Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holiday Drawing Commissions

I’m also grateful for all of you. Thank you.

Now, an announcement:

15-min. sketch of Shu Qi in The Assassin.

For the second holiday season in a row, I’m open for drawing commissions! New this time: I also have existing art—both from my represented artists and from myself (rare, I know!)—available for purchase!

You can:

1) Request custom drawings of anything you want! (For example, Robin Rios asked me to create a cartoon of her sculptures interacting, and this was the result.) $18 cartoon, $36 combination cartoon & realistic, and $63 realistic.

2) (New this year!) Buy any of my available* sketches from my Scribble Sunday series. *(The ones I exhibited at LEXICON have been sold, and the childhood art I’ve shared isn’t for sale.) The Good Dog and Summertime Sadness are $45, Of Dragons and Hero are $54, Ghostbuster is $81, Mood is $99, and each sketch in the Gossamer series is $198.

3) (New this year!) Buy art from the artists I represent! Check out the tags for Chicago painter Sheila Arora and Hong Kong photographer Valentina Loffredo, and look through their portfolios here and here, respectively.

For one and two, 30% of proceeds will be donated to the ACLU, Amnesty International, and NRDC. Fight beside me, and own some neat art while you’re at it!

Another quick sketch of Shu Qi in The Assassin.

(The rates are an explanation, of sorts, for this silly status.)

Monday, November 21, 2016

What Comes Next: An Interview with Edra Soto

All right. I think I’m finally done mourning (which was Step 1 in my call to action in the previous post), helped in part by seeing The Cool Kids live with friends and being introduced by one of said friends with “She’s like Michael Jordan, but more efficient because she’s compact,” and now it’s time to work: I had the honor of interviewing Edra Soto for Sixty Inches From Center (thank you, Sixty, for referring to me and Edra as two of your favorite people) and CONNECT Hyde Park! Cross-posted from SIFC:

Edra Soto. Photo by Daniel Hojnacki.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto is a Chicago-based artist, educator, curator, and gallery director of an outdoor project space called The Franklin. I’d looked up to her for a while and from afar, and a couple months ago we both happened to be invited to speak on an artist panel (where I finally met her in person and gushed over her like the fangirl I am). The panel was called “What Matters,” and when the main topic was brought up, she discussed her dedication to local artist communities and helping them outside of a more conventional gallery system.

But who is Edra, as an artist, herself? In anticipation of CONNECT, where she’ll be showing some of her own artwork, I had the honor of interviewing her; read our conversation below to find out.

Jenny Lam: How did you first become interested in art?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When all other lights go out

It’s hard, but I’m trying my best to remind myself of my favorite quote (which I was asked for in this interview I did over the summer, part of a series that is now more important than ever):

It’s preceded by Frodo putting to words how I’ve been feeling: “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” Gandalf responds, “So do I, and all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide.”

Mourn. Then: Organize. Mobilize. Fight. For me (a POC, a child of immigrants, a Millennial, and a woman), for all marginalized groups (I see you, I love you, and you matter), and for the future of our country and the world. This is only the beginning.


(Here’s what you can do. Also, I loved the protests here in Chicago and in other major cities throughout the nation Wednesday night. This and this are on Saturday. [Update: There’s also a mass march against Trump and racism on Saturday the 19th and a protest in Millennium Park the following day.Feel free to leave a comment with anything else you’ve come across, or if you just need to talk. I’m here.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fly the // Art Flag

Had a meeting with one of the nicest and most visionary artists I know (also my birthday twin), and he told me that I “inspire” him and am the “voice of kindness,” one that “deserves to be loud.” Being kind is underrated, so my soul is blushing. (Get excited for an ambitious project by Nathan “Bam” Stanton—who participated in my interactive exhibition I CAN DO THAT—in 2017!)

Vote! (What I did after the above.)

(And before said meeting, my new favorite author, Ken Liueveryone go read The Paper Menagerie short story collection [and cry in public] pleasereplied to me on Twitter. Yesterday was a good day.)

Hope you had a happy Halloween! (Mine included your weekly dose of sillinessAnd here’s something that came out over Halloweekend that all artists / art history buffs / art lovers should check out: The music video for Jane Zhang’s “Dust My Shoulders Off.” Those visuals!) Now that another month has begun, I have a new post on Time Out Chicago: 9 art gallery exhibitions to see in November.

