By Chrysa Pik
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing newly emerging artist Lucinda Lin, who goes by the art moniker of “Happymooncake Artworks”, after attending one of her latest showings at Toast Coffeehouse in Port Jefferson, New York.
Lin presented eight of her newest paintings and collages during the showing, which was a multi-media production entitled Electric Womb, collaboration, with artist, Aleks Degtyarev of FreakCast, who presented video stills and a live video performance at the end of the show.
The event was hosted by FRESH Art of Long Island, whose main mission is to bring recognition to underground artists, such as Lin and Degtyarev.
Lin who currently resides in Great Neck, New York, is a first generation Chinese-American, native to Long Island, originally from a small town by the name of Rocky Point. Growing up, just a short stroll away from the beach, Lin’s interaction with nature played a big role in her artistic influence.
“I was very lucky to grow up by the water,” Lin said. “In the summer I would spend almost every day there and I believe this nurtured my love for nature, especially for it’s solitary and unique aspects.” “It being free of crowds made it private and secluded, a perfect environment for imagination.”
Both of Lin’s parents were born in China, but grew up in Taiwan, and came to the United States to pursue their careers as scientists. Her father worked as a physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, and her mother currently works there as a microbiologist. Both of her parents sketched and painted as hobbies as well. Her father mainly created charcoal paintings of people and landscapes, and her mother still paints landscapes and traditional Chinese calligraphy. Her mother’s mother is an accomplished traditional Chinese painter, and her father’s mother is skilled in embroidery.
Lin discovered her interest in art when she was about eight years old, at an art studio class in summer camp, as she was working on a collage painting made from old wall paper. Reminiscing, Lin remarked, “I remember being so focused on painting my lines perfectly and working very long on this one piece, almost obsessively.” “My instructor was impressed and I was happy.”
Carrying over such childhood techniques to her collage work as an adult, Lin prefers to use bits and pieces of materials that she finds laying around that catches her eye, such as an old page from a 1975 magazine or a funny looking gum wrapper.
When asked how she sometimes goes about creating her collages, Lin responded, “I might begin with a piece of something, say a menu I have saved from a restaurant in Prague, during my visit there.” “That particular painting will then grow around the menu and thus all the memories I have attached to that restaurant.”
When it comes to her paintings, Lin enjoys working with oil paints, but has been using acrylics, more so lately, which predominated her artwork during Electric Womb.
Her creations are influenced by her own memories, emotions, and even other art, and are also inspired by the imagery found within nature, flora, fauna, animals, myths, legends, and magic.
Even though she has been involved in art since she was a child, she has only exhibited her work at a handful of places, such as the student art gallery at the State University at Stony Brook, Walt Whitman Museum in Huntington, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and a few informal art fairs.
Being that Electric Womb was one of the most public showings for Lin, she found the experience to be worth the exposure, commenting, “I used to be very private with my work sharing it only with close friends and family,” said Lin. Now I enjoy the pressure and fear of showing my work to strangers-I think it only makes my work improve.”
As I stood back and observed the crowd, it seemed that Happymooncake’s display served as a great conversational piece, stirring curiosity within the dialogue of the participating art viewers. It was quite apparent to the discerning eye that the involved paintings did not just contain passive slabs of color that looked pretty, but instead were productive in inciting questions and personal opinions as to what the abstract images could be.
The pieces provided a challenge to analyze and dissect, because they all seemed to tell a diverting story. I overhead random speculators wondering as to the potential symbolism of a few of the paintings, based on their own intuitive interpretations. It was creatively invigorating to hear all types of people, within heterogeneous subgroups of both artists and non-artists, verbally formulating out loud as to their own personal theories which ranged from “female anatomy”, “internal organs”, “body fibers and nerves” or “a spiritual mandala”, while another simply remarked, “it almost reminds me of a photograph”.
Whatever the pieces may have intrinsically meant for Lin, while creating them on an individual level, holistically, they all represented something greater, much deeper than the symbols held within their four corners.
“The pieces I made for Electric Womb, the show at Toast, represent collaboration,” said Lin. “Working alongside my boyfriend Aleks on the show was a new experience for me as I had never shared a show with anyone before. Being more open allowed for a more osmotic environment and has drastically enriched my creativity and skills. This osmosis of ideas is the basis of the theme of Electric Womb.”
Richard Ritter, a fellow artist who attended Electric Womb and had exhibited with Lin last year, said, “She’s an amazing artist.” Ritter added: “I actually met her through an art group called Art Studio 85 and we all exhibited at the Walt Whitman Museum.”
While Electric Womb was successful in showing Lin’s latest work publicly, it was also for other reasons as well. “The show was successful because my friends and family showed up to support us and because I accomplished what I set out to do in a short amount of time,” Lin said.
Alison Schnoor, an old childhood friend of Lin since elementary school, shared every high school art class with her and is probably the most familiar with her work than anyone else. Schnoor said after the show, “She was a very good artist in high school and she established her style early on, and when she went away to college in her art classes she seemed to stray away from her own personal techniques.” “In the show I noticed that she incorporated her own artistic interpretation, experience, and knowledge and seemed to come home back to herself and her original style.”
What I personally appreciated about all of Lin’s pieces is that they were each so different from one another, yet they simultaneously shared the notable essence of belonging to the same parent. Lin applied the technique of interbreeding collage and paint within the same creation, stimulating the visual senses, by presenting an aesthetically appealing variation in both imagery and texture. The paintings were optically engaging and fun to look at.
I asked Lin’s mother, who was present at the showing, what she thought about her daughter’s paintings, and she said, “I think it’s very…it’s…different, but interesting.” Lin added: “It opened my eyes and raised my perception about art. I didn’t know my daughter had such an abstract mind. I think now she is more mature and her art really reflects much deeper emotion and she is very good at using colors.”
As far as Lin’s personal interest in other artist’s work, enjoys graffiti street art, particularly the work of artists SEAK, ElDone, CORAIL, but also enjoys more traditional and renowned artists such as Klimt, Dali, and Van Gogh.
Lin just recently completed working as Assistant Director on the set of Degtyarev’s short film Shoe Fits, which will be shown at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, as part of the Roger Smith Shorts Series, featuring the films of five new directors.
For those interested in seeing more of Lin’s work, she can be found on Facebook at profile “Happymooncake Artworks” and anyone interested in purchasing art pieces or prints may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.