This week I met the lovely Chelien Nouchee Kue, a freshman at California State Long Beach. Chelien is currently commuting from Santa Ana, CA and is attending college to major in nursing. She comes from a family where education is highly valued, especially education that leads to a career in the medical field. Chelien is also the first person I have ever met who identifies as Hmong, a ethnicity that originated in Eurasia. Something she shared with me that I found especially intriguing was that European genes were part of the Hmong genetic make-up, allowing for some to have blonde hair and blue eyes. Not only did I get to learn of this beautiful person, I also learned about a fascinating culture I had never heard of.
Though Chelien is pursuing a career as a nurse, I found that she enjoys sewing and fashion. Her expression through sewing and fashion is her art-form. Her favorite art medium happens to be drawing, though she isn’t passionate about it like sewing, she enjoys it from time-to-time. When I asked her about what type of art pieces she is interested in she said “anything that is visually appealing”. Though she does not find abstract art interesting, she especially finds architecture appealing to her eye, one of her favorites being Victorian homes for the shapes and coloring Victorian’s usually have. Another type of architecture that appeals to her visually are rustic, cabin homes because of the texture and coloring of natural wood. I had never thought of architecture as art before, so this was eye-opening to me. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. Though it may not be obvious, architecture can be composed of many shapes, sizes, materials that include different textures, and colors of many shades.
What Chelien found at the GLAMFA gallery show was a piece titled “Beautiful Nothings 1&2” by the artist Audrey Barcio. She said she found the piece visually appealing because it made her question what it was. At first, she said it didn’t look like anything but as she stared longer she saw beauty in it. She thought she finally understood the meaning behind the piece, that something doesn’t have to be full of meaning to be beautiful, it could be nothing but still hold beauty. She stated the fur reminded her of animals. i thought she might make this association because there was a time where she thought of becoming a veterinarian before she decided to become a nurse. When I took a walk with her over to the “Beautiful Nothings 1&2”, I immediately thought it looked like a pet rock because of the fur attached to what looked like a stone. The first one looked almost frozen to me, with its blue paint and dazzling glitter. Our differences in perception further give evidence to the idea that art is subjective in nature, meant to mean different things to different people.
I enjoyed my time getting to know Chelien. If you’d like to learn more about her, her site is: