Drawing On The Past: Submissions Gallery

Here it is, at long last, all of the digital submissions to our “Drawing On The Past” art project in collaboration with Herschel Supply. If you somehow missed it, I asked people to submit drawings of people, places, and things, that positively affected their lives.

Huge thanks to everyone who took part! The artworks you all sent in were terrific but I was blown away by some of the intensely personal stories many of you shared. I loved reading through them all, and at our art show here in Vancouver (photos here), many people came over to me to share their favourite stories. It was cool to see people actually connecting with the art on the wall (this is something I don’t often see at art shows for some reason).

Sorry it’s taken so long to get all these submissions published, but I think when you see how many there are, and imagine typing them all out, you’ll understand. Big thanks to my sister for helping transcribe all the handwritten stories.





My mother told me about this true story of a family of crows in our backyard. A young crow fell from the nest and got stuck. They never stopped crowing. They got my mother’s attention and she got the young crow free. My mother’s way of showing how unrelentless her love is for me and our family was narrating this story. She told me that like a family of crows, even if one strays away, she’ll never give up on them. My family (including my ancestry) has evolved in so many ways but the traditional ways in which family is vital and strong has never wavered. I am a queer gender-fluid artist and my family of crows (present and past) loves me no matter what. That love will always be present and I can belong.

Name: Lost Boy


See the rest of the submissions below. Just a little warning here, there are A LOT of images for your browser to load.



When I was a child, my parents would bring home reams of perforated continuous dot matrix printer paper for me to draw on. The paper could unfurl endlessly, allowing my drawings to stretch to the limits of my child sized brain. Sadly these drawings are now obsolete, just like the dot matrix printers through which the paper was fed.

Name: James Jean



The ocean at night taught me how to let go.

Name: James Smyyth



Integrity is a word that comes to mind when I think of my Grandfather. British born to humble beginnings and the youngest of his siblings, at a young age he left the country that he loved and ended up in New Zealand via Australia. Sadly while a young teen my mother lost her mother and my grandfather’s wife Iris, which left my grandfather as a solo parent with a young teen to care for. I have a great deal of admiration and love for my grandfather who can surely be credited for a large part of the person my mother grew into. All of this is unspoken though, as a very proper English man, feelings don’t tend to make their way into conversation much, and I never quite knew how I felt about my Grandfather until I was stood over his supposed deathbed saying my final goodbyes. Long story short, my grandfather defied convention and as he was taken off life support he brought himself back from the brink, becoming somewhat of a celebrity in the hospital. Despite this I still never have been able to express my feelings towards him, so when I came across this ‘drawing on the past’ comp, I knew exactly what I wanted to say and draw.

Name: Jason Parker



Years ago, I was lucky enough to have an internship that allowed me to live close to the land, work alongside incredible and genuine people, and help care for 400 Navajo Churro sheep. The sheep were sacred to my friends I worked alongside, their histories woven tightly together. And the sheep were beautiful. Thick hearty coats for desert winters, coats made of colors that reflected the Southwestern landscape. The sheep were ‘threatened’, ‘endangered’, and we made great efforts to contribute to their revival as a whole. When the finances began to crumble, prayers and sweats would fill our humble space nestled against the mesas. I used to think prayer was both silly and scary. I learned that prayer is giving gratitude, humbly asking for help, and sending love. I learned that “any reason to pray is a good one.” And our reason was the beloved sheep: They were adopted by a sweet team from up north – where the grass would be lush for grazing.

Name: Jennifer Anne Nelson



I draw self portraits frequently. Its an old habit from art school; a way to gain extra practice when there was no one else around to draw. After I graduated from art school, I did everything I could to motivate myself to keep making art. Everyday I made something, I would win, even though my work was hidden under my bed. The past 2 years of my art practice, a new man was introduced into my life. 1 ½ years of which were all long distance, documented in various Facebook messages, google chat sessions, text messages, and photos, this man challenged me and encouraged me in new ways—helped set me up with a website and Etsy shop and helped me show and share my work. We’ve now married and I still draw self-portraits, only now he’s a main figure in them.

Name: Jessica Jorgensen



I often wonder what he thinks about. My father is a man of few words but abundant with actions. He is one of my biggest supporters and most influential person in my life. Coming from a broken home himself, he turned out to be an awesome father. Working in construction for over thirty years, taught me to be a hard worker and relentless in reaching my dreams—My pops (Chuy) after a long day’s work in this Texas weather.

Name: Jesus Lopez Jr. (Jesse)



I grew up watching the birds outside perch on the tree by our terrace. As a little kid, I once saw a mother bird leaving its nest so it could feed its crying babies, and compared it to how much I hated it when my mom would leave for work. To this day, it remains one of the best known and most told anecdotes of my childhood. My mom tells me it instilled in me a sense of understanding and acceptance from a young age, but to me it mostly means that even then I already had a love for telling stories from biggest to smallest things I picked up daily.

Name: Joanne de Leon



My submittion to #drawingonthepast communicates an image of a place that I have spent a lot of time at. Although it is a drawing of a place, the concept behind my piece is more about the idea that adventure is and always has been a part of my life. Being outdoors and exploring inspires me more than almost anything, and has always been a good way to keep my mind off the busyness and stress of everyday life. The image itself is a drawing of a fort that myself and some friends constructed. It’s on the riverbank of the Kansas River in the sand. I’ve spent a lot of time here fishing, exploring, roasting s’mores and just hanging out with friends around the campfire.

