Discipline is one of the hardest skills for humankind to maintain consistently, but when we do, the most beautiful, the most innovative and the most impactful events and ideas are birthed. Lynx Nguyen practiced discipline in his art for 7 years and on January 11th put it on display at Atlanta gallery, Mason Fine Art, for all to experience. The show is captivating in a way you maybe never experience at an art show. His work is composed of tiny ballpoint pen markings on large-scale pieces of paper, rare fabric or canvas. Each marking is made using a ballpoint pen attached to a drill. The goal is to fill the page until no white shows on the canvas making up over 1,00,000 tick marks per piece.
This show is both educational and life-altering. Here are 7 life lessons I learned from his 7-year journey:
1. Removing The Ego
Often times, when you go to an art show, your job as a viewer, is to interpret the story. What is the artist attempting to say? We use materials, colors, medium, aesthetic and presentation decisions to piece together a message. As I walked through the show, my instinct was to question each decision made. And while there were a few intentional placements, the show forces you to look at the why opposed to the what. I found that Lynx avoided traditional forms of presentation in hopes of removing superficiality. There was one piece which he didn’t like its placement, but he made the decision to keep it– because it’s not about the visual details, but it is about the message.
If you’ve been to art shows, you know there are several styles and approaches to art shows. More and more artists are breaking the traditional expectations of an art show experience. The experience and the decisions made ultimately should address the artwork. Lynx used recycled wood for a lot of his frames or opted for no frames. His medium is a simple Bic ballpoint pen on canvas or fabric. His sources are inexpensive and accessible. He doesn’t stress about the details of spending hundreds of dollars to impress an audience. He instead used materials that encouraged the viewer to experience deeper than the visual components of the work. We too often are concerned about the superficial. We get so confined by the opinions of others that we reject our own convictions to impress. Choosing a framework that shifts attention to the why is strategic and challenges me to consider the elements in my life that have become about people pleasing.
You cannot leave this show without contemplating the idea of discipline. Lynx series is dedicated to his own daily discipline. He looks to his predecessor Chen Ren who bowed 10,000 times a day for humanity. His work exists in the same way. He sacrifices time and pleasure to focus on mark making. Concentration, consistency are all virtues that are challenged in this practice. What is something in your own life you find difficult to stay disciplined in? Having self-control gives us the ability to accomplish our life goals. When we are able to control what we can do and what we won’t do, we have the power over ourselves and our destiny. Lynx’s own sacrifices remind us that we too have the power to be disciplined, consistent and make an impact using our own gifts.
When you do what you love, there’s no side effect.
4. Finding Your Purpose
How many times have you heard me preach on purpose? Lynx Nguyen is a true example of what living out your purpose looks like. Combining your God-given talents with your life convictions and values to make a difference. Our gifts are not just our own, but ones that should be shared. Lynx’s purpose is to point viewers to eternal direction. How does he do it? His values of self-discipline and perseverance. What does he do? He uses his ability to create art to spread the message. And as he continues to grow, more and more of his purpose will be revealed. “I’m an artist 24/7,” he stated and “when you do what you love there’s no side effect.”
5. Eternal Direction
When I asked Lynx what is his purpose, his response was to enlighten on the eternal direction. This message reiterates that everything before us is temporary. In the center of the exhibition is one of Lynx’s pieces in a frame the shape of a cross, titled Carry One’s Cross Daily. The placement is strategic, as it is what ties the entire exhibition together. Values such as discipline, humility, consistency etc are what make us wealthy. Possessing these characteristics and living them out daily keep us fulfilled. When we focus on the temporary we often find ourselves, stressed and worried. Lynx’s work reminds us that it is our eternal lives that matter most and when we remove our egos we are headed in the right direction.
There is a level of self- awareness that must occur before we begin our journeys to find our purpose. Before Lynx started the series he was producing work he felt would give him popularity. He was faced with the pressure to create based on what the world’s standards are. There’s a feeling deep within yourself that convicts you when you are acting out of character, he obeyed the instinct and changed direction. He realized there had to be more to life than what meets the eye. It is this type of self-reflection that changes the trajectory of life. Lynx’s exhibition encourages viewers to self- reflect and be honest with our direction of life. Listen to the convictions of our hearts.
As I walked through the show, I thought about how much courage it takes to go against the expectations of society. Lynx’s work is simple, and when next to a more visually appealing piece of work is often easily looked over. It takes humility, discipline, and courage to continue to create the work you know you are called to create despite what others have to say about it. Works like Lynx’s provokes a change of heart and ultimately sets out to make the world a better place.
Lynx will have an artist talk at Mason Fine Art on February 10th. The show will be up until February 16th. Here’s a sneak peak of the show:
For more of Lynx’s work visit: lynxnguyen.com
Also be sure to follow him on Instagram: @lynxnguyen3356
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