As a visual artist and coach, my life has been all about pursuing what I love and fulfilling my dreams.
One of my dreams is to help people connect to their truest vision for their lives, through the art, music and writing I create, which is inspired by my own journey and the adventure of living my dreams.
With my art series “Illustrated Travel Stories”, each one is more than just a drawing inspired from real places and experiences on my travels.
Each artwork is my vision of a better world, a dream world where everyone lives in love and joy, where we are all together in true community, and where each of us are our truest and most authentic selves.
Thus these illustrations represent the dreams that I have for everyone, and I’ve expressed visually through certain recurring symbols, motifs and themes across all (or at least 95%) of the artworks.
Today I’d like to share the three most common ones with you, so you’ll have a deeper appreciation of why these artworks may resonate with you.
1) The Dreamer Penguins
In late 2012 and early 2013, I spent 2 months preparing for my first solo exhibition, with no formal art training or prior experience in managing events. This was a most tremendous feat for me, but it was what I felt I needed to achieve at the time in order to manifest my childhood dream of becoming an artist.
As I created 30 new paintings for this exhibition, the artworks told the story of penguins and their journey towards the sky, thus fulfilling their dream of flying.
In reality, penguins cannot fly, but as birds, they have the potential for flight.
In a similar way, each of us are born with the potential to live our wildest dreams, to live our best life, to be our truest selves.
But as we grow up, we lose sight of our dreams and shut off parts of ourselves, thus we don’t live anywhere close to our full potential, and many die without even trying.
Thus the Dreamer Penguins symbolize each of us as the truest and most authentic versions of ourselves, as we live out our greatest dreams and our full potential.
They represent my stand for everyone that we are greater and bigger and far more powerful than we believe ourselves to be.
So I hope that when you see the Dreamer Penguins, you are reminded of the real, truest, greatest YOU, and also of your truest vision for your life, and your biggest dreams.
In some of the “Illustrated Travel Stories”, you might see other animal characters.
Sometimes they are inspired from people I’ve met, but generally they have the same symbolism as the Dreamer Penguins – representing everyone and how despite our differences and our diversity, we are one big community of dreamers living out our best lives.
To go another level deeper, the characters in the artworks also represent different parts of ourselves, and different personalities who exist within us.
At times you’ll identify with one, and at other times with another. We constantly switch back and forth between our various personalities as we navigate the challenges of our journey.
So the next time you see one of my artworks – whether it’s a Dream Tree, an Illustrated Travel Story, or something else from another series, take a closer look at the characters.
Which Dreamer Penguin or animal character do you most aspire to be?
What is it about this character that you resonate with?
2) Night Scenes
I grew up on Enid Blyton’s stories, where night is always a magical time when toys come to life, fairies come out to play, and children sneak out of bed to go on adventures.
Even today, I see the world as a much more magical place at night, and I’m usually up into the wee hours of the morning, at times even going to bed only after the sun has risen.
Night, for me, represents wondrous possibilities, adventure just around the corner (romantic ones, too!), the imagination coming alive, and the time when dreams take flight.
For many, night is often associated with darkness, which is usually meant to represent something “bad” or “evil”.
In my personal growth and development over recent years, I’ve begun to understand that our darkness is as much a part of us as our light.
There is nothing “bad” or “evil” about our darkness – it simply exists as part of our unconsciousness, and parts of ourselves we may not even be aware of.
But naturally, we avoid looking into it because it’s an unknown, and we tend to fear what we don’t know.
Still, in order to become our truest, most authentic selves, part of the process requires us to look into the darkness and sort out what is really there.
Thus in the “Illustrated Travel Stories”, the colorful and bright skies shows us that there is nothing to fear about darkness or the night.
And when we embrace its magic and allow ourselves to take a closer deep look into our darkness, we’ll discover so much more to ourselves and the different sides of us that we can’t even begin to comprehend.
From a wider perspective, these starry night skies also represent the galaxy, and the vast expanse of the universe that is all around us.
They also represent the limitless space within us — our endless possibilities, and that we truly have no boundaries and limitations, other than the ones we place upon ourselves.
So the next time you see these colorful, magical night skies, allow your imagination to run free and get connected to all the wondrous possibilities for your life!
3) The Moon and the Stars
The Dreamer Penguins’ night scenes are often accompanied by a crescent moon and stars, and sometimes other light sources like flames, lamps and lighted windows.
In the most recent “Illustrated Travel Stories”, the Moon has become one of the characters, usually smiling down at the scene, a constant companion to the Dreamer Penguins.
On the journey of living our dreams and discovering who we truly are, we’re not alone, and whether we’re aware of it or not, we have guides at every step along the way.
The more obvious ones are the people who have taught, led and mentored you.
They could also be your comrades on the road with you, lending their support and advice when you feel lost and dejected.
The less obvious guides are intangible, such as your intuition, your “gut”, or that voice in your heart saying you have to pursue this path, no matter what happens.
Sometimes they are happy little “accidents” that have taken us in a certain direction, which we usually don’t realize until we look back months or years later.
Who are the Moon and the Stars in your life?
Who are your teachers, mentors, leaders and comrades who have guided you?
How has your intuition and your heart guided you over the years?
And guess what, the Moon and the Stars are also YOU.
They represent our potential to be a light in the world, and to make a difference in someone else’s journey.
How can you light up the world around you?
What do you contribute to your world – your friends, family, and communities?
There you have it, a guide to the three most common motifs in the Dreamer Penguins’ world.
What are your thoughts? Share in the comments below!
P.S. Let me know also if you’d like to learn more of the other symbols, motifs and themes in these artworks!