minutes a day do that? Um, but commit to that and feel good about that. You did that and I actually used to keep a little log and I’d write down my studio activity every day so I could look back on the week and see.

**** – (): 27:00.69

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 27:08.27

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow and see what you did.

**** – (): 27:13.84

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I did 28 minutes on Monday I did 20 minutes on Thursday on the weekend I did an hour on Saturday and Sunday you know so I could see that I was making progress because it’s important to look back and say oh here’s where I was and here’s where I’m I’m coming. You’ve got to see your progress. Don’t measure it towards anybody else, but yourself that’s the real thing. Oh I’m not in I’m not in the studio 35 hours a week. So what it doesn’t matter measure yourself against your own progress. That’s the goal.

**** – (): 27:37.78

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Nala.

**** – (): 27:47.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Prat Yeah, and that is some really incredible experiences I have something another something that I also read while I was reading my intos and of course really resonated with me because I think we have a similar experience. Ah. You shared about um in your own Practice. You also shared about um how passing away of your mother had been a huge part of you growing up and you’re seeing um you know the domestic life the quils and how she was the scene Steams. Ah.

**** – (): 28:23.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Seam stresses and and then there was a particular line which really opened things up for me was I think you said something around once you have regret and once you overcome that guilt and regret a lot of things unpack and a lot of momentum. Can you talk a little bit about how has why a this experience has so much impact on you and your work and how are you because it’s a lot of is surrounded how you are processing your um how you’re processing your art. Why are these emotions and I feel like for me. Also. My art shifted drastically my whole perspective shifted drastically after losing my mom um I think for the first year I just couldn’t understand if any bit of it and and because I I just think I wasn’t. I I was nowhere around even trying to heal and then once I started my path on I think coming to turns. Yeah I think your body takes a shock and then you start to your body starts to come to terms and then you realize okay this is what’s happening this is and then I started building association in my own practice and I started. And today my work looks very different. It has a very different vision. It has a very different purpose and a lot of it has to do with her and I feel like that’s ah, that’s something I read about your own experience. So I want to know about um.

**** – (): 29:56.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): How has it been for you How you how is healing and trauma integrated into your work and your own personal experience and how do you transpire it into your work.

**** – (): 30:09.21

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Well so because my mother had suffered domestic violence and then died of alcoholism when I was 15 I spent a lot of years being really angry about that. Um, and you know not.

**** – (): 30:17.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Angry. Yeah I can get that.

**** – (): 30:24.32

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): You know feeling very very unsettled about it feeling. Um that the justice system had not protected her um you know and I think the law is certainly in the United States

**** – (): 30:33.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Kingam.

**** – (): 30:38.39

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Ah, in the early 1970 s did not really recognize or understand the need for women to have a shelter and a safe space. Um, and you know so a lot of those things changed over time. Um in the US um

**** – (): 30:42.39

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Me.

**** – (): 30:48.99

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, and yeah.

**** – (): 30:53.34

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 30:57.70

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): But I think that um it as a younger woman a lot of my work was about reprocessing trauma and I did a fairly I did a lot of political work thinking about how rape is used as a tool of genocide and War. Um. I Thought about women in a sort of more geopolitical way. Um, a lot of it was sort of very outside myself because to actually go deep into what I was you know, sort of a lot of the things that had occurred it was hard for me to process that directly. Um, and you know I did spend a lot of years you know trying to live the life of having a day job and and also my work not being particularly focused yet because it was about domestic Violence. It was about misogyny in a lot of ways but it wasn’t.

**** – (): 31:42.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Now.

**** – (): 31:51.39

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I wasn’t getting clearer in terms of my own sort of healing because my healing wasn’t there yet I don’t think my work really came into its own until I kind of was able to heal myself.

**** – (): 31:55.98

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Now.