And if you haven’t watched it yet, a video that includes my two-minute presentation at 20x2Chi is in the previous post.

I love you, Chicago.*

*[Edit: And an update…]

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What Do You Want

I had so much fun at 20x2 Chicago! (My set starts at 3:50 in the video below, or watch it at this direct link.) Cheers to all the other speakers (you were wonderful); thank you so much to Andrew Huff for inviting me to be a part of the show and for organizing it; and thank you to everyone who came!

For more information regarding what I talked about in my two minutes, check out the Dreams of a City page.

Here’s some non-art-related silliness for fellow crazy dog ladies dog lovers.

And: In the previous post I announced that I’ll be representing photographer Valentina Loffredo; stay tuned for an interview! In the meantime, read the one with represented painter Sheila Arora!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Little Things

I’m proud to announce that I’ll be representing Valentina Loffredo—a photographer born in Italy and based in Hong Kong—as an artist agent! Her graphic, minimalist photos are pure eye candy. Exciting features to come; for now, check out Val’s Instagram! Galleries that are interested in partnering with us, contact me. And don’t forget; I represent Chicago painter Sheila Arora too!

A sample of Valentina Loffredo's photography, courtesy of her Instagram.

It’s a great time of year to be in this city: Chicago Museum Week begins today (tip: the Adler Planetarium has one of the best views of the skyline), Open House Chicago is this weekend (here’s one of the sites I visited last year), and Chicago Ideas Week begins on Monday. And as announced in this post, I’ve been invited to speak at the next 20x2 Chicago! That’s next Saturday, October 22, 6pm, at Quenchers Saloon.

And if you’re not following me on Twitter, these past couple weeks you’ve missed out on random tweets going viral and another installment of my main pastime, making screenshots of whenever celebrities engage with me.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Star Collecting: An Interview with Sheila Arora

Me at Sunday’s “What Matters” panel: “[…] I’m an awkward weirdo.”
Paul Klein, moderator/art critic: “You hide it well! You’re not awkward at all. You’re just weird.”

Thank you so much to those who attended, to Paul and Startup Art Fair for inviting me to be a part of it, and to all the amazing artists I met for being you!

Sheila Arora, Flower Healer, acrylic on paper, 18x24 in.

On the subject of amazing artists, I interviewed painter Sheila Arora, whom I represent! Here are her own words, unfiltered and free-flowing like her art:

Jenny Lam: Introduce yourself!

Sheila Arora: Hi Jenny, thanks for talking with me! I’m an artist living in Chicago. I have always been drawing and painting. I used to do traditional work including figure, still life, and portrait. I started the abstract acrylic painting a few years ago, and I found it was a great fit with my style. I love using color and exploring marks. My current work is expressive, free, and a total explosion of joy on the canvas.

Sheila Arora, May I have a piece of cake please,
acrylic on paper, 18x24 in.

JL: Could you describe your work (both your abstract paintings as well as your portraits) and the process that goes into it?

SA: My paintings are bold. I use a lot of color and marks to keep the pieces active. I have a busy mind, and that is reflected in my work. I’m also a risk-taker when I paint, so I’ll go for anything and everything. I’m always pushing my work in new directions.

Sheila Arora, I tried to say thank you in a million ways,
acrylic on paper, 18x24 in.

My process is very intuitive. I lean into the intuition and trust that what I’m feeling is where the painting wants to go. I generally work on a series of pieces that will consist of 15-30 paintings. The overall series is an idea of what I want to capture. For example, I am currently working on a series of paintings called Expressions. These pieces are all about exploring freedom of the line, being looser with the paint, and letting go.

Sheila Arora, My room is messy but you're still invited,
acrylic on paper, 18x24 in.

The portraits are a really fun combination of the abstract and realistic work. I used to do lots of figure drawing from the model, so I have a really good grasp of the face. I start with a reference photo to understand placement of features and lighting, and then I add the abstract component to make the piece totally crazy. I have two portrait series: Crazy Portraits and Princess Warriors. I started adding some writing to the Princess Warrior series to bring the characters to life.

Sheila Arora, Fallen Angel, acrylic on paper, 9x12 in.
[Update: SOLD!]

Sheila Arora, Story Weaver, acrylic on paper, 9x12 in.
[Update: SOLD!]