The idea of adventure and exploration as well as this particular location have both left a positive impact, and I believe they will continue to do so in my life.

Name: Joe Hoog



We’d hold hands on the street, sing the songs she’d learn to pick on the guitar, and once spent two weeks canoeing to Cape Breton together. Sometimes we’d see if we could make each other laugh hard enough to pee our pants and usually one of us would. We haven’t talked in a few weeks and I’m not sure if she’s still in the hospital or not. Sometimes in the city you can feel incredibly isolated.

Name: Jordan Beaulieu



We never called her Grandma. She insisted on Nanny. When I was little, I remember being fascinated by how she looked. She had soft silver white hair. A map of expressive lines covered her face. Her lips always painted in a bright shade of coral red. My parents love to tell the story of when they found us sitting at the kitchen table sharing a can of Tab and bag of pork rinds—I was 5 years old. Favorites from her era—Jazz, Big Band music, and Abbot and Costello Films—became my favorites too. As time passed, my fascination turned into admiration for her spirited character. Her quick Irish wit and straightforward manner always made their way into conversation. All this was matched by her warm caring heart. For family and friends she taught me that happiness more often lies in that which is simple and right in front of us. Just listening to a favorite song or catching up with a friend can turn a day from bad to good.

Name: Kate Murphy



In the past, I didn’t always have many friends. At times, I felt the world was too much for a little girl like me.

Despite that, I always had my books. They invited me in when I wanted a place to stay, and provided distraction and inspiration when I needed it most.

People and places change, but those pages stay the same.

I hope my book collection never stops growing.

Name: Katie So



“恵” or Megumi is one of the kanji characters that make up my name. On its own, it means “blessed.” The Japanese culture is pretty superstitious when it comes to choosing the right characters for a name, and my parents even consulted a fortune teller for both me and my sister. Maybe I’m a little superstitious too as a result, but I believe in the significance of this character in my family. My sister was also named with “恵”, not to mention my beloved foster cousin who came to us from a broken family with Megumi as her name. With so much of what has happened to me so far, the extremity of which I almost lost my life, the fact that I’m still here, breathing, living, surrounded by my loved ones leaves me feelings absolutely blessed.

Name: Kei Ota



Travel has helped mold me into who I am today and will continue to shape who I am in the future. From strengthening my father-daughter bond when I was a little girl, to influencing my career decisions now, and continuing to make me a more open-minded human being… the idea of travel and the experiences I have taken away from those adventures have had a huge impact on my life.

Name: Laura Austin



The most important person in my life other than my parents is this man. This man discovered my talent and passion in art when I was still believing I should be an engineer for the rest of my life. He was the one there for me when I was almost giving up my dream to be an artist. He is the man who understand and accept my weaknesses, encouraged and influenced me becoming a better person then. This man gave me a ring and a life of full time artist without worrying about food and bills. And yes, this man is my beloved husband, Shawn Lee.

Name: Lavennz Ooi



When I was a child, I begged my father to teach me to whittle, so he gave me a pocketknife. Before long I became bored of whittling sticks into points and wanted to learn more exciting things. I discovered that a knife has more uses: for instance, a screwdriver. My father began to teach me how to fix things and build bigger things using bigger tools. As a girl, it seemed unusual that I took more interest in this than my brother did. However, I learned that I am actually quite good at fixing and creating things. Having these skills—skills traditionally taught to boys only—has made me a much more resourceful artist and confident individual. And, I still carry that same pocketknife everywhere.

Name: Linnea Lieth



When I was little I participated in a program where the fathers and daughters would go on monthly campouts to various places in the Midwest USA. I learned archery, how to start a fire, and how to design the most aerodynamic pinewood derby car. These experiences had a direct impact on my sense of self and how I want to go into the world. Independence. Exploration. Adventure. Love of nature. Appreciation of one’s surroundings. These are my core values, and I trace it back to these campouts.

Name: Lisa Wronski



My Dad told me about Joni Mitchell when I was younger, and subsequently when I felt alone or sad, or was trying to be brave, I’d listen to her for comfort. Particularly ‘Blue’—the album she made when she had just split up with Graham Nash. My Dad told me that Blue was his favourite album and recently gave me his original vinyl copy. I listen to it in my room on my own and I feel strong and emotional and brave, and it will always make me think of my Dad and how great he is.

Name: Liv Siddall



The other day I found two photos of a lemonade stand my older cousin Karen and I held back when I (left) was five and she (right) was seven in the suburban streets of Agoura Hills. Back then the lemonade stand seemed more successful than it was but the photo shows the empty neighborhood. I think we made our $30 and it made our day! I have three older brothers and always wanted a sister and so I looked up to my most delightful and super cool big cousin Karen because she wasn’t afraid to say what was on her mind and she would stand up to my teasing brothers. Looking back on that lemonade stand I remember now my brothers held their own lemonade stand but with Kool-Aid right next to us for competition! We all had a sleepover that night before and made forts and cooked eggs and toast ourselves for breakfast. Anyways, I am grateful to have these photos to remind me of the innocent and passionate ways of our childhood in the suburban streets of Agoura Hills and to have Karen in my life who I can see my other cousins look up to as well. Karen will be a wonderful farmer.

