“I’ve never seen anything like it,” is what I told Francesca when she showed me @jpneang’s art. Scrolling through JP Neang’s Instagram, you’ll notice several things: the careful, smooth strokes drawn to create the image, the elaborate and even use of shading, the pop of a single color that appears in several pieces, and how tiny yet detailed her pieces are. How tiny? Approximately the size of your thumb’s fingerprint.
Not all of her pieces are this small. They range from the size of your pinky nail to a massive art mural. Last Friday, September 11th, 2015, Cukui hosted JP Neang’s opening art gallery for The Calamity: The Corruption of Good Things. She painted the title along with a mural on Cukui’s main wall and this stood as the backdrop for her pieces on display. While most of the pieces were displayed on the art wall, several hung on the back, completing the empty space between the clothed shelves and ceiling. To JP’s surprise, Cukui even printed one of her