‘Martin’ by Jolene Lai
Artist: Jolene Lai
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 10” x 8”
Framing: Framed (Frame Size: 11” x 9”)
Year of Creation: 2018
Artwork Will Ship From: USA
About the Artwork:
“I had difficulties falling asleep when I was a kid. Turning the light on in the middle of the night was much frowned upon by my mother, so I ended up staring out of the window on those many nights of insomnia. I loved feeling as if a majority of the world had gone to sleep, less some apartment units that still had their lights on. I ponder about the folks who were still awake like me. I imagined that someone was still burning the midnight oil and studying into the night, or had their eyes glued on their telly screens watching something interesting.
I never once witnessed any living soul behind the lit-up windows during all those quiet random nights of observing. It was as if those units themselves had lives of their own, and secretly switched on the lights in the living room while their occupants were sound asleep.
My insomnia gradually bade goodbye as I got older and sleep became easier. But the habit of glancing at lit up windows during my evening strolls remained.
One night upon reaching home, I caught a glimpse of my cat patiently waiting by the window for my return. I had left the lights on before leaving the house, so the stark contrast of the bright window against the surrounding darkness made the illuminated rectangle that framed a hazy silhouette of a cat appear even more inviting.
This lingering need to document that special moment that brought me back to my early childhood was always in the back of my mind, where for the first time the observer became the observed.
This painting is titled ‘Martin’ and is the first tiny portrait of my marmalade friend that still waits by the window every day for me.” – Jolene Lai
About the Artist:
Jolene Lai is a Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator born and raised in Singapore. After studying painting at Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, Jolene studied graphic design at UCLA and spent a year working at movie-poster design house, The Refinery Creative, before returning to focus on fine art.
She works primarily with oil on canvas or mixed media on water color paper. With bold use of color, shape and intricate detail, she creates images with a seductive aesthetic and subject matter that weaves in emotions of whimsy, melancholy, irony and absurdity.
Lai seeks to engage her audience in works that are approachable, newly imagined spaces that the viewer is invited to explore on their own terms.