Oyster River Pages: Does having a work published alter the way you think about it? Does it alter the way you think about yourself?
Jeannie Hua: Having a work published validates the effort I’ve taken to say what I have to say. Being a second career artist, the fear of being too late haunts me. While the fearlessness of youth may have dissipated, it’s been replaced by wisdom and content (actually having something to say). To be published tells me what I have to say is worthwhile to repeat. My hope is that while my message is about the continuation of strife for equality and respect is never-ending, it’s in the battle that makes us better.
ORP: What role does research play in your work?
JH: For “Ode to Judith Beheading Holofernes,” I researched the works of Artemisia Gentileschi. She doesn’t have many known works. But a great deal of them show women suffering from violence and injustice. I was attracted to her Judith paintings because they were more realistic than Caravaggio’s. From her composition and body positions, the viewer actually gets a sense of the strength it takes to hold someone down and behead them. To make sure the #metoo movement is not just a phase but a new evolution in justice, we need dramatic depictions of the violence, internal and external that has existed through out the ages up to now.
ORP: What advice would you give someone who has never been published?
JH: Quiet the voices in your head with action. The worse that could happen is to discard and start again.
ORP: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better artist as an adult, what would you do?
JH: Not quit for 20 years.
ORP: What is the first creative piece that made you cry?
JH: Van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles” at the Chicago Art Institute. It was like meeting a celebrity.
ORP: What are you currently working on?
JH: My main medium is actually collage work. I’m working on an exhibition featuring handmade collages themed upon the services offered by a local nonprofit, Asian Community Development Council. I want to steer more artists in Vegas to do social practice art. In these political times, everyone needs to roll their sleeves up.
Insecure artist to one
mother to three
burned out lawyer to all
See her piece Ode to Artemesia Gentileschi’s Judith beheading Holofernes in issue 2.