Name: Lucy Drury



I’ve first met Maja five years ago and without even realizing she was going through some hard time then, it struck me how a person can possess so much energy that she really had to share it with other people. This attitude was new, completely new to me and made me find so much more energy and spontaneity in myself. By showing me all the different shapes of a moment and the flavors, how much of that depends entirely on yourself, she’s set me in a different direction, and although we’ve separated from each other, I can’t imagine my current relationships with people would be so truthful, pure and satisfying if it weren’t for Maja. Thank you, my dear friend.

Name: Maciej Wichnowski



This is my long distance best friend, making a face in one of our photo booth strips. I’m not from the Americas but I was in the States for an exchange program and that was the first time I ever did “something big,” even if it was temporary. We started talking a lot more once I resided in the States since we weren’t separated by a 14 hour time difference anymore, but rather a mere two-hour difference. Dare I say that she became my ball of light throughout my journey. I’d always thought I could handle everything myself until my first day of school there. I couldn’t speak up, I couldn’t stand out for a long, long time. I relied too much on time to work its magic. But in the end of the day, I could always talk to her about how my day really was. I’d tell her about my little plans to improve myself during my time there. And there were times when I decided to be a coward and refrain from doing anything. but she was still there for me, and it made things easier. So here I am. Home. Holding onto her. Trying my best to move on.

Name: Maisha Rachnat



There’s a large age gap between my sisters and I; this print is the bedding from their childhood, and then of course, mine. I’ve always seen my sisters in a golden light—wanting to be more grown up and cool like them.

When I moved to San Francisco (grew up), I borrowed this bedding from our parents. I’ve always been a “nostalgic-hoarder” for my family and this print reminds me of home, being a child, and wanting to grow up too fast. It more specifically reminds me that I am still a child and the desire to be ‘cool’ like my sisters is the reality I’m living! Life’s funny that way.

Name: Mallory Lucille Rose



Russell Alton changed my life. He moved to be with me in Vancouver shortly after we became a couple 5 years ago and, since then, I’ve become a better person. Because of him, I’m more socially conscious and politically minded, more outspoken about my beliefs, more confident in myself. Our life together seems nearly effortless as we both follow our dreams of making a life out of our art. He reminds me to be less serious and helps me to enjoy every day.

Name: Mandy Tsung



My grandfather taught me a lot.

From fishing, building a fort, to swimming.

He was my best friend, we spent a lot of time together in our imaginary world full of animals, water, nature, and adventure. In my work I’m constantly going back to that.

Name: Marcelina Amelia



This is Linh Nguyen, my sister. Growing up with Linh was not the easiest thing in the world because of her illness. She would constantly follow me around and did everything I did. I constantly got annoyed but looking back I realized her willingness to learn and explore was like no other. I am still trying to learn how to be like her everyday. Thanks to her I see the tremendous value of human life and the importance of not taking people for granted. Also her fave colour was blue 🙂

Name: Maria Nguyen @dtnart



The boat shuttle rustles speedily from East to West; the rhythmic rise and fall of the warp and weft; the smell of freshly unraveled cotton and linen yarn and the almost poetic interchange of shafts as geometric designs unfold… Weaving on a handloom. Made me appreciate my cultural heritage and gave me a life purpose to bring back the joy of hand crafting stuff through applied arts.

Name: Mary Joanne Lesaca



My favorite place in the world is Bear’s Head falls in far West Texas. It is the most active waterfall in hundreds of miles of harsh desert. As a kid I got to spend my summer there. Now that I’m older it has become sacred to me. It’s the kind of place that feels like it was made for you. When I feel bad I imagine myself there, and I’m more at ease.

Name: Matt Panuska




Name: Matt del Biondi



I’m sure most can name this location. Not only has China positively affected me due to the fact I spent half my life growing up there, but it has also taught me many things. Growing up in a large metropolitan city with lots of history has taught me to appreciate new and old, in life and art.

Name: Matthias Lund



I struggled for a long time to pinpoint something for this project, hence this being finished so late. I feel like my memories blur together and I’ll forget the simple nuances of life if I don’t stop and consciously reflect on them.

This drawing is of my best friend. He is my brother and at times I think we are the same human. He helped my love of music flourish and was my family while my parents were captivated by my sister’s drug addiction. He always supported me creating whatever I was doing at the time and had a way rad fort where we would just hang out and talk for hours on end. I also met my now wife at his house when I was 15 and I can’t think of a more positive effect than that. We’ve fallen a little out of touch since life has pulled us in different directions but I will consider him my best friend and brother till the day I die. XXX

Name: McKay Felt



As we get older and experience new locations, our idea of home expands and there becomes a sort of juxtaposition inside of yourself. He is a writer, and has helped me to unravel the thoughts in my head onto paper. This is for him and the places we have travelled together, making each new place an infinite part of our story and our inner world.

Name: Megan Reiley



Nearly three years ago I met this individual right in my own neighborhood. This man has helped me learn that in order to be in a loving relationship, one must first be happy and love oneself. There is no one else on Earth I can be completely naked with—inside and out. I know we can always count on each other to support one another’s life goals. He is my soulmate. He is a dream.

Name: Amy P. Ozga



Growing up with an architect father, blueprints have become a nostalgic image even though technology has improved upon traditional methods. As I’m trying to figure out my own life, I’m constantly pulling inspiration from the past. I have discovered there is this creative passion and entrepreneurial spirit that exists and is shared among relatives. Some I have never met but feel I know through stories so in a way that is their blueprint. While the future is always unknown, I have these great plans to reference and make additions of my own.

