GETTING TO KNOW: LUCY YU

We were so honoured to work with the talented Lucy Yu in ISSUE: 02 of The Lush Scoop; she fit in beautifully with our theme of inspirational and driven women. Lucy's dream-like illustrations hold a strong element of grace and gently remind us of our undeniable connection to Mother Nature. We are thrilled to be sharing this interview so that we are able to give you an insight into the life of this creative soul. To purchase a copy of Issue 02, head to our online shop.

Tell us about your background/history?

I grew up around lots of animals, watching re–runs of Sailor Moon, playing hide-and-seek amongst the trees and constantly drawing. After studying Film and Art History at the University of Auckland, I moved to Wellington for freelance artwork and portraiture commissions (as well as excellent coffee), before getting married, taking a whirlwind honeymoon around Europe, and taking the leap over to Melbourne in 2013.

How did you first begin experimenting with art?

I always loved scribbling on any paper I could find. My mum bought me a pack of felt-tip pens when I was three or four, and soon her spare drawers were all filled with bright awkward drawings of rainbow skies and big-eyed girls.

Describe your workspace:

Light–beams, lush greenery, soft colours and usually scented with a hint of refreshing citrus or warming chai spice in winter. I try to keep my creative space as welcoming as possible for mindfulness and new ideas!

Do you have a preferred medium?

My first love will always be pencil. I love the simplicity, and the evocative potential of even the simplest line drawing.

What creatives do you admire most?

Anyone who embodies their ideals – who can articulate their beliefs and connect with others through these outward expressions. Creatives that come to mind include Frida Kahlo, or contemporary artists like Charmaine Olivia and Maira Kalman.

What are you currently working on?

I often have too many projects on the to-do list, and not enough time to get through them all! At the moment I am excited to be working on my first zine, as well as a couple of collaborations under the wraps for now ;) 

Describe a typical day in the life:

I am usually up by 6.30am, and after a hot water + apple cider vinegar – I do my meditation (via the brilliant Headspace app) and yoga stretches. The morning routine keeps me grounded and is an integral part of my day. Most weekdays I am working part-time at Loving Earth, which is an amazing company focused on sustainable, organic health foods – including the best vegan chocolate in the world! I bike and train to and from work, which gives me some time to read and draw and people-watch. In the evenings I do the admin side of my artwork projects, like emails and invoicing, just to get it out of the way before dinnertime. Then it’s time for dinner (something healthy, quick and colourful - I get a kick out of the presentation…), before an hour or two of studio time accompanied by podcasts or audiobooks. By 11.30pm I am quite ready for sinking into my soft pillow!

 What is the most difficult thing about being an artist?

Finding balance. Time management and drive are both integral to being an artist, and there is so much out there to learn and do it’s hard not to be overwhelmed! It’s tempting sometimes to just lock yourself in the studio and work away, but I’ve found it really important to maintain a fresh mind and some sanity, by walking on the grass or sitting in the sun, hanging out with friends and family, and savouring little moments when you do things simply because they are enjoyable.

Have you incorporated any cruelty-free themes into your work?

I hold a strong belief that we should all endeavour to lead cruelty-free lifestyles. My artwork tends to inhabit a space where nature - animals, plants, landscapes - are integrated with the human face or body, whether it’s symbolically or literally. There is so much ‘bad’ media existing already, relating to violence, abuse of power, mistrust, in relation to the treatment of animals as well as in general. This has become an erroneously accepted norm for evoking ‘cruelty-free’ and I do not wish to add to that. ‘Normal’ can be defined by what is most prominent around us, through images, sounds and experiences. Art that emphasises we are part of nature - not disparate from it, is important in reminding us about how connected everything is, and I hope that message can resonate through what I draw and paint. 

Tell us your ‘go-to’ breakfast, lunch and dinner? 

I love food, and variety, so it’s hard to pin down! But some recent winners include: Breakfast - Organic spelt toast with coconut oil, a generous spread of tahini, sliced figs, yacon syrup (or sweetener of choice) and cinnamon. Sometimes with banana and a sprinkling of cacao nibs on top for an extra boost! Lunch - Salad of lettuce, tomato, sliced courgette, pan-friend tempeh, chunks of avocado, with a nut butter, apple cider vinegar & olive oil dressing, sprinkled with pumpkin or sesame seeds and nori flakes. Dinner - My favourite at the moment is a gingery pan fried mixed kale and courgette salad with generous cumin-tahini dressing, spiced tempeh, avocado, and home-made za’atar crackers with hummus.

Do you have any advice for passionate creative’s who haven't quite made it yet?

I’m not sure anyone really believes they have ‘made it’. Each person’s definition of success varies so greatly, and I think we all set our bar higher each time a goal is reached. However the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to persevere, and just make things that you love. Don’t be afraid of something not working out, and don’t forget that even the most successful people experience failures - we just tend to not hear about them! Oh and be kind; to others, but also to yourself.

Where can we find more of your art?

My websites is www.lucyyu.net, and you can also find me on Instagram (@artemuse), Facebook (Lucy Yu Artwork), Tumblr (http://artemuse.tumblr.com) and Twitter (@llucyyu).

Amy SinclairComment