**** – (): 32:02.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Accept I think I think something that people really don’t talk about often about death is of course there’s grief and I never understood. But there’s so much anger. There’s so much anger that one like even today it’s going to be over two and a half years

**** – (): 32:10.20

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 32:21.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yours of my mom’s passing and I feel like there are so many moments of Anger Anger towards the person that you lost anger towards ah people who’ve never experienced those not lost I Honestly. Ah and anger to yourself and anger on time and there’s like.. There’s so much anger that sometimes you just um, you just don’t know that What do you do with it and you have to at some point you have to accept that anger and you know that I keep like even when I write in my own Journal.. There’s so many times that I I see that you know what I will always be Angry. You know that you left. And that you left so early and that but I will have to be okay that I will be angry for this and I understand even then but there’s also going to be this disappoint but I think there’s there comes the stage that that you understand Okay, you know this is going to be a reality that you can be angry and then then you can heal. That it is again, not this or that that there can be a void but you can continually try to heal that void. Also.

**** – (): 33:26.18

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah, and I think that you know as you say getting comfortable with you know your feelings I mean another thing that’s really important is being part of a community whether you’re in some sort of 12 step program or a support group.

**** – (): 33:36.28

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 33:42.66

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Um, or other people in in your you know, religious organization. Um finding support with other people that have been either have experienced what you’ve experienced or have some similar journey that you can help talk through these things because I don’t think that I got. Kind of clear about my life and was able to move on until I had sort of you know you don’t just jump from point a to point Z you got to go through all that stuff along the way I had to make a lot of really not great artwork. But.

**** – (): 34:07.61

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): You find me? yeah.

**** – (): 34:16.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I knew.

**** – (): 34:19.80

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Um, and really sort of struggle along until I got to a place where I was kind of comfortable with myself and could make my work and feel sort of situated myself and get more confidence in my materials and more clarity but I had to go through all those feelings along the way. And you know some art is made in a state of rage and is amazing. I mean I think of the painter soutini. You know, amazing. A lot of the abstract expressionists I mean there is an important place for rage in art. Um, ah.

**** – (): 34:41.57

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 34:53.23

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yam.

**** – (): 34:54.90

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): For me I think my best work came from a place where I was able to Channel Channel and into mending which is why I started to work with fiber.

**** – (): 35:04.30

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, can you talk a little bit about that. Also something that you also specifically do is that you were a person of many medias and I also read like how um how you respond to different materials and I think we also share a similar love for. Textiles and you do fiber art but a I want to ask you a first which is a little off the topic but I still want to take that liberty is did you ever feel that you were doing because I think another inhib innovation that artists have like am I to dipping my hands in too many things am I trying to do too much. Um, should I be focusing on 1 or 2 or whatever that is or did you have those fears and then how has your own work evolved into this. You know these beautiful installations today then you do these beautifully layered um paperworks and then. These textures and these organic shapes and you know it looks very unified like even though there are several different mediums. They look very cohesive in the sense of I think sense of feeling I think they all have a very similar feeling that I can see when I’m looking at your work.

**** – (): 36:19.85

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Well, that’s great to hear I would say that I only discovered maybe about six months ago um that um and I’ll tell you how that happened and this is actually really true. Um. When an artist gets an opportunity to show in a solo show which was a show that I had at Colorado State University At Fort Collins the kfman gallery I I was like I’m only going to show fiber work or I’m only going to show work on panel and I was like why that is not.

**** – (): 36:34.48

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 36:50.51

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I made both in the last three years and I was like well I you know when you do a solo show. You’re like oh god how am I gonna have enough work to fill all this you know you like you do that thing and then you’re like well that means that it’s got to be all in you’ve got to put.

**** – (): 36:59.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 37:08.37

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Everything that is a part of who you are So I put my suspended drawing installations in the gallery with my led lit fiber work that I was doing at the time plus my drawings my works on paper and it looked really amazing and I.

**** – (): 37:17.89

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah. I Totally did.

