Many people seek out the beauty and comfort of nature during difficult times. For Hong Kong-based artist Julie Lai, the act of creating lush landscapes helped her heal from life-changing events and deepen her self-awareness. In this project, called Crysalis, solitary figures are surrounded by lavish backgrounds full of color, organic shapes, and expressive brushstrokes that sweep the viewer into the soothing energy of the scene.
“My illustration practice is an ongoing journey that has allowed me to explore my inner landscape deeply,” Lai tells My Modern Met. “It allows me to express my emotions, memories, and experiences in a more honest way. I think ultimately my desire is to authentically express myself through my own perspective, in the hopes that I can connect with others through my illustrations.” The vivid pieces combine imagery from the artist's meditations and merges them with a feeling of the fantastical.
Although the results of this series are breathtaking, for Lai, the act of making it was vital to her healing process. Creating pieces set in sumptuous natural settings was particularly important. “I have always found comfort in drawing nature and being in it,” Lai adds. “I think growing up in such a busy and fast-paced city like Hong Kong, the pockets of nature around the city gave me the opportunity to ground and relax from all the rushing thoughts and worries. The organic forms found in nature influence the shapes that I use in my illustrations.”