Name: Natalie Renier



This is the darling Linda Xu. Linda is a very important part of my life because we have a mutual fondness and deep heartfelt respect for each other. Despite meeting each other years ago, we’ve never had any moment where our bond has ever waned. And I feel like she keeps me going when I question myself or even just when we’re hanging out. Linda has proven to me that even when you seem all alone, in the darkest reaches of your mind, that there is always someone that will be there to pull you out and smile with you no matter what.

Name: Patrick Paluszewski



This is the receipt from the first time I went to a movie alone. It serves as a reminder to me that I can indulge, and enjoy life all by myself. My choices are valid and I don’t need someone to always hold my hand.

Name: Rachel Hines



This is a mama shop, something we Singaporeans basically call a convenience store at the lobby of our apartment. I would never forget the times I had after school when I used the few cents I had to buy a small snack or toy. Even when I couldn’t afford to buy anything, just looking at the wonderful chaos of stuff and eye candy made my childhood memorable and is still part of me today.

Name: Regina Ying



I remember discovering how camera film and motion picture reels worked and became fascinated with the process. The idea of printing the still and moving image inspired me and taught me how you can put your imagination to paper and make your ideas and visuals in your head real.

Name: Rick Chung



This is my grandmother, Barb. She describes herself as a tough old bird. I agree with her. She is 82 and has spent more of those years taking care of folks. She cared for my grandfather through a long illness and raised me from the age of 5. We were just two of many. I take care of her now. She has lived with my family for 10 years. It has not been easy. Barb will never know when to stop being the caregiver and she will fight tooth and nail. I both admire and dislike that about her. I dislike it because I just want to repay her for the life that she gave me. When I draw her, I forget the need to make her aware that I appreciate her. When I draw her, I think of who she is… tough old bird, firecracker, romance novel reader, dirty joke telling yet well mannered, and surprisingly sentimental Barb.

Name: Rikkianne Van Kirk



The most of what I can remember about my grandmother is her clothes. The colors she wore, the patterns and how her clothing always stayed crisp and clean. I remember her taking me to fabric stores and small textile shop around the corner from our home in Pakistan. From a young age she helped me find what I was suppose to be in life and that now because of her guidance I have a BFA in Printmaking.

Name: Saira Anum



Last winter, my mother, twin sister and I visited Southern California where we hiked, biked and drove our way from Los Angeles to San Diego and back. In between was Palm Desert and Joshua Tree. I hadn’t expected to feel such peace there. Seeing the sunlight hit the mountains every morning, watching colors shift throughout the day, was all I needed. Visiting California gave me a much more positive outlook and some time soon I hope to call this place home.

Name: Sarah Ostaszewski



From my toddler to teen years, I spent every summer in the Catskills, or “Datcha” as we called it in Russian. I would stay for those 3 long, hot summer months with my grandma, getting over-fed, forced to spend time outside, being active, with very little access to technology besides one faulty TV in the community room. Our family friends would do the same thing, and so a community of kids staying with grandmas was born. As I got older, I resented this forced time spend upstate—it felt wasted, uncool, and sometimes painfully boring. I didn’t realize it then, but so many of my memories there, my upbringing, and experiences only known to country-life would shape me into who I am today. It is a treasure trove of memories that I often look back on for inspiration with my art, for stories, life lessons, and a general appreciation for living life simply and without distractions.

Name: Sasha Taran



Back then, I was just a coward girl who built an invisible wall to protect my difference from other people. Until I met him who acknowledge my existence as who I really am. And by his wise words, I don’t need to hide myself behind the mask of imposture ever. Again.

Name: Sasita



This is battle damage skeletor! After many battles with he-man, battle damage skeletor, broke in two! “Oh no!” Battle damage skeletor taught me, rather than worry about him being broken, that he had even more battle damage. He-man was now able to slice skeletor in half. The moral of the story, sometimes when things break, they aren’t really broken, they are COOLER!!!

Name: Scott Stanley



Mar–my grandmother

She was always the best fun.

Name: Sophie Walshe



My dog Xochitl, “Xochie” for short, is a Siberian Husky found on the outskirts of my city. A runaway or perhaps abandoned, he was placed with me to foster since I had a fenced-in yard. He was quite the handful, esp. early on, climbing over fences like a monkey and disappearing days on end. If not picked up by animal control, he would return, his coat covered in burrs, mud, (and once nasturtium blossoms stuck about his collar) betraying the nature of his adventures. No one ever claimed him and I grew attached.

Name: Susan Schmieding



These are the three imaginary friends I had when I was a child. Robin Nabin lived in the curtains at my house and always wore a mustard yellow catsuit. Her best friend was Mary Jo Blu who was all things Blue. Rizwald was Mary Jo Blu’s son who was a rockstar/owned a chain of fast food restaurants. They’re my first real indicators of my wild imagination.

Name: Suzy



That was one of the most amazing trips of my life. We were surrounded by peace, love and happiness. It was all so simple, but we laughed the whole time. I’m glad to have had experiences like. No worries, no troubles. It was all fellowship! There are many moments in my childhood that I could draw. But it would be too obvious (to me). At the time of this drawing, we didn’t have much money or many dreams. I think that’s why we were so happy at that moment.

Name: Tamara Corendey



For me, a very important “Thing” that has had a positive impact in my life is “The Internet”. Even though it is something that doesn’t have a taste, smell or physical form, it’s the tool that has made me feel the most emotions.