JL: As someone who’s also both an artist and a writer, I love that some of your paintings are accompanied by your writing. What a wonderful way to combine two art forms. Could you also explain your process for that? Do you come up with the painting or story/poem first? Also, how did you get into creative writing?

SA: I love to write. I have a crazy imagination, so creative writing has always been a natural fit for me. I recently started combining the two art forms. I started writing a set of stories based on my small abstract painting series. I would pick a painting and use that as a starting point for the story. I let the painting give me the ideas, and then I would write a short piece from my imagination. I wrote about everything from a rainbow tornado to a buffalo cave! I wrote 30 of these short stories, and each one was totally different and fun.

[Continue reading more after the jump.]

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I’ve been invited to speak at the next 20x2 Chicago! Thank you, Andrew Huff! Save the date for Saturday, October 22, 6-8pm, at Quenchers.

I’m back from a trip to Greece (photos on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr), just in time for Expo Art Week. But that’s not all that’s happening.


Today is:

  • The autumnal equinox and Chicagohenge (pictured above)! Twice a year, the rising and setting sun lines up perfectly with the city’s east-west street grid. The first day of fall is one of those times.

Quite the day, September 22.

And a reminder: I’ve been invited to speak on a panel at the inaugural Startup Art Fair during Expo Chicago! So honored. The conversation’s this Sunday, 1pm, at MileNorth Hotel. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I just got invited by the one and only Paul Klein to speak on an artist panel at the stARTup Art Fair! Thank you so much! Everyone, save the date for Sunday early afternoon, September 25, at Chicago’s MileNorth Hotel. [Update: The discussion will be at 1pm in Room 404.]

Speaking of art fairs, I’m back from a brief trip to New York (photos on Instagram) and have a new post on Time Out Chicago: 9 art gallery exhibitions to see in September, including Expo Chicago, which I always look forward to.


Thank you for all the birthday wishes a couple weeks ago!

And be sure to read the previous post featuring a lovely artist studio visit with represented painter Sheila Arora!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Love Letters: An Artist Studio Visit with Sheila Arora

Conducted a studio visit at represented artist / actual ray of sunshine Sheila Arora’s apartment in Chicago’s Loop (look at that view!) and sold a painting to architect (and fellow Columbia University alum) Chyanne Husar! Thank you for your support, Chyanne! And thanks to Sheila for letting us into your home and your mind!

Sheila Arora in her apartment showing us her favorite piece she painted.

More behind-the-scenes photos below. Step into Sheila’s world!

(As announced in this post, Sheila—who was a part of my latest interactive exhibition, LEXICON—has entrusted me with the honor of being her artist agent and representative, and I couldn’t be more pleased.)

Sheila keeps her place downtown “barebones” and “in neutrals,” an amusing contrast to her art, which is as bold, colorful, confident, and imaginative as she is.

The Princeton graduate is nothing if not prolific; most of her pieces in her current collection were created within the past year and a half! It’s incredible how she can sustain so much creative energy; she has a corporate job out in the suburbs, so she only has a few hours every night to paint. And she does.

We shared great conversations on how art can set the tone for your home. What colors do you want to wake up to? What emotions do you want to live with?

Sold! Sheila Arora's painting that Chyanne Husar purchased.

Chyanne ultimately chose a fun and vibrant work on paper that she knew would make her happy.

Sold! Sheila Arora, Untitled, acrylic on paper.

If any galleries would like to showcase Sheila’s work, let me know! You can view Sheila’s portfolio on her site.

Also, in case you didn’t see the edit I made to the previous post, I’ve been featured on Asians Doing Everything! Thank you! (That’s two features in two days, the other being Women of Wednesday, author Olivia Cole’s interview series with women of color!)

And my birthday’s tomorrow! (If you follow me on social media, you might’ve seen my nostalgic look back on a past celebration.) Want to give me a present? Give yourself one and buy art!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I—and LEXICON—have been featured in Women of Wednesday, author Olivia Cole’s interview series with women of color! “Jenny Lam on Bridging Segregation with Art and the Necessity of Representation.” Thank you so much, Olivia!

Throwback to when I matched a Miami mural. (Wall by Ahol Sniffs Glue.)

[Update: I’m also featured on Asians Doing Everything! Thank you!]

