All Great Stories Have a Beginning
My mom is this unbelievably talented artist. She could capture the beauty of people through her drawings, paint vivid scenes without any reference, and turn random scraps into incredible creations. She's a true artist! I was inspired to be just like her. When I asked her to teach me, she handed me a pencil and paper, saying, "a real artist can't be taught." The one tip she gave me was, "see what is really there, not what you think you see." That's when truly seeing transformed every scene in front of my eyes. I drew constantly-mostly during church and school-to beat the boredom. In our family, we had this saying, "Only boring people get bored!" and I was determined not to be one of them!
Before Graphic Design became a common path, I couldn't see how being an artist could be a viable career, so I set that aside and pursued Counseling in college. Right after graduation, I felt a strong calling from God to leave everything behind and move to China. The 7 years I spent in Beijing were incredibly healing for my mind, allowing me to discover beauty in the people and culture. I even bought my first film camera during that time and supported my Chinese studies through freelance mural painting.
Living in Beijing opened my eyes to a world far beyond the small town where I grew up. It was a period of immense growth, challenging my perspectives, faith, and understanding of how God works in the world. Around the 6th year, God guided me back to the US with an unexpected directive: go back to school. It was probably the last thing I wanted to consider at the time, but looking back, it became a pivotal and transformative decision in my journey.
I returned to university to study Graphic Communications. By this point I was already running GNE Photography and taking on small portrait jobs that helped keep me afloat. My style had always been "one & done" when it came to my artwork, because I felt that was the most AUTHENTIC art... sheesh... the arrogance. But, going back to school in your 30's definitely has a way of humbling you. And so revisions and refining became a beautiful and lovely art that I now see as the essence of good design. Yes, an initial design may look great, but there is something about pruning and refining that is more than just a natural part of life. It is in that refining that the unnecessary fluff gets removed and real communication happens. And in design, the real goal is clear visual communication.
In 2022, I took a leap of faith and founded Waterwalker Co., a prophetic clothing brand, after gaining valuable experience through freelance work and various corporate roles. Transitioning from the traditional 9-5 structure, I embraced the opportunity to channel my accumulated knowledge into a venture that reflects my passion.
I still enjoy freelance gigs, keeping my skills sharp. But the best part for me is collaborating with incredible individuals to help bring their dreams to fruition through their businesses and organizations.
So much more can be said, but such shall be stories for another day, stories created through the art of never being bored.