**** – (): 37:27.70

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I was like actually that is the point I’m not just a fiber artist I’m not just a painter I’m all those things and it’s not. It’s no problem if you are singularly a painter or singularly a fiber artist. That’s it’s not like 1 ne’s better and the other as long as it’s true to you. It’s just that.

**** – (): 37:38.49

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, as long as it’s true to you.

**** – (): 37:47.22

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): You know I’m kind of one of those women that I go in the kitchen I’m like well you know I think I’m going to make a batch of cookies and maybe I’ll throw a casserole in the oven and maybe I’ll do this and that no I got to work on that spreadsheet and I got a call so that’s how I am.

**** – (): 38:02.12

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I resonate with that as.

**** – (): 38:04.17

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): That’s how I think a lot of us are you know and that’s how I am in the studio I’m not I’m not just 1 thing and I embrace that now instead of trying to hide from that.

**** – (): 38:12.66

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Fight it? yeah yeah I love that and can you talk a little bit about your work on how has that I think I want to talk about 2 things. You’ve also spoken about your material a little bit with 2 ah 2 things. A conceptually I think something that I am learning now is we you know this this really where I think there’s good things about certain things. There are also cons that come with it I think. We are typically so much strained. Okay, what is my artist date when what is this? What is that what is my work about what is my work about and then we feel like okay this is my work. This is what my work is about and this is why I’m going to be for you know the rest of my time and whatever and. There are phases where we feel that confusion and there are faces. There are phases of non clarity and then we feel like you’re either losing it or I’m not yet good enough or haven’t figured it out. But for what I can realize and learn from my own journey has been that my purpose here is to create and I could have. I think for me um, being a woman is my not not star my guiding light not just art but just as ah, anything ask 2 hearts as a woman’s platform. Um I’m very deeply my personal experience and my life is so consumed. That’s a woman’s perspective that that feels like a core.

**** – (): 39:46.60

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): But I’ve also seen these phases where my some major experience like losing my mom or you know, growing up 10 years out and you know or moving to another city or moving to another country and I experienced this whole lot of another world. And it starts to shape me and then it starts to shape my work and then my works get either gets twisted refined evolved whatever that could be so I feel like these are like how we see our work progress. So I want to know about how has your on like how did you find. And how has your work evolved conceptually in the sense of your purpose and then how has your material like how have you pushed that envelope of of finding that creative freedom in when it comes to your own creativity your creative material. You’re getting in the studio and like you know. Like oh now I have to do this? Oh no, but I’m like you know there are things that this conversation that we keep doing okay, you know what my work needs to look like.

**** – (): 40:52.16

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah I think that um there is this notion certainly when you write an artist statement that it’s like well this is what my work is and in fact I have lots of different artist statements and I think you know I think that’s healthy because.

**** – (): 40:59.90

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Is artisted.

**** – (): 41:08.80

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Sometimes I write an artist statement for a series. Um and a lot of times when as when you’re applying to things as an artist. They’ll want an artist statement specific to that series and so I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with the fact that my artist when I write an artist statement.

**** – (): 41:10.55

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 41:25.69

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): That’s true for this set of work at this time and that’s what it’s true for now I do have a more overarching general one that that I try to use that’s on my website and things like that. But I think that you know I.

**** – (): 41:28.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 41:33.79

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah.

**** – (): 41:40.53

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): For a while I did photography and I would take photographs of my installations and that was sort of a part of my practice and um then I was working intensively with political painting and I was doing a lot of almost mural size works on canvas and.

**** – (): 41:57.69

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): So say.

**** – (): 41:59.61

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I Just um I just see it as ah, as ah as an evolution. Um, it’s It’s an artist Statement is just a point in time and I think if you can get comfortable with viewing it as a point in time and that it and you save your versions.

**** – (): 42:05.45

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, I Absolutely yeah.

**** – (): 42:17.70

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): This is a statement with this series I have many versions on my computer and that’s okay, it should change over time if you are evolving.