Also, I have a new post on Time Out Chicago: 8 art gallery exhibitions to see in August. Check out my previous post for other stuff to see.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Poetry in Motion

Here they are! Your interpretations and meanings (and even poems!) you wrote on Post-it notes at LEXICON, as well as all the artists’ original statements, which, as you know, were not revealed during the interactive exhibition’s entire run. Some of the statements were created specifically for the show and have never been seen before until now. Take a look; it’s the perfect source for Monday motivation!

Guess who. (Left by graffiti artist Solo RM.)

In other news: I’ve been verified on Twitter! Thank you!

And here’s:

Happy August / Leo season! (Adrienne Glover, one of my LEXICON artists, to me: “You’re the most low-key Leo ever. What’s your rising sign?”)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Princess Warrior

I am so happy to announce that I’ll be representing Sheila Arora—one of my LEXICON artists—as an artist agent! (Yes, artist, independent curator, writer, artist agent, mad scientist… I’m a woman of many graphic t-shirts hats.) Sheila’s paintings are an explosion of creativity and color and I couldn’t be more proud to rep them and their creator.

Sheila Arora, Circle Tribe, acrylic on canvas.

Get excited for an interview with Sheila, spotlights on her work, and more!

Speaking of LEXICON, the page (mentioned in the previous post) comparing your written Post-it notes with the artists’ original statements is forthcoming!

(And a reminder to follow Artists on the Lam on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Sold Love & Oil by Aisha Yousaf and my own sketches, Night Nurse, Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herder, Force, and AKA, to Michael Zhou! (First time I put my own art into a show I curated too. [Even though those of you who came to the exhibition know that I hid my drawings in a corner.]) Thank you, Mike!

LEXICON has come down (I was in the space yesterday staring at empty walls), but it’ll live on online; stay tuned for photos of your Post-it notes, as well as the reveal of the artists’ original statements!

Until then: Here, have a photo by Gerard Rodriguez of me in front of Capacity #2 by Brianna Lynn Hernandez Baurichter, charcoal on paper. (Yes, I wore an Éowyn-slapping-the-Witch-King-of-Angmar-a-la-Batman-with-Robin shirt at last week’s artist talks and demos.)

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Sold Oct on My Head by Arturo Mazon last night! As mentioned in the opening reception follow-up post, LEXICON is Art’s first show ever. Thank you to Xavier Johnson—who’s an artist himself / is wearing his amazing Pusheen hat—for supporting emerging talent!

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the LEXICON artist talks, demos, and workshops (which have been featured in Chicago Artist Resource’s Notable Events of the week—thanks!) yesterday evening! Like the opening, it was a blast, and if you continue playing around with your scratchboards at home, take photos of them! I’d love to see your end results. And thank you to artists Angie Redmond, Lisa Goesling, and Zachary J. Williams for letting us into the world of your creative process!

Angie Redmond, Standing Tall with My Purple Rain, oil.

LEXICON ends this Saturday (sniff). If you haven’t gotten a chance to see—and be a part of—the interactive exhibition yet, go! And if you take photos/videos, share them online with the tag #LEXICONchicago!

Friday, July 1, 2016


LEXICON continues! A couple of the interactive show’s artists will be doing talks and demos this coming Wednesday, July 6, 6pm. Create and take home your own etchings, as taught by Lisa Goesling, and watch Angie Redmond (whose works are in the first photo in the previous post) do a live painting!

Lisa Goesling, Spontaneous Combustion, clay & India ink scratchboard.

Admission is free, and all you need to bring is an x-acto knife for Lisa’s workshop. Invite yourself to the Facebook event page.

Also, LEXICON’s been featured in 18 pages of the July/August issue of ACS Magazine! Thank you, Renee LaVerne Rose!

And! I have a new post on Time Out Chicago: 8 art gallery exhibitions to see this month.

Happy 4th of July weekend!

[Update! Zachary J. Williams, who did this powerful painting, will be answering a few questions at the artist talk as well!]

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Neon Heart Eyes

Thank you thank you thank you. To the guests for attending Friday’s opening reception of LEXICON and to the artists for being in the show. You helped make it a great success! After all, this exhibition is all about the art and audience participation, so it’d be nothing without you!

Photo by Sergio Gomez.

I can say with confidence that LEXICON is the best exhibit I’ve curated so far. Which is saying a lot since I’ve always been proud of each of my projects (and still am proud of them—otherwise, I wouldn’t be referencing I CAN DO THAT years later!). You should always continue to improve and grow and surpass the high bar you’ve previously set for yourself. Together we’ll clear the stratosphere.