I’m from a very small city in Mexico and I came to Canada almost three years ago. Thanks to the Internet I have been able to be relatively close contact with the people that I love the most. The Internet also helps me to be aware of the conflicts that are happening in my country allowing me to share information with those who don’t have access to the net.

The internet is the best school that I have ever attended, and it has given me the chance to find the work of people that I deeply admire and even meet some of my dearest friends.

I have found the Internet to be the best source of inspiration for music, art and films, but above all, it is the window that lets me share and express myself through my painting, and to me, that’s invaluable.

The Internet is a bridge on the river that makes me feel close to home, and empowers me to cross the limits of my imagination.

Name: Tania Orozco Valencia



The person depicted is present but staged with a backdrop from the past. We got together quite late. And when we do, we learn each other and pick up a lot of common interests. She shows me how to enjoy life and turn it around for the better.

The backdrop is based on a place during a trip last year. We both loved the place, among the favourites that we share.

Name: Chan Wan



In 2009 shortly after I started a blog on tumbler called “Supersonic Electronic” I took a trip to San Francisco with my friend Derick. Derick happened to randomly get a tattoo at the legendary Skull & Sword tattoo parlor, where I had the pleasure of gazing at the walls covered in beautiful art, all the time thinking to mysef: “The world needs to see this beauty.” I set about making Supersonic devoted solely to art. Since then San Francisco has given me many things: a best friend and collaborator in Ken Herman; dream jobs such as writing for Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz; love from a girl I met on New Years Eve like in some crazy film or novel (Leah) and three (soon 4) highly successful art shows based on my blog. San Francisco is no longer a place to me. It’s part of me.

Name: Zach Tutor



My dad is the most selfless person I’ve ever known. He sacrificed everything he knew and loved in Vietnam to bring my brothers and me to the states. There, he worked at a meagre rate of $5/hr without knowing a lick of English, struggling 70+ hours a week for 24 years so that we could transition from poor refugees living in a half house to sending me to an extremely expensive college so that I could have the luxury of pursuing what I wanted.

Name: Tran Nguyen



He wasn’t my biological grandfather, but he felt like one. Curly owned an antique store in his youth, and his vast collection of art took a permanent residency in his west side home. His house was a museum for other people’s memories—objects that had years of stories, yet no one to tell them to. They were safe there, and they beckoned you to listen. Yet, amidst all of his “things,” Curly didn’t care for material possessions and he gave freely to those in need. It started slowly, but the word got out fast that Curly would take anyone in and give them money; always with the hope that he could turn their lives around, always with the hope that they would be able to own objects with their own stories someday. Years passed. He became ill and we returned to his house often to care for him. To my expected dismay, his once calico walls were bare. They had turned his backyard into a meth lab and pawned off nearly everything he owned for drug money. His museum had disintegrated, and the most important relic—himself—was dying with it.

On his deathbed, he gave me one of the few things he still owned: a photo of him and a friend in Hamburg during WWII. “Don’t tell your mother,” he said, “the woman in the middle was a prostitute.”

I aim to create the vague narratives he inspired.

Name: Alexis V. Rausch



My best friend since grade 3 Martha. One rainy day in elementary school she brought a big bag of gummy bears to school. Being her best friend I had the privilege of sharing them with her. At recess some girls we didn’t normally talk to came up to us and asked Martha if they could have some. Before Martha replied my inner voice replied “Of course not, these are ours!!” I was sure Martha felt the same way and would reply as such. Instead she said “sure” and gave them almost half the bag. One of the girls dropped a few in a puddle by accident and Martha gave her more to replace them. I had never seen such unburdened generosity in my life and in that moment my selfish voice quieted and hasn’t spoken much since.

Name: Alicia



I’ve been drawing these mandalas for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I scribbled very basic, lopsided versions, calling them flowers. As years passed and with lots of practice, I found my freehanded mandalas becoming more intricate and symmetrical.

I wrote my urge to draw these things off as nothing special for many years. But this year I found out through my cousin that my Lola (Grandma) on my Mom’s side, who lived in the Philippines and whom I only met a handful of times before she passed away a few years ago, crocheted intricate mandalas her entire life!

It sounds weird, but discovering this, made SO MUCH SENSE of my urge to create them all the time. It feels pretty amazing to realize I had a connection with her, despite being oceans away and only having met her a few times.

This one’s for you, Lola!

Name: Alli Bautista



These are my stuffed animals. I got this one when I was little. Then all I could say was Ning Ning. That’s how he got his name. The other doll I got when I was 4 or 5. I call her Dolly. I can’t go anywhere without them. They are my life.

Name: Ally Parkinson



My dad was a humble and simple man. He passed away from skin cancer when I was 14. This photo epitomizes his character. Always stoicly goofy. He will always be an inspiration for me to lead the best life I possibly can and to always remember he is with me. (P.S. He is wearing a lamp shade inside out.)

Name: Andrew Dwyer



This is one of the first creatures I invented when I was about 8 years old. It doesn’t have a name, but runs in the desert, with the body of a kiwi, a honking nose and ram horns. This was special because it was one of the first characters that felt very real to me, and gave me confidence to keep drawing. This is my first reimagining of the creature in 21 years.

Name: Andrew Thomas Huang



“I want laugh lines just like my grandma when I grow up” is something I would often say. I was 13 when my grandma passed away. I will forever be curious about who I would be today if she were still in my life. She was a painter, jewelry maker, barbie collector, piano player. She was an artist. Being crafty and creative is in my blood and I owe it all to her. I remember very clearly how she would teach me how to draw a silouette of a woman’s profile. So with her very own pencil crayons, I’ve made her profile in a crescent moon to let her know I’m watching for her. The cloudy balloons are because today is my birthday and I’m so happy to have drawn this on this day.

