Art is the most influential source in the world— a source for pleasure, healing, and nostalgia—a source for inspiration and cultivation. And what makes good art is debatable to some, but what makes timeless art cannot be argued. Work that has stood the test of time, no matter the medium, not only breaks media trends and explores historical and or contemporary nuances, but it more importantly provokes change.
Lynx Nguyen an Atlanta based contemporary artist understands this concept and utilizes his work as a way to promote positive self reflection and purity in the minds and spirits of not only himself, but those who view and support his work locally and abroad. His most recent works confront a troubling hindrance for many creatives, entrepreneurs, health enthusiasts and everyday people—self-discipline. How many times have you promised yourself you’d start a project, change your diet or start writing that business plan you’d been itching to begin, but failed to act on it? Self- discipline is a hard trait to grasp for many, but Lynx has blended his artistic talent with spiritual restraint and in the process produced a portfolio of work rich in control and reflection.
When first glancing at Lynx’s work, one does not instantaneously notice it’s complexity. The pieces appear flat with a colorful sheen, depicting an ocean like reflection if towering over either work. It takes a special eye to notice the tiny individual tally marks that cover the entire sheet of paper until there is no sign of white space. Lynx’s uses a self-made drill and attaches a ball -point pen to it, which marks the sheet 4,000 marks per minute. The process takes 8-10 layers of marks to get the job done—totaling close to over 2 million ticks per piece. The significance of each mark he explains is “very simple, each mark is each breath [you’re] alive, each mark is like each second you live.” He explains that the marks are also a reflection of his heart, “you can tell by looking at the mark, is my heart focused is my heart settled or is [it] full of hatred or anger?” If a mark for example is shaped inward, it is an indication of his self-reflection, on the contrary if the mark is loose, it is an indication of his loss of control. Other marks perpetuate his on-going determination to be disciplined. His character is even present in his choice of medium, while the colors and paper don’t hold heavy significance, the simple materials Lynx uses to create fine art are remarkable demonstrations of his resourcefulness and lack of ego.
“The mission is [to use] this work to deliver the message of eternal direction, not just the temporary.”
Lynx’s work is not about technique or visual seduction, but rather his creation of artwork is his tunnel to growing daily and encouraging self-reflection in himself and others. He however was not always the enlightened artist he is today. During his Undergrad, Lynx studied the greats like Michangelo and
Rembrant and recreated their most famous works. He focused also on portraits and still life as a painter, “I wanted to be a modern Rembrandt,” he remembers. He felt compelled at times to even create work that was over- sexualized and trendy. “I had been doing that because I thought that’s what makes you an artist, but you’re missing something inside.”
His art teaches us that we should always strive to live from the inward out and not the other way around–a mantra inspired by his predecessor, Chen Ren, a woman of strong selflessness and self-discipline devoting her life to bowing 10,000 times each day for humanity, as a practice of freedom. A discipline Lynx has interpreted in his own work through tally marks. When asked his overall mission of his work he humbly states, “The mission is [to use] this work to deliver the message of eternal direction, not just the temporary.”
Artists like Lynx are important to acknowledge because too often art is held to an expectation that limits creatives and encourages conformity and compromise. Being misunderstood is a part of his journey. He has been challenged by parents, turned down by art galleries, and his work is sometimes looked over when placed next to visually extravagant pieces, but his perseverance to not just create but to change lives, is what sets Lynx a part as a timeless artist. His art possesses longevity, and his beginnings are the stepping stone to the legacy he is sure to leave.