Visual Artist, Hands-On Artist, Fashion Designer

Meet Kelly Lu

Kelly Lu (She/Her) is a Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Canadian highschool student going into the 12th grade with admiration for the arts/creative fields. She especially admires those who create concept art and designs for animated films and games. Her first memories of the arts go back to when she was a young child visiting her family in Vietnam; buying her first “sketchbook” (which was really a math notebook) in a department store.

Her love for drawing continued to grow with ...

... her sister, oldest brother, and films such as Coraline as her role models. The arts became her way of free expression and had been something she was “good at”; her talent and interest. As she continued her journey, she found that she would rather pursue the arts as opposed to more traditional paths, in Science or Math for example. She realized this through the fact that anything which was creatively expressive would pique her interest and curiosity.

Some of her favourite projects include ...

... a Black History Club mural (painted on a big canvas) with the theme “Stronger Together” that she painted alongside her friends, and her creative internship/magazine project with the Flaunt It Movement. Kelly specializes in visual and digital art, but is also a fashion designer (making clothes/bags) and hands-on artist (beading, ceramics). Through her art, she wishes to express her talents and inner, complicated emotions that many people might feel in the world aside from herself.

In the future, Kelly strives to run a successful side business making handmade goods (including keychains, earrings, prints, and more) balanced on top of her studies in a creative post-secondary program.

"Walking The Thin Line"

(Originally 9x12 inches - Reprinted as 12x16 inches) Watercolour On Paper

The title of this piece is Walking the Thin Line. Each panel was drawn out on individual sheets of paper and then painted with watercolour. The overall theme of this painting is loving yourself before loving others; however, I wanted to embody the guilt and draining feeling that comes with that phrase. In other words, the focus is on an individual who takes care of everyone so much that it begins to negatively impact them in a way where they don’t have the energy or time to take care of themselves.

Being the person who solves everyone’s problems and the person who is constantly there to give advice and cheer others up can get really draining - especially if you’re not in such a good mindset yourself. This ties into the stigma of someone being selfish even if it’s for their own well-being as opposed to being selfless for others. The telephone poles and the lines/wires can represent the danger of continuously pushing yourself over the limit. You could think of the thin lines that the girl is walking on to be what you’re “supposed to do.” You’re not supposed to be selfish, and if you are, you’re off the line and fall into the water. In the water, all the noise is muffled and time seems to almost go slower.

The water could be interpreted in two different ways depending on your own perspective. The first perspective is viewing the water as freedom. With the calmness of the water and the blocked noise of demands and expectations to help everyone, the guilt fades away and nothing matters anymore except yourself. The second interpretation is viewing the water as something that is suffocating and ultimately drowning the individual with the weight of taking on more than they can handle and not taking care of one’s own health.

Personally, both interpretations come from my own views of being in water. On one hand, I feel so free and calm when I’m swimming or floating there, just being in the water is enjoyable. Yet, sometimes when the world is too much, I just have the urge to dive deep into the water and lay there with the desire of wanting to drown out my own feelings and thoughts. A part of the emotion I want to express relies on the imagery of water. 

To further aid you in understanding my world and thoughts, most things put in this piece have their own symbolism/meaning. You may have realized that the lady does not have a face; in fact, there’s a hole in place of it. This is also connected with the lack of time for yourself and the broken TV. The idea of when your whole life is so focused around others, who are you really? The lady and the broken television express the fragmented image of oneself throughout the whole process of finding who you are when you’re not just existing for the sake of others and recognizing the need of self-care. In addition, beside the TV you can see hanging cranes which also represent personal freedom.

The last thing that is seen all around the piece are water lilies. Through the flowers, I want to express the surface of what everyone sees on the outside; it is the facade of being perfectly fine despite all the inner, complicated emotions I had mentioned earlier.

This piece does not mean that you shouldn’t help someone in their time of need, especially in certain situations. This piece breaks the stigma that being selfish is always a bad thing; it is necessary. We can help others, but we must know our limits. It’ll be much better for you and those around you if you’re your best self mentally and physically.

Love yourself before loving others.