Document the World Through My Abstract Work, Providence-based Artist Celine Lam

Celine Lam is an artist from Hong Kong. She is currently pursuing her BFA degree at Rhode Island School of Design with two concentrations in Theory and History of Art and Design and Drawing. Her practice revolves around Sino and Hong Kong politics, subtle human interactions, under the context of polarities, and infinity. Bamboo, skeletons, and black and white gradients often appear in her works. Lam’s passion for art comes from her desire to feel, observe, and activate a sense of belonging and empathy in humans. 

Grid World, Mixed media on paper, 18.5×25 in, 2022

Thank you for joining us, Celine. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Celine Lam. I am a painting major senior at Rhode Island School of Design. I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in China and the US. I started drawing/painting when I was little. Chinese ink painting was the first medium I encountered thanks to my elementary school art teacher. I started studying Western art when I was in third grade and went to an art junior high school in China. Coming to the US at the age of 14, I didn’t do any ink paintings until recently. The material is sustainable and I feel very much connected with it. Besides art, I enjoy skiing and most outdoor activities. 

Dirt Road, Mixed media on paper, 18.5×25 in, 2022

What brings you to art? What ideas are you exploring in your practice?

Art has always been part of my life. I started making art when I was little, and becoming an artist was the only thing I wanted to do. I am grateful that my family is very supportive of my passion, which is an essential part of my journey. I talk about politics often in my work, from both macro and micro perspectives. I try to use abstraction to capture the philosophical ideas behind social phenomena and evoke sympathy. 

Bouquet, Acrylic on canvas, 20×30 in, 2022

Do you have a mentor or piece of advice that influenced your practice?

There are many people in my life that influenced the art I make now. One of the most important pieces of advice I get from artists is to always be true to yourself and be persistent. 

What does “community” mean to you? How do you see yourself in a community?

Community reminds me that I am not alone. It helps to solidify our identities and existence. Humans are social species. I appreciate the connections and sincere interactions. Being in a community to me means providing support and feeling comfortable asking for support beyond the context of capitalized value exchanges. In a world where there are so many complicated matters that overwhelm our lives, I want to be the person who can bring peace to minds within a community. 

Untitled, Mixed media on paper, 18.5×25 in, 2022

Is there any advice you would like to share with others?

I suggest our generation pursue their hobbies, and passions at a young age is not as scary as it sounds. There might be some difficulties along the way, but in the end, fruition will come.

I let my art talk for me, and they talk to me sometimes. The intimate relationship between me and my work documents the world and history through my lens, and me through the lens of history.

Humidity, Walnut ink on paper, 20.5×17 in, 2022
Untitled, Mixed media on canvas, 36×16 in,2022

text & photo courtesy of Celine Lam

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