Jerielyn Mao

Born in: 1988, Taipei, Taiwan
Lives in: Los Angeles, United States
Media: Painting, Digital Media, Illustration, Watercolor, Mixed media, Drawing
Describe your work in 3 words: Whimsical, surrealistic, sensuous

Safe Haven Mixed media on paper and digital editing 7.7 x 6.5 in.

Stylistically, Jerielyn enjoys creating both abstract as well as representational works of art, oftentimes synthesizing the two worlds together. Subject-wise, Jerielyn is most interested in evoking the metaphysical, delineating the real within the surreal, and sometimes, revealing beauty within the grotesque.

What themes does your work involve?
My work for the past several years has often involved the theme of flowers. I think flowers to me as well to many others symbolize life, joy, and beauty. The state of a flower also evokes certain emotions.
Describe your creative process.
I keep a notepad of ideas that I would one day life to draw from. Sometimes I get a spark in my mind, and I will begin sketching. There are many times where I perform the act of automatic drawing--simply putting down line or brushwork continuously as if my hand is led by something greater than I am, without having a specific purpose in mind. I've recently come to realize that this is a form of channeling energy. Many pieces have been formed this way, and this is definitely my most preferred way of creating.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Often words influence my work the most. I often jot down quotes and lyrics that either strike a chord with me or inspire me and open me up to greater visions. I make art because the act itself makes me feel alive, and also sharing the byproduct as well as the process with my audience makes me feel more connected to them.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I believe there are various forms of good art. Paintings by Claude Monet as well as Francis Bacon in my eyes are both great art, despite how different they are in numerous ways, especially in their messages and energy. In my eyes, what makes a piece of art great is the enlightenment it awakens within one. Great art transports us to extraordinary worlds and gifts us with renewed mindsets. It depends on which world one wishes to enter into.
What is the role of the artist today?
I'm an artist today because drawing was second nature to me. I've doodled ever since my grandma taught me how to draw shrimps and farmhouses (curious choices) when I was a toddler. I've always felt so protective of my work; I remember getting mad at her when she insisted on seeing a piece I was working on when I felt it wasn't ready to be seen, that it wasn't finished yet. I could not have been older than 3 or 4 years old. I believe the role of the artist today is that of an energy healer merged with a designer's mind. The energy in each piece is significant and affects every person differently. There is also the visual appeal as well as the potential function(s) of a piece of art that could be easily incorporated into one's environments, which serve to beautify our lives.
Jupiter Rising - Mixed media on paper 6 x 7.7 in.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist