Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsey Lieu.
Lindsey, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am, in my very essence, a creative soul. Anything artistic, I have a passion for. Beginning with painting at a young age, I continued into advanced art classes throughout life. Eventually, I received my Bachelors in studio art, concentration in sculpture, from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. From there, I lived abroad in Stockholm, Sweden, still living a creative life and participating in an art show while there. Coming back to the states in 2012, I continued to create and build my work, joining in a variety of shows in the past few years. After studying sculpture and foundry work in college, I worked for the Grapevine Foundry starting in 2014 and had the privilege of working along side the artisan team to create the “Imagine,” the Bronze Unicorn Pegasus that resides on the top of the Grapevine Visitor’s Bureau in Grapevine, Texas. September of 2016 held my first solo exhibition: “The Creative Meltdown.” This show was a big milestone in many ways, but the part that was most exciting was being able to create an entire show around the theme of mental health.
Mental health has always been an important subject in my work, simply because it’s part of my daily life. When you live with daily pain, whether that be physical or mental, or both, as in my case, it can be difficult to find people who truly understand what it’s like. One of the reasons I truly love to make art is that it helps my own mental health. And I’ve learned that my favorite reaction from people seeing my art is hearing them say “this helps me know that I am not alone.”
My goal is to be able to create more artwork that helps people know that that they are not alone in the battles they fight and that by being honest and open about what we live with, we can create a better and brighter community.
In 2017, I met my husband, Phil of Photonic Figures, and moved to St. Louis to be with him. I quickly fell in love with the city of St. Louis and am eternally grateful for how welcoming the art community in St. Louis has been. The other community that I have been grateful for in St. Louis is the chronic illness community. After I moved to St. Louis, I was diagnosed with POT syndrome and Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility Syndrome. To be honest, I truly don’t know what I would have done without the people that I met here locally who helped make a difficult journey more bearable.
I’ve been honored to have my work displayed at the Saint Louis Renaissance Hotel, Gallery on Geyer, and more! Currently, I am excited to be partnered with the Protagonist Cafe in Soulard to have Pop Up Shows.
For now, you can find me every First Saturday for at least the rest of 2021 and hopefully beyond that! I love meeting new people and connecting with others. If not in person, you can find me on social media @LindseyLieu.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
When people ask if I’ve encountered obstacles in my art career, I kind of chuckle because I often feel like there have been more challenges than not. While I love what I do and love creating all kinds of artwork, when you live with chronic illness, trying to find any kind of normalcy will always be a struggle. I’ve always lived with mental illness and have dealt with various levels of chronic pain, about 5 years ago is when my pain reached a new level.
Since the summer of 2016, I have lived with constant, 24/7 physical pain. Some days, my pain is so intense that I am bed ridden. And other days are a bit easier to manage, but it definitely has impacted my ability to make art. The benefit to this challenge has been that I’ve been able to connect with the chronic pain community, or “Spoonies,” and create works of art specifically for others like me who live with quite a physical burden. The struggle with this has been that, like anyone with medical issues, medical bills really restricts your finances. So I’ve tried to create budget-friendly creations that provide options for just about anyone. Because everyone deserves the ability to have art the truly encourages and inspires you every time you look at it.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
While I love creating everything from sculptures to paintings to digital work and more, the most important art category I specialize in that of hopeful and encouraging art. These works are often inspired by my own struggles with both mental and physical illness. My goal with these creations is to help others struggling to feel loved and seen. Those of us with disabilities are often over-looked or forgotten about. No matter what the reason may be, feeling left out is always hard. I think in general, it can be difficult to be open and vulnerable when creating artwork, but I think when I dig deep and share honestly that I am able to create my best work. Along with trying to create bright, encouraging artwork, my style tends to be colorful and creatively chaotic. I love how all the different colors play with one another on the full spectrum and seeing how different colors can evoke different emotions.
In 2019, I had the incredible honor of creating an original cast piece for a kind woman living with chronic illness who was going blind. She found my work through a local St. Louis art show I participated in and reached out to me about an unique piece. She wanted a casting of a colorful resin spoon with the words “Autoimmune Warrior” on the front. In her message to me, she also added that she knew the piece would take time, but she would appreciate it quickly due to the fact that she was going blind and didn’t know how long she had left. The fact that someone losing their sight would want my artwork as one of the last things they see made me tear up. So when I created her piece, in honor of her journey, my husband helped me 3D print a backing to go on her spoon that had her chosen phrase “Autoimmune Warrior” in Braille. She was ecstatic to receive her custom spoon with the added surprise and told me that she keeps it clipped to the best of her service dog. It’s moments like that when I know that all the pain I deal with makes it worth it to make artwork like this.
One idea I would love to have a chance to work on is the opportunity to create art specifically for doctor’s offices, medical facilities, and the like. For those of us with chronic health issues, we are often in medical spaces and it can feel lonely and scary. I’d love the chance to fill places like exam rooms with art that truly connects with the patients and let’s them know the truth: they are not alone.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
Personally, with mental illness and trauma, I honestly don’t have a good long-term memory and most of my childhood is a blur. What I can remember clearly, all throughout my life, has been my mom striving to give me every opportunity to be myself. I have chunks of memories throughout my life, as early as 9 years old, where my mom would let me paint my bedroom walls as creatively as I wanted. Even though she is a “left-brained,” analytical numbers person, she always let me be the colorful weirdo that I am. She even took a pottery class with me, just to experience my world. She has always tried to learn about me and how to best love and support me. For her love, patience, and support, I am eternally grateful.
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- Custom/original paintings & sculptures start at $50
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.LindseyLieu.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/lindseylieu
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- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UC65TM02oiCsSOcFe4NqwjMw