**** – (): 42:24.15

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I for me I feel like it’s like um I see I personally see it as a puzzle we at arts towars. We also do a service of writing peoples artist statement and I myself you know do a lot of lighting. And I whenever we even do these consultation sessions and I’m like okay this is what you’ve told me but you know what when I heard this this is what I can also see or could this also mean this could I also like I’m I feel like for even with my work I I mean I painted something yesterday and I I shared it with my colleague and i. Kind of my work just you know, just sharing it with someone that you feel safe and comfortable with and I and while it was just a morning sketch and something and I was like you know what? Um, even though this then this wasn’t like something I was doing like you know like a serious work or something. But just this deep just this morning little work gave me so much of clarity of what is going within me and there’s another part and I found I feel like I feel my purpose of what I’m doing I feel so much more aligned and I feel like I need to add this into my statement I need to add this to my story like it’s like. I’m unpeeling these layers and then back adding them back and like becoming this flower. Whatever we are and like you know it’s it’s like this and like oh my god this is why I do. Okay this is why I was interested. This is why I think this is why it’s happening so like I think it.

**** – (): 43:55.44

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): It’s exciting. But there’s also this for so long I felt a huge unressed because I didn’t have that answer and I felt like I don’t know what I’m doing I don’t know where it’s going to take me I’m just wasting my time am I trying to think too much but when I found it I was like oh my God. This is it.

**** – (): 44:16.78

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah, definitely I think that that um there it is a journey your artist statement in writing actually is a really important part about being an artist is writing to get that clarity now I’m I think.

**** – (): 44:27.94

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes.

**** – (): 44:31.78

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I And every other artist probably listening to this is just like oh my God The artist statement. Ah, you know it’s like they we hate it. You know we totally hate it because you’re trying to create you’re trying to put in writing something that’s visual.

**** – (): 44:34.62

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes, we all ated. Yeah.

**** – (): 44:46.40

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Um, but I do think that there’s a way in which when you write an artist statement and you start out with what is it? What does it? do why? Why does it Matter. You know all of those kinds of questions. It’s critical to ask yourself and to ask yourself over and over what cultural space does this exist in who is this for what is my audience and you know it’s it’s it changes over time.

**** – (): 45:03.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, and I think something I and that is I think one of the reasons we started. Putting out the ah you know these services at Arts to Arts was because even as an artist even though I do this for other artists. A lot of times we as a team do this I struggle a lot when it comes to my own self because I feel like a lot of times as an artist.. There’s so many layers of who we are and. It is very hard for so for us to sometimes see ourselves objectively and I really truly enjoy my sessions with artist statement sessions because the questions we ask. It’s like a brainstorming and I’m like okay tell me something when you’re saying. This word. Do You think you’re saying this because other people you want other people to read it or you want you saying this because it resonates with you and more than often. It doesn’t resonate with them. It’s because you know they feel like okay I have to put a fancy word or I have to look like a certain way and a lot of time. It’s about.

**** – (): 46:00.55

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Right? right.

**** – (): 46:10.71

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Who you are then what other people want you to be and it’s like such a such a fun session because I get to be the third person and I’m looking at that person and their story in that art and it’s like okay we are having this conversation and I’m asking them this questions and they are it. So it’s like it’s like you are here and I think. That is why a lot of us as artists struggle with our own statements is because we are not able to see ourselves with third perspective. We’re always within the waters instead of outside of the waters and doing that movement. So I think yeah I mean um, but I think core of anything and everything like of. How we’re thinking like how we are responding to ourselves and are we are we ready to unpeel that layer. Okay I can put myself out there. It does not matter what people would think of me of what my work would be taking or what would happen out of as long as it is me. it counts and it matters okay 1 take sorry, go ahead. Go no no, you were saying something.

**** – (): 47:06.20

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Absolutely yeah, yeah I mean I think getting clearing. Yeah, no go ahead? Well I think the other thing to that in writing an artist statement is I will read my artist statement and people will say I understand that’s. What motivates your work but that isn’t actually how your work is experienced by the viewer. So Sometimes when we write our art of statement. What you think the work is doing actually read it to a friend or for example or the services that you provide.

