From Sea Legs to Silver Linings: Behind 'Distortion' Series

purple and blue abstract alcohol ink painting. Contemporary ink art.

I Can't Shake My Sea Legs

My sister and I embarked on a week-long cruise in July 2023, creating lasting memories that we'll cherish for a lifetime. However, the trip also bestowed upon me an unexpected and unwelcome souvenir—a vestibular disorder that significantly disrupted my life for six months. In a nutshell, after finding my "sea legs" during the cruise, my brain seemed unwilling to let go of the sensation once back on solid ground. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I continued to feel as if I were still on the ship. Everyday activities, such as walking, sitting for extended periods, and even painting, became challenging with the constant sensation of my head rocking side to side, leaving me in a perpetual state of physical imbalance. This condition cast a pervasive impact on every aspect of my life for months. Faced with a rare and poorly understood vestibular disorder, I sought ways to cope through my alcohol ink paintings.

The Distortion Series

purple and magenta abstract alcohol ink painting. Contemporary ink art.

I was inspired to create these paintings as my way of processing the physical and emotional toll that this vestibular-related condition has taken on my life. My deliberate choice of vibrant and lively colors  encapsulates my profound sense of hope for healing. The bright hues serve as a visual manifestation of overcoming the challenges brought on by my vestibular condition. The use of chaotic strokes mirror the ebb and flow of my personal journey with this challenging vestibular condition. The title, 'Distortion,' articulates the sensation of something being twisted out of its original, healthy state—a poignant metaphor for the impact of this vestibular-related challenges on my life. 

purple and blue abstract alcohol ink painting. Contemporary ink art.

The Silver Lining

I usually paint standing for long periods of time, but feeling unbalanced made that nearly impossible. I needed to find a way to paint that would not exacerbate my symptoms because the thought of not being able to do the thing I love was unbearable. I started experimenting with different alcohol ink art techniques that enabled me to paint without triggering my symptoms too much. The result of these experiments was the 'Distortion' Series. Stumbling upon this new technique for me was definitely the silver lining as I plan on implementing this technique and creating more abstract contemporary ink art collections in the future.

Finally Getting Back to "Normal"

After 6 months of living with this condition, and after seeing multiple specialists, and physical therapy, I am happy to say that I'm finally moving towards remission. Although, no more cruising for me. This experience has definitely made me more sympathetic towards those struggling with chronic health issues and has taught me to have more self-compassion. For those who are also dealing with similar issues, or chronic health issues, my heart goes out to you. You're not alone, and never lose hope.


(click here to see these paintings in more detail).

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