Name: Angela Lewis



We met along the US-Mexico border. My dad made a pit stop and two dollars later she was mine. I dragged this little green chair everywhere: It was my invitation to any table, my perch for every out look, my ticket to late night TV; it was a pilot’s jump seat, a talk show host’s recliner, a royal’s throne. It saw me tie my first set of laces and was the essential component to any makeshift lap-desk on which I’d paint and draw till time forgotten.

One day, I saw my friend for what it was a small plastic chair. I’d outgrown its elegant simplicity but was forever changed in the way I viewed the world around me. I’d learned that an open mind can make any thing everything and this attitude not only drove me to the Art Department but has been an invaluable asset on set, to me and the many people with whom I work.

I love my little chair and although it’s gone I keep its memory and symbol with me always.

Name: Angie Amaro



Time spent drawing together with my little brother Erik is always inspiring. His way of using pens on paper reminds me to not overthink and trust my gut. We never teach each other, we just sit side by side and draw. And it makes us both happy. (T-shirt design is made by him).

Name: Ann Pajuväli



It was about 6 years ago when we first met. And it was about 6 days ago when he passed away.

We’ve barely talked but I don’t know why I remember so well about our first conversation, it’s about music. He introduced me to the music I’ve never listened to before. His list of artists and bands was like a beginning for me to discover the others. Music had slowly start to grow on me for the past few years without me knowing it and suddenly turned into my obsession nowadays.

We both graduated from the same college last year. After that, we’ve met few times, and again, we’ve barely talked. Until few weeks ago I’ve accidentally met him, didn’t expect that it would be the last time. He knew that I was recently forming a band and I was new to all electronic instruments. As we talked, I didn’t realize before that he owned a lot of it and he told me that he would lend me his instruments and also would like to come to my gigs. I thanked him and I told him I’d let him know. But it’s too late. On the very same day I had a gig, he’s gone forever. He will never get to come to my gigs and I will never get to borrow his instruments. But I will never forget that he inspired me a lot. He was like a little light that guides me to walk on the music path. It meant a lot to me and I hope he hears me now. Sleep well, my friend. I should have talked to you more.

Name: Anya Muangkote



My father has sacrificed so much for me. He hasn’t bought a new car in over 10 years so that he could send my siblings and I to an expensive school. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to go places or experience things which have made me who I am today. The journey of life has taught me one important thing: ‘You may not end up where you intended on going, but you’ll definitely end up where you need to be.’ Dad is sincere and selflessly caring in everything he does. He deserves a lot more credit than he gets, and I can only hope to be half the person that he is.

Name: Arinah Rizal (




Name: Benjamin Martins @benjaminmartinsart



My little brother is one year younger than me and absolutely one of the best f*cking people in the galaxy. We moved around a lot as kids. Both of us have had some pretty dubious friends. He’s my constant. We play video games (well, sometimes he plays video games and I provide totally necessary and amusing commentary) and shout-laugh at each other (after a while any cooperative game devolves into us trying to kill each other).

We sing together. We used to do it whenever we had to do the dishes, but that’s less now that we work. He taught himself the f*cking piano so he could play ‘Landed’. He’s brilliant at it, actually. We performed together for the first time in high school, and I really hope we get to do it again. You know the whole thing about ‘secure attachment’? It turns out having a built-in best buddy makes you a lot less nervous about the rest of your life. My little brother is a rockstar. And he’s made me less of a coward. He’s pretty much the best.

Name: Bernadette Meeker



There is one man that has showed me the ways of the world. A hero in the truest sense of the word. That man is Goku! The entire universe would be gripped in the wrath of Frieza if it wasn’t for his Kamehameha. I will always strive to be a blonde blue eyed Super Saiyan!

Name: Jasper Wong



This is my grandpa, Tom Loving. While I probably didn’t realize how influential he would be to me when I was younger, I see now as an adult just how important our road trips and time on the river were to me. He’s a kind, caring man who instilled in me a spirit of adventure and wonder. He’s a big man with an even bigger heart and it’s a joy realizing that may of the quirks that drove me nuts as a kid have manifested themselves into my own personality. Here’s to the scenic route old man!

Name: Brandon Loving



I was born blind in my right eye and had surgery at the age of 7. They discovered after my operation what disease I had and told my parents that I would go completely blind by the age of 16. The doctor’s suggested activities like music to pursue if the inevitable were to happen. Knowing the possibility of going blind, my parents had me try other things, like playing the piano, but saw my passion for drawing and painting. They encouraged my love for art to grow. By the age of 13 there was no longer a trace of my disease. So thank you mom and dad, for seeing and letting me pursue the love for art I have because I could have easily gone in another direction without your support.

Name: Brian Kies



This is my mom. She’s loved me my entire life, even when I was 13. Childcare is hard, and it takes a really special lady to raise a semi-productive member of society instead of a racist or a serial killer or something. I’m really glad I have her in my life to shove my lazy butt in the right direction and be my friend when no one else will.

Name: Emily



The two people in the drawing are Kristin and Melle. These two friends of mine are the most crazy, creative and intelligent people I know. The place in the drawing is an old abandoned building at the campus of Universiteit van Twente. We broke into it and wandered around during evening. I love how adventurous my friends are. They add something nice to my life and make it so much better.

