We had the good fortune of connecting with Stevie Chun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stevie, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
There definitely isn’t just one simple answer to what makes me happy. I think happiness is complex and has many layers. One layer of my happiness is knowing that those close to me are doing well and are happy themselves. I struggle to stay happy when those around me are in pain. My art is an outlet for my emotions; when others connect with my work, I feel happiness. Being able to connect with others who I may never have spoken to before, connecting over my work gives me joy and is another layer of being happy.
Also what makes me happy are my animals. I have many animals at home and each one brings happiness. My husband and I have two dogs and a cat. We also have five indoor birds, seven chickens and two koi fish. Having to wake up each day just to care for these animals brings purpose to our lives. Seeing them healthy and happy brings me happiness. These are just a few layers of what makes me happy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Like some artists, I started my creative process not knowing where I was going with it. I was told that finding my style was the most important thing I could do. When I started painting, I was bouncing around styles and ideas. I knew that I wasn’t fond of the idea of portraits. I don’t want to look at people’s features that closely. Besides not wanting to be a portrait artist, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was starting to get discouraged and wondered could I really be an artist or is this just a hopeful wish. I mean, I have always been creative but didn’t see myself as an artist.
After exploring oils and acrylics I decided to try watercolors. I loved how watercolor moved on paper. I loved the unpredictability it had at times. I started purchasing used watercolor books and watching videos. I wanted to learn more about watercolors and decided that I needed to take a class. One of the authors of watercolor books that I was collecting was Claudia Nice. My husband found that Claudia had classes available and also private lessons. This was about seven years ago when I took the first trip up to Oregon to work with her. She really opened the doors for me. She not only continued my love for watercolors but she introduced me to pen and ink drawing using a rapidograph technical pen.
When I came back from this trip, I was excited to continue my exploration. However, I was also still thinking about finding my style. I continued to play around with watercolor as well as pen and ink before landing on my current volume of work. It was around a year or two after my trip to Oregon that I was playing around with the circle shape. I had picked up my rapidograph pen and a stencil full of different circle sizes and started playing. Once I had finished, I had my first black and white circle piece and I was in love. It also made me wonder if there was any meaning behind the circle shape. This is when I found that there are many spiritual and religious meanings that go along with the circle shape.
From there, I continued to explore the circle shape both in pen and ink as well as watercolor. In some of my work I combined pen with watercolor. Now many people that have seen my work call me the dot lady, circle lady, and the happy art lady. Although my inspiration came from Claudia Nice who paints realism, I decided that the circle shape spoke to me. Circles mean life, karma, and also a group of people with shared interests.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend came to visit and hasn’t been to Los Angeles before I would probably explore places that were both new to me and also my go to places. Not only would I explore the city of Los Angeles but the county of Los Angeles. One location that I would take my friend would be the Arts District Co-Op in the city of Los Angeles since I haven’t been there.
My friends know that I love coffee and love exploring mom and pop coffee shops. Since I love to support small businesses, I think we would make a list of some coffee shops to explore and maybe get our day started there. Once we are fueled with coffee, we can then see what else there is to explore.
The Getty Museum is always a great place to take people when they come to visit. I could spend hours there and I think it’s a great place for friends to catch up with each other. Being an artist, I of course would want to stop by a few art supply stores. Sometimes friends can help with new ideas. Los Angeles has a few great art supply stores and I could see buying some new supplies and working on a new piece of artwork with my friend.
Besides seeing art, making art and drinking lots of coffee. I think my friend and I would just explore the great outdoors. There are so many hidden gems to see. Being outside for me is so soothing and relaxing that I find when friends visit this is a way to reconnect with one another and not have the pressure of entertaining.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my husband. He has been there for me from the start. I had a jewelry business when we first got married and did that for about four years or so. I then wanted to explore painting again but as an adult and not a child. When I went to him with the idea of taking a class at a community college, he told me to go for it. I started my painting experience working in oil paints but found this too difficult because we were living in a condo. Although I had spent money on oil paints and supplies, I switched over to acrylics because it was much easier to do with our small space. After doing this for a little while I started to think about watercolors.
I remember always hearing that watercolors were the most difficult medium to work with but that didn’t stop me. I started doing research and playing around. My husband decided to see if there were any watercolor artists that taught. He found that an artist by the name Claudia Nice taught up in Sandy Oregon. This happened to be where my cousin lived; he thought it would be a good getaway for me. I was under stress at work and wasn’t happy so he thought this would allow me to build skills and have something to look forward to. I could not be more thankful for what he did for me. I found Claudia is not only an amazing artist but is also such a kind person. She made me start believing in myself and I continue to learn from her to this day. She is someone who I will admire for a lifetime.