It makes me so happy that everyone more than embraced the concept of the show. Visitors told me how wonderful it was because normally they’d be too shy to voice their thoughts about art, but the anonymity of the Post-its (like my Dreams of a City postcards) allowed them to do so. Artists told me how wonderful it was because they could now see what people actually thought of their art, and sometimes it was exactly what they had in mind, sometimes it was completely out there, and other times it made them think about their art in a new way, giving them fresh insight into their own work; one artist told me they might even change their artist statement.

People also praised the diversity of the artwork and artists. You can see for yourself how this applies to more apparent elements like race/ethnicity and gender (as an artist who’s a young woman of color, I always try to ensure that artists who don’t usually get the shine they deserve, well, do) and in the art itself, but people also referred to age and experience. (You know the piece I’ve been using for all promo materials? In the artist announcement, on the Facebook event’s header, on the postcard, etc. LEXICON was artist Arturo Mazon’s first show ever.)

Photo by Sergio Gomez.

The most common descriptor for the show was “fun.” I also got “brilliant” and “compelling” often and had viewers tell me that “everyone is raving” about the interactive theme. People thanked me for inspiring them, thanked me for my passion.

Friends kept remarking on the amazing turnout, saying that the parking lot was filled and they had to park blocks away, and that pretty much everyone wandering around on other floors was asking where my event was (sorry, other floors).

Unexpected and hilarious happenings included participating artist Allen Vandever writing “D-” on a Post-it for his own piece to see if he could skew the results. It worked; his painting got some of the most notes and they were extremely positive (strategy: get people to feel sorry for you).

Photo by Sergio Gomez.

I accomplished my mission. Visitors were actually looking at the art, thinking about it, actively engaging with it. (If you attend enough art openings, you’ll know that this is practically unheard of.)

Scott P. Wheeler, husband of participating artist Emily Thornton Calvo, worded it perfectly on the show’s Facebook page:

“Awesome event. Fantastic works, excellent variety. Wonderful training and exercise in the world of art appreciation. This event helped visitors hone their art appreciation skills. Visitors had the unusual opportunity to explore their own interests and gain a better understanding of the kind of art they enjoy and why. It is not easy to assemble a show like this. Congratulations, Jenny Lam!”

You get it.

Some other comments I’m partial to:
“Jenny is a petite powerhouse!” –Renee LaVerne Rose, guest
“Jenny Lam [is a] creative and fearless curator.” –Peggy Shearn, participating artist
“[Jenny’s a] talented badass.” –Cristy Corso, participating artist
“Both [your dad] and I think that some of the artwork are as good as those at Art Basel, if not better.” –my mom in an email (the only opinion that matters, really)

My parents are the best. Photo by Sergio Gomez.

In addition to all the artists and guests, thanks to:
  • Sergio Gomez, who invited me to guest curate a show at the Zhou B Art Center in the first place. (And for doing things like literally putting my name on the wall.)
  • Michael Zhou for the opportunity as well.
  • Those working behind-the-scenes at Zhou B like Carl Virgo and Ronnie, who’s a lifesaver and does everything from running the freight elevator to turning the air conditioning on for me even when he’s not supposed to. Carl installed almost all the pieces—there are nearly 60, mind you—all within a few hours. (Normally, I’m the one who installs most of the art at the shows I curate. And let it be known: Hanging artwork is the one part of the curatorial process that I despise. Imagine my elation when I found out that one man does pretty much all the hanging for the center’s second floor space.)
  • My dear friend and mentor Robin Rios—whose studio is on the fourth floor of the building—for her support and impeccable timing and for referring to me as the Riker to her Picard.

Photo by Sergio Gomez.

All of the artwork can be viewed here. Most are available for purchase. If you have any questions about any piece, feel free to ask me!

Some photos from the reception are here, courtesy of Sergio Gomez.

If you took photos, email them to me! And/or share them on social media and tag them with #LEXICONchicago. Videos too!

Some of you have been asking me about what will happen with the Post-Its: On the last day of the exhibition’s run, I’ll record (whether via photos or typing everything up verbatim) what they all say, give them to the artists, and share the writings online! (I’m thinking of revealing the artists’ original statements as well!)

The exhibition is on view until July 9. Keep checking back to see how it evolves, and stay tuned for news of additional programming like artist talks and demos!

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