Unfortunately Kristin got back to America two weeks ago. She was an exchange student here at the art academy I also attend. I will visit her one day and have some adventures in America.

Name: Caroline Krajenbrink


My mother used to leave me at my grandparent’s house while she went to work. Most of my earliest memories are set in that kitchen. My two aunts spent most of their time there with me. Ana creating incredible meals, and Amalia (Pipi) who gave me a Paintbrush and the POWER. I remember it clearly: her notebook with gorgeous plants and flowers, those colors!! I was amazed. I still have my red smiling daisies all mix up in colors. Nowadays the kitchen is no longer the same but still my favourite by far. This very week, a new breast cancer has been found in Pipi (just after the reconstruction surgery in the other). I want to THANK them forever. Those days and the joy I feel every time I open a watercolor box or taste an authentic meal. These are my FLOWERS of strength to Pipi and for having them (both) in life.

Name: Catalina



This boy’s name is Rodrigo. He taught me to love.

In 2012 I met Rodrigo in a marketplace where I sell my engravings. Our first date was in ‘Lido,’ a striper club in downtown Santiago city. We drank beer looking at naked girls, and he gave me a crashed car as a birthday gift.

He was always a very special person to me, he is not like anyone I’ve ever met. Thanks to him I am the person I am today.

Name: Catalina Rozas



This is my 7th birthday party. My mom let me open gifts outside, and I had just unwrapped a Rubbermaid tote full of art supplies given to me by my grandparents. Art supplies were regular gifts for me throughout my childhood and into early adulthood, as my entire family—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc—supported my love for art. I wanted to be an artist from the first time I could grip a crayon, and my family never made me feel like that was an unrealistic goal. Not only did they give me the tools I needed to practice, but they also gave me the freedom to create whatever I wanted without judgment and the confidence to never doubt myself. Without their love and support, I would not be the artist or the strong-willed woman I am today. I hold tight to memories such as these because they remind me of how blessed I truly am.

Name: Chelsie Musselman (@capital_c_artwork)



We could never get through a conversation without quarrel. Maybe because to myself and my younger sibling, it was quite clear whom the adults preferred. Which we may have taken advantage of then. A year after graduation from university, away form each other, she, a prospective ‘reverent sister,’ something has changed. I’ve realized what it is that endears her to everyone. She is the rock that weathers my ongoing professional, emotional and spiritual development. She does love me, and I love her, who gave up a career in medicine to pursue a religious life, the most unselfish sacrifice anyone would make. My Sister, My Best friend, My heart.

Name: Chinelo Vivian



This is a portrait of my Dad. He put everything he had into my college education, paying my way through two architectural degrees.

Today, however, I am an artist, not an architect.

This portrait was drawn with an architectural design program as an homage to my Dad and the sacrifices he made, all of which have uniquely enriched my art career.

Name: Christopher Gideon



Natty Boh tower in Canton, Baltimore. My family is from Butchers Hill Baltimore, and this was one of the most visible landmarks in that part of the city. It used to be the main brewery/shipping center for National Bohemian Beer, which is the quintessential Baltimore blue collar brew; you can only get Natty Boh in and around Baltimore. I moved to Los Angeles this year so I haven’t been able to get it. I’ll always associate home with Natty Boh as I got through some of the best and worst times with my family and friends with a Boh nearby. It makes me glad Mr. Boh is still there watching over all my loved ones back home.

Name: Crisanto Cimatu



The first day of Pre-k 4, I drew Arnold for my classmates. I was a timid new girl, but didn’t need to be loud and outspoken to make friends.

I just needed a pencil and paper.

Name: Cristi López



On the 23rd of July 2011 I told my mom about my sexuality. At that time I was just 14 but I already knew that I was sexually more attracted to boys than to girls for two years. We were on a holiday trip to Fuerte Ventura, one of the Canary Islands.

I asked my mother if she would like to talk for a minute. And we sat or a bench with a great view of the peaceful ocean and the big white moon. It was a moment of stress, relieve and so much more emotions.

My mother reacted just as I hoped she would react. With many hugs and sweet words. From that moment my life took a great positive turn and I got more confident about myself.


Name: Daan Lucas



This is my oldest and best friend. We met in Grade 3, and from that point on both decided to be artists. We drew together every day, and for several years we were inseparable. I later moved away—he didn’t. We both still looked to art through arduous times—and there were plenty. We always had that. He asked me for help in every way except outright asking for it; he believed in karma religiously.

The last time I saw him was in April. I ditched him in a cab and told him I’d follow right after.

I missed his funeral four months later.



The reason for my drawing being an insulin bottle is due to the fact that I have lived with type 1 diabetes since I was a child; without it I’d be dead. Whenever I smell insulin it takes me back to the 3rd grade. There was a boy who sat next to me in class who ALWAYS smelled like school cafeteria maple syrup, I despised him for it. Years later, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I realized, I had a smell of my own; insulin. As a result I have embraced my insulin smell and the smell of those around me. In fact, I work with children who tend to radiate very confusing smells at times. Everyday the smell of insulin reminds me to be kind to everyone, regardless of their stink. 🙂

Name: Denisse Orduño



Its hard to write something like this without sounding overly sentimental or hackneyed, but my younger brother has always been a model for me. Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia when he was six, by twenty he maintains a fluency in three foreign languages and can read and write in several others. I doubt he knows, but his resiliency and determination have fed my efforts since we were kids, and his support and inspiration have been a driving force in forming the artist I am today.