**** – (): 47:30.00

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): He.

**** – (): 47:38.49

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes.

**** – (): 47:43.73

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Because your work actually might be doing something different than what you see it is and that’s that’s the moment. That’s that’s the the teaching.

**** – (): 47:46.59

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, um, yeah, yeah, yeah, and I think a lot of times I think as a practice of our ourselves as artists I think personally for myself I feel like.

**** – (): 48:01.85

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): The more I am and and I’m sure I’m going to ask this question to you because you’re way way more experienced and um, you’ve experienced life more than me but I feel like as we’re growing old as our work is growing older with us the process has become about. Actually going back to where we came from in my own journey I’ve realized while I was very young and I was you know, um I would spend a lot of my time around the same things in the same way that I’m doing today. But um I left all of those things I left my affinity towards these feminine objects. You know my culture and art because I didn’t feel I loved it. But I knew that that is what wasn’t expected out of me that wasn’t what people expected what a good good student good woman good successful career, successful person. So I became we ah, we become what people are expected out and you know society around us and the moment we start to find a voice back the journey of unlearing ourselves to from where we came I think. At least I feel like I feel I am on that path like every day I’m shedding a le and only finding one that I came from that feels very you know home to me. So what does that feel to you after 50 years

**** – (): 49:30.85

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): After so many years of making also.

**** – (): 49:31.55

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yeah I definitely think that you know as you age you get a lot more comfortable with where you are and that is you know at at. Aging I think women are often viewed as oh aging. It’s a terrible thing and actually I think it’s the best time and a lot of women actually bloom artistically in their 40 s and 50 s because they kind of they kind of had to go through the 20 s and 30 s of living their life for somebody else.

**** – (): 49:54.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Wow.

**** – (): 50:03.11

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Mean that’s kind of and that’s true for a lot of women artists is like you had to do the thing with the family you had to take care of the kid you had to do all the things to take care of everybody else and it’s like okay you know and I think younger women coming up I.

**** – (): 50:03.28

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, um, yeah, yeah, give so much.

**** – (): 50:20.70

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I You know I don’t think Mim You know we are a reflection of our culture. We are a reflection of where we live our religions. What? what? our values are so some of us may still feel obligated that we have to put everybody in front of ourselves. Um, but it’s kind of like ok. Took care of that now I need to focus on who am I and I think that’s why you see a lot of women’s art kind of bloom later but it does Bloom We do Bloom we do evolve and it’s not too late.

**** – (): 50:43.14

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 50:49.64

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): yeah yeah yeah I love that it’s never too late I think it’s never too late. Okay, 1 last question before I let you go.

**** – (): 50:58.93

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): It really isn’t.

**** – (): 51:06.84

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Anyone who’s listening to this episode right now I think a lot of us. Um, as women I think specifically a lot of most of our listeners are women um a lot of us I think we so we get caught up in this storm of. And I think a lot of times I think this is also a storm that is of today where we want to? um, be everything and be ourselves and we feel stuck and we feel overwhelmed and there is a lot of self-depreciation and like you know where we feel we are not doing enough. Um. Or feeling stuck in a moment and finding ourselves in a dark spot. How what is your advice for them to you know how can they navigate themselves would it be it as their own identity as a woman or their roles as artist.

**** – (): 52:01.33

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): I Think it’s really I I think what I did is I talked you know I sort of alluded to the fact that I did see a therapist to get clear about what I wanted to prioritize in my life Now you don’t have to see you know some folks are not into going to therapy. But.

**** – (): 52:03.40

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): What is your advice.

**** – (): 52:20.91

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Seeing ah talking to a trusted friend or talking to ah somebody in your religious circle or in a support group talking through and writing through what you believe your priorities are right now and what you realistically can do.

