In the summer of 2018, I went to Spain to attend my first artist residency, where I painted the first Dream Tree mural. After that, I stayed a month in La Garriga with a local family in exchange for practising English with them.
During my time there, their daughter turned 10, and they threw her a birthday party in the park.
It was a park unlike any other I had ever seen before. There were these trees growing everywhere in a way that made it seem more like a forest than a park.
I soon found myself lost in my imagination of all those stories I’ve read of adventures in magical forests (specifically my favorite – Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Forest).
Because of the language barrier, I couldn’t converse with the other adults anyway, so I sat on a nearby bench and started to draw.
“Party in the Park” was completed a few days later, and it was the beginning of a new creative direction — combining my love of drawing from real-life inspiration and enhancing it with my imagination.
At the time, I was more focused on how I was going to paint more Dream Tree murals, and pondering the feasibility of this idea. Paint 99 more Dream Tree murals around the world? I must be crazy. How was I even going to pull this off?
But still, there was this calling deep inside me, a dream of traveling the world while also being an artist.
And there was more — to inspire people to believe in their dreams again.
I had no idea how I was going to do it. I just knew I had to figure it out somehow.
So I did what I already knew would work: apply to artist residencies with project proposals for a Dream Tree in that location.
A few months later, I was accepted into a program in Cēsis, Latvia. A few months after that I was accepted into one in Kintai, Lithuania. And then two in Bulgaria, and a fifth one in Macedonia.
Over 5.5 months in 2019, I attended five artist residencies, and painted a total of six Dream Trees in four countries.
And along the way, while constantly inspired by new places, experiences, people, and what I learnt and discovered about myself on this crazy adventure as a traveling artist, I made more of these illustrations where my imagination took real-life inspirations to another level.
The “Illustrated Travel Stories” are so much more than just snapshots of places, experiences and memories.
They are also more than elevated versions of reality.
These illustrations are my vision and my dream for you, and for the world.
You see, I believe in magic, I believe in our endless possibilities, and I believe in a world where we are free to be who we truly are.
I believe we are each called to be our greatest selves, to live our unique story, and the adventure of fulfilling our dreams.
And while we are on this journey of living our dreams, we are all in this together, and we create this better world together.
Each illustration is an expression of my vision for a dream world filled with love and joy, where everyone is our truest and most authentic selves, and anything is possible, and all our dreams can come true.
And when you experience these works and how they make you feel, I hope they remind you of your own dreams and your calling to live the true adventure of your life.