Introduce yourself and tell us what you do!
I'm Lay Hoon, and I'm a multidisciplinary artist operating under the alias Arty Guava. My creative endeavours take me on a journey from crafting large-scale murals to designing prints for fashion fabrics. Why Arty Guava, you might wonder? It's a blend of my two loves: art and guava. These two simple elements reflect who I am at heart.
What are your non-negotiable morning rituals Before Life Happens?
Mornings in my world aren't exactly tranquil, especially as a mom hustling to prep my 7-year-old for school. When time's of the essence, my non-negotiables boil down to essentials: quick teeth brushing, slathering on some sunscreen, chugging down a refreshing glass of water, and I'm good to go.
Now, on those rare mornings when I'm gifted with a bit more time, here's the dream routine: I carve out a few moments for journaling, savor a soothing cup of green tea, give my face a little TLC, and slip into my chosen attire for the day. It's a delicate dance between the gotta-go-now hustle and the soothing rituals that set a smoother pace.
Can you describe a typical day in your life as an artist?
Mornings start with ensuring my little one is ready to conquer the day – making breakfast, a cup of tea for myself, and getting dressed. Once he's off to school with his lunchbox, I have some precious me-time. Whether it's a brisk walk or a session at the gym, it's an hour well spent. A refreshing shower follows, and by around 11 am, it's time for my first proper meal.
With energy replenished, I dive into my artistic pursuits. Emails are tackled, and then I'm fully immersed in the creative process. From 12 to 5 pm, it's all about crafting, whether it's for clients or my personal projects.
Evenings are family time – prepping dinner, sharing stories, and engaging in playful activities with my son. From 6 to 9 pm, we explore the world of Legos, delve into arts and crafts, discuss school happenings, and wrap up the day's affairs.
Around 9 pm, I venture into the realm of social media. I connect with my audience, plan upcoming content, and enjoy the virtual camaraderie. By 10 pm, it's time for winding down – a quick wash, some reading, a Netflix episode or two, and by 11 pm, I'm ready to call it a night.
What role does growing up in Malaysia play in your artistic journey?
Absolutely, growing up in Malaysia has left an indelible mark on my artistic journey. The rich tapestry of my upbringing has deeply influenced my creative aesthetics. The vibrant and tropical essence of Malaysia resonates within me, guiding my attraction to its patterns, motifs, and hues.
This connection isn't just a passing sentiment. It's a powerful force that draws me back to the warmth and vibrancy of my homeland. Particularly now, residing in Canada where the climate tends to be chilly for most of the year, I find myself yearning to capture and recreate the vivid energy of Malaysia in my artwork.
Have you found any specific hobbies or interests outside of painting that complement your lifestyle as an artist?
Absolutely! Beyond painting, I've found a deep love for animes and reading mangas (Japanese comics) since the age of 10. These visual and artistic forms of entertainment ignite my creativity, infusing my work with fresh perspectives and unique ideas.
Nature is another wellspring of inspiration for me, and fortunately, I'm based in British Columbia where stunning mountains beckon. On weekends, you'll sometimes find me hiking through these breathtaking landscapes. The tranquillity, the colours, the textures – they all seep into my senses, enhancing my artistic vision and contributing to the beauty I strive to capture on my artworks.
How do you handle creative blocks or periods of low motivation?
When creativity takes a hit and motivation dips, I have a unique approach. I treat myself to ice cream and bubble tea, maybe a couch session for a bit of self-pity. Sometimes this lasts several days. But after that, I reach out to friends who understand. Their insights and encouragement remind me I'm not alone. Sometimes, these blocks signal a much-needed break. It's all about self-care and a little help from friends.
How do you ensure that your art stays true to your personal style while also evolving and growing over time?
Discovering my artistic voice was a journey that stretched over years, filled with shifts from one trend to another, none feeling truly authentic to me. It wasn't until I relocated to Canada and the pandemic unfolded that I found what I'd been searching for – a guiding North Star for my art.
Amidst the pandemic's challenges, a moment of clarity emerged. I decided to craft solely for my pleasure, divorcing my work from external expectations. This shift in focus inward, rather than seeking inspiration from outside sources, was a turning point.
I realized the profound connection to my Asian roots. This revelation breathed life into my creations. Harmony emerged as a recurring theme – people in harmony with others, their environment, and themselves. It's the very lack of harmony that fuels my discontent.
This philosophy weaves through every piece I create, celebrating my heritage and the vital importance of harmony. It's a driving force that pushes me to explore new avenues while staying true to my artistic essence.
How do you end your day? What rituals or routines do you have to set your future self up for success?
As my day winds down, I've formed a habit of creating a checklist for the tasks that await me tomorrow. With that, I set my alarm clock and cross my fingers for a smooth day ahead.
The truth is, I can't predict the future, so I'm not entirely sure if my current routine guarantees success. However, what I'm absolutely clear about is the importance of nurturing my well-being today to be my best self tomorrow. It's like a foundation that paves the way for potential success.
This involves a combination of taking care of myself and my loved ones – planning nutritious meals, ensuring regular exercise, prioritizing self-care, embracing restful sleep, and managing stress. These steps, for me, encapsulate the preparation needed for future achievements. Because regardless of what comes my way, being in a state of balance and vitality equips me to seize opportunities and overcome challenges.