**** – (): 52:33.88

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 52:39.85

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Because you for some of us. We’re going to have to for a little while we’re going to have to pick. We can’t do all 20 that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it later. But maybe you set a six month goal that for now I’m going to do 15 minutes of art a day.

**** – (): 52:43.48

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah, at once? yeah.

**** – (): 52:55.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 52:57.51

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Maybe I have to take care of a sick child or a sick parent and I’m going to completely radically accept my life for what it is right now because if you radically accept your life. It opens up a lot of space for you to feel happiness.

**** – (): 53:00.29

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): T.

**** – (): 53:13.80

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Am am I Love that.

**** – (): 53:15.80

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Because you for this six months this is what I’m going to do and I’m going to be happy about it because I’ve chosen this and then you move on and you’re sort of like all right for the next six months maybe I inch up my art making to 2 to 3 hours a week. Maybe I get to that point.

**** – (): 53:32.10

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah.

**** – (): 53:35.50

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): And I’m going to balance it because I’m going to also maybe I’m going to watch it less Netflix or I’m going to be less on social media doom scrolling. You know I’m going to see if there’s other areas in my life where I can be more efficient.

**** – (): 53:48.51

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah I agree. Yeah.

**** – (): 53:53.90

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): So I can really preserve my time for what matters because Netflix is the vortex. Okay.

**** – (): 54:05.37

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): No I think conscious being intentional about and being okay with that intention and knowing that this isn’t I think another thing we ah oftentime thinks that this is a reality and it’s going to be forever and I think we live in a changing reality. Good and bad. Both.

**** – (): 54:18.11

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Absolutely, It’s just set short term goals little goals and achieve them and keep building on that little goals do not set some ridiculous goal and be like all disappointed set a goal that you can you can make.

**** – (): 54:32.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yeah I do Yeah yeah, perfect. Thank you so much Hol it was.

**** – (): 54:36.55

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): And achieve it and feel good about it celebrate it and then take it to the next level baby steps and you will build it. It will work. You just have to build over time.

**** – (): 54:51.10

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Amazing speaking to you and I Thank you so much for your kindness for sharing so honestly and for some and I think truly incredible and honest advices that you shared with us but people who are looking listening to this episode. How can they find you support you look at your work. Um, get in touch if they’d like um, just anything if you have something upcoming, Please take the stage and ah make sure that um we can you know how we can support. You.

**** – (): 55:20.87

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Sure. So ah, my Instagram handle is Holly Wong art it’s all 1 word. No space is hollyw wong art. My website is hollywonngart.com keep it simple and um. So I have a show up right now at ogden contemporary in Utah ah in the United States called emergence um, and that’s up through October fifteenth and that is some large scale fiber installations probably and you’ll see a lot of that on my Instagram account I’m also in a 2 wo-person show at the Maui and.

**** – (): 55:50.16

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Yes.

**** – (): 55:55.33

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Arts and cultural center opening on September Twelfth which will be fiber installations with sound and video as well. So those are some things that are coming up just off the cuff. Um, and i’m. You know I’m excited to you know I hope to see folks on Instagram ah check you know, check me out. Um I’m I’m here to be a part of the community and keep the conversation going.

**** – (): 56:24.67

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): I love them. Yes, and if I think I think specifically particularly for this episode I’m sure there are a lot of great things that be spoken about a lot of great advices. Holy has um holly has you know shared with us. So if there’s something particularly that has resonated with you. You know tag us let us know and know that um you know it mattered and you know he connected and if you have a viewpoint if you have an experience that you’d like to share with us make sure you do and you know let’s keep this conversation going. Thank you so much. Thank you and I hope to see you soon again. Thank you? Yeah yes, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us and everyone who’s joined us for the first time. Thank you so much for.

**** – (): 57:03.27

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Yes, thank you, Thank you I Guess um I are we So we’re done. We’re we’re done recording.

**** – (): 57:16.85

**** – (): charukaarora

**** – (): Listening to the arts 2 hot spot I hope I see you in the next episode. Thank you? But bye no no, no, you’ll have to wait one sec.