Name: Eben Haines



Growing up in a traditional Vietnamese family in the Midwest, I knew at a young age that I was not “normal.” I felt it as I was the only Asian girl in Oklahoma. Black hair and English being a second language didn’t help my sheepishness. From the get go, growing a thick skin was essential for me to become comfortable with my uniqueness. Over the years, I have learned to love my quirks and also encourage others to embrace their inner “Black Sheep” because this is what makes us human—we are all beautifully different.

Name: EMDVuong @nestingzone



When I was younger, I went to Paris and visited the Louvre. Surrounded by so many great art from centuries ago was just so overwhelming. It made me even more certain that I wanted to be an artist when I’m older. Here I am now, just turned a year older and living the dream I wished for when I was young and reckless.

Name: Elly Liyana



My parents have been camping in Cypress Hill since I was two, and have gone back nearly every year since. The smell of the trees, the light, the wind, the sounds of the forest, they’re a part of my childhood and who I am today. I only hope my children will grow up with the same love of the place as I did.

Name: Faith B. Logan



This thing from my past is a pencil. It was very different from all the other pencils I’ve ever had. One thing I remember was making it into a squiggle shape, which I find very odd thinking about it.

Anyway this pencil has positively affected my life because… I’d use it to draw, and drawing has always been my outlet.

Name: Francis P. Agustin



V. is a former professor, a truly compassionate person to his friends, students, and community. I met him in a small town, and after a few months, noticing how quiet I was, he strived to make a connection with me. He took time after class to check up on me in person or through email, even if I wasn’t very responsive, he persevered. Being a transplant himself, V. shared his experience of moving and living somewhere he felt he did not belong and he used his artwork as a way to familiarize himself with the town and community. This use of honesty and transformation of adverse situations was something he encouraged me to pursue unapologetically in my life and in my work.

Name: Gabriel Garcia



I experienced love at first sight and had my heart broken on the same day when I was 7. It was when I saw Keith Haring’s work for the first time. I still remember the genuine love I felt for his paintings and, consequently, for him. My heart literally cracked when I realized he was dead. I just couldn’t believe that something as powerful as his art was never going to be back to life. That day my life changed completely. Keith Haring is certainly one of the reasons why I love and make art today.

Name: Giorgia Brugnoli



When I was 8 years old dad bought me a chipmunk, I called her Moreoko. She had big eyes, stripes on her back and she loved peanuts. I wanted us to be best friends, but I could also see that she was unhappy living in the cage. So one morning I took her to the local woods and let her free. She climbed the biggest pint tree without looking back. I learned to let go of my childish selfishness to see another creature happy. It’s still a dear memory to me.

Name: GC



Last October I travelled to Zushi, Japan and stayed with my relatives (some of whom I had never met before). I spent my days discovering these streets on a bicycle sketching, meeting new people, contemplating and experiencing a new culture. Since then I have returned to Wales and have brought a part of that country with me.

As a 17 year old, travelling independently to this place has really added to my growth as an individual. Japan has inspired many aspects of my life… art, culture and harmony with nature. It has filled me with a hunger to return there.

Name: Gwenllian Saran



This is the view from my childhood bedroom from what I can remember. Growing up/living in the South you can take for granted how beautiful and idiosyncratic the trees and foliage are. It’s not much, but waking up this view gave me a real reverance for nature I may not have had growing up elsewhere.

Name: Harrison G. Prince



Having grown up with a very close relationship to our natural landscape, I’ve always been hugely attracted and affected to the quietness, stillness and magic of the woods. It has taught me patience and appreciation, ease and desire for solitude, and an infinite ability to listen, often in silence, and be grateful for what simply is, basic beingness.

Name: Hannah Stouffer



50 years ago my Dad along with his four brothers and my grandfather began fixing up a run down farm in Vermont. By the time I was alive, the vermin had long moved out and what was left was a magical home filled with old treasures. I grew up there alongside 15 cousins and six dogs, building forts and jumps all day. Just getting outside, exploring the woods and fishing and stuff. It ruled. It was also there, at foxford farm, that I first felt compelled to start documenting things with video and photo because we were doing things that I thought were so fun and so cool that I wanted to be able to re-visit it always and remember.

Name: Ian Durkin



I had never in my mind, thought that I’d be in the creative field to earn a living. I know I had been drawing from a young age, but it was all just a hobby. Thinking of it now, I am glad it didn’t fade away and it is one of the things that gave a positive impact in my life. I had always been a little bit off and timid, but being able to draw gave me the confidence I never had. It gave me a sense of belonging. Because being creative gave me the door to endless possibilities.

Name: Ieqa Bethari



This is the portrait of Jesse Pinkman, one of the characters of Breaking Bad TV series. It was so interesting to observe the development of Jesse’s character during the show. From the beginning of series he made an impression of careless junky, trouble-maker but even then he has human kindness and morals inside, which grew more and more as the series continue. To my mind, Jesse’s character is a good example of the person who believes he can change and have a better life, he has hope, despite mistakes made in the past. I think there is a lot to learn from him.

Name: Ira Shepel



A humorous ode to my best friend. Upon meeting in our version of the Emerald City, I became the Scarecrow to his Gin Man. We skipped down the Yellow Brick Lane looking for adventure, all the while enlightening me about his unique homeland and the goings on of this world.

Name: Jerry Atrick


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