Meet Joan Lok
Joan Lok creates artworks that link Asian tradition to an adventurous, modern viewpoint. Born in Hong Kong, Joan came to America in 1983 after winning an international cultural exchange fellowship. Joan won many awards including the Best of Show from the Sumi-e Society of America and Sumi-e Artists of Canada Joint Exhibition, the Kyoto Education Council Award in Japan, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Contest in America. Joan is listed in Who's Who of American Art. Her art instruction book "Chinese Brush Painting: Flowers" is available in English, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish. Joan lives in Columbia, Maryland and teaches sumi-e workshops locally and across the country.
Art is not just a passion but a way of life to me. I have been painting as long as I can remember. The unforgiving rice paper reacts spontaneously with ink and color, absorbing the energy from my heart while it records the movement of my brush. When I paint, I focus on the creative process, which is exhausting and yet rejuvenating. Outside elements fade and the soul brings out the strength from within.
To capture the fleeting beauty of flowers, I sketch vigorously while they are in bloom. Yet, when I create, I abandon all the preconceived images and focus on the essential few drawn from the mind. The process forces me to select the essence of the subject beyond its earthly appearance.
My art is influenced by my western artistic training but is rooted in the Lingnam School of brush painting and the eastern philosophy towards beauty and the balancing play of yin and yang (positive and negative forces). The images are not photo-realistic yet they feel accessible, erupted with my emotions and passions. I strive to raise the appreciation of nature and capture the grandeur of the universe through my art. Explore with me the beauty of our world and experience the joy of being a part of it.
What's in a Name?
Joan Lok signs her artworks “Rong-Rong”, a childhood nickname that means "Joy and Happiness". The artist's parents named her “Mei-Lok”, which means, “True happiness comes from the beauty of the heart.” “Mei” is “Beauty” and “Lok” is “Happiness". Joan’s Mom believed that beauty is not just the aesthetic appearance but the attainment of wisdom and kindness. Her Dad added that happiness is attained not by gathering material richness but knowing the wealth from within. “True happiness comes from the beauty of the heart” has been Joan’s motto in art and life.
Print of winning artwork at the Howard County Public Library in Maryland
Painting demonstration at Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art on Maryland's Eastern Shore