**** – (): 57:22.78

**** – (): Holly Wong

**** – (): Goodbye.

About The Guest(s):
Holly Wong is an artist with a background in finance and art. She has a full-time day job in finance and creates artwork during her early morning hours. Holly’s work includes paintings, drawings, and fiber installations. You can find her on Instagram at Holly Wong Art and on her website at hollywongart.com.

Summary:
Holly Wong shares her experience of balancing a full-time job with her passion for art. She discusses the importance of owning your choices and not being ashamed of your unique path. Holly also talks about the evolution of her work and the integration of healing and trauma into her art. She emphasizes the need to set boundaries and create a schedule that allows for regular art-making time. Additionally, Holly highlights the value of writing artist statements as a way to gain clarity and understand your own work. By embracing different mediums and materials, artists can develop a more cohesive and authentic artistic practice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Owning your choices and not being ashamed of your unique path is essential for creative growth.
  • Healing and trauma can be integrated into art, leading to personal growth and clarity.
  • Setting boundaries and creating a schedule for regular art-making time is crucial.
  • Writing artist statements can help gain clarity and understanding of your own work.
  • Embracing different mediums and materials can lead to a more cohesive and authentic artistic practice.

Charuka Arora is the founder of the Arts to Hearts Project and Host of the Arts to Hearts Podcast. She is also an Indian artist whose boundary-redefining contemporary embellished paintings have earned her international recognition. With her unique blend of gouache, collage, embroideries, painting, and drawing, Charuka examines the intersection of art, culture, heritage, and womanhood. She creates art that tells stories of a woman’s strength of soul, encapsulating them in pieces that can be passed down from generation to generation.

 Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

One of her notable works is the ongoing series entitled “Modern Maharani”. These hand-embellished mixed media paintings and collages depict stories of women’s inner strength, inspired by Indian culture, mythology, and their relationship with women. These contemporary tales are deeply rooted in history and display an unexpected satire on patriarchy and misogyny.

Upon closer inspection, the feminine appearance of these works reveals an innovative visual language, using jewelry, human features, and other items of belongingness in a new play with embellishments that redefine the age-old narrative set for women.

Charuka’s work also draws inspiration from Hindu mythology that considers women as vessels of Shakti, identifying them as beings responsible for the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe. Her depiction of Durga Maa riding a tiger or lion indicates that she possesses unlimited power that she uses to protect virtue and destroy evil, symbolizing the idea of a woman’s strength as depicted in religious tales and goddesses.

About Arts to Hearts Project Gallery + Studio

With her artistic creations, Charuka transports us into a woman’s world, offering powerful portrayals of the beauty, strength, and resilience of women. Her work not only displays exceptional artistic talent but also serves as an inspiration and a beacon of hope for women seeking to break out of the constraints imposed by societal norms.

Arts to Hearts Podcast is a show delving into the lives and passions of renowned artists. From running creative businesses and studio art practices to cultivating a successful mindset, Charuka Arora engages in heartfelt conversations with her guests. Experience your personal happy hour with your favorite artists, right in your studio.

Through candid discussions, Charuka and her guests reveal the joys and challenges of a vibrant creative life, both within and beyond our studios. Get ready to be inspired and uplifted as you tune in.

holly wong

Holly Wong (b. 1971, North Miami Beach FLA) creates fiber and drawing-based installations and assemblages that explore exploring grief, mourning and resilience. She was educated at the San Francisco Art Institute where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in New Genres.

Holly has participated in over 80 exhibitions including group shows at the de Young Museum, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and most recently at Ogden Contemporary Arts. A Presidential Scholar in the Arts, she has received grants from the Puffin Foundation, the George Sugarman Foundation, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

She is represented by SLATE Contemporary Gallery in Oakland, CA, ELLIO Fine Art in Houston, TX, and is a member of A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Holly lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

Some Selected Works of Holl Wong

Want to know more about Holly? click on the links below

As I sat down with artist Holly Wong for this episode, I couldn’t help but be captivated by her journey of self-discovery, healing, and artistic growth. In our conversation, Holly shared her personal experiences and insights, shedding light on the struggles artists face in objectively defining their work and creating their own artist statements. One quote that resonated with me was when Holly expressed her enjoyment of artist statement sessions, as they allowed her to ask herself important questions and find her true voice.

As an artist, it can be difficult to escape the pressure of conforming to certain expectations and using grandiose language. However, Holly emphasizes the importance of being true to oneself, regardless of others’ opinions or expectations. One of the key takeaways from our conversation was the need for a third-person perspective in order to see ourselves clearly as artists and create meaningful statements about our work.

Holly highlighted the significance of exploring both the positive and negative aspects of certain themes in her art. She shared her own struggles with defining her artistic statement and feeling confused or unclear about her artistic direction at times. However, Holly’s purpose as an artist remains clear to her – to create, to express herself, and to embrace her identity as a woman, which is a core aspect of her perspective.

Holly’s work is a testament to how major life experiences shape and evolve our art. She expressed curiosity about my own journey, particularly in finding my purpose and how my work has evolved conceptually and materially. Personally, I resonated with Holly’s recent realization that she is not just a fiber artist but also a painter. As we delved deeper, Holly shared her recent solo show at Colorado State University, where she courageously showcased her fiber work, suspended drawing installations, works on paper, and more.

Her multidisciplinary approach, combined with her newfound clarity, made her stand out from the crowd. Holly embraces her multidisciplinary nature and no longer hides or limits herself to a single medium.I found Holly’s perspective on artist statements intriguing. For her, they are like puzzle pieces – each one contributing to the larger picture of her art. She even finds joy in writing artist statements for others, as it allows her to find clarity and purpose in sharing their work with a trusted colleague.

Both Holly and I discovered how major life events, such as losing a loved one, can profoundly impact our art. We shared our experiences of integrating healing and trauma into our work, which resulted in a different vision and purpose for our art. Therapy played a significant role in Holly’s personal growth, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy which helped her retrain her thinking patterns. She also emphasized the importance of setting boundaries, creating a schedule, and starting small with achievable goals in order to maintain productivity.

Through our conversation, Holly revealed the importance of embracing our feelings and emotions and becoming part of a supportive community. She emphasized that the process of personal growth and development is not instantaneous. It requires going through struggles and challenges to reach a place of comfort and clarity. For Holly, her best work came from channeling her emotions into mending instead of rage.

This led her to explore fiber as a means of expression and finding healing. Importantly, Holly sees art not just as work created in the studio but as a reflection of how we live our lives and our personal experiences shaped by society. Holly and I discussed the need for balance in various aspects of our lives and how they impact our creative process. We both agreed that having multiple interests and formats for creating is essential for our artistic fulfillment. We both acknowledged that life events and responsibilities sometimes take precedence over our art, and that’s okay

In our conversation, Holly and I questioned society’s measurement of artist value solely based on productivity and output. We discussed the pressures placed on artists to fit into certain categories and the facade constructed around being a “successful” artist. We believe in the importance of embracing diversity and celebrating different ways of learning and succeeding as strengths

.As our conversation came to a close, I couldn’t help but reflect on the wisdom shared by Holly Wong. Her non-linear artistic journey, including her 25 years of working in an office, proved to be a valuable experience that shaped her creative path. Holly’s journey taught me the importance of owning our choices and not feeling ashamed of them, as it can unleash a creative power within us.

In conclusion, Holly Wong’s insights on healing through art and personal growth offer a valuable perspective for artists. Her journey from confusion and uncertainty to self-realization and purpose serves as an inspiration for artists grappling with their own artistic identities. As artists, we must embrace both the light and the shadows within ourselves, and find comfort and clarity through personal exploration. Through vulnerability, healing, and self-acceptance, we can create art that truly reflects who we are and the impact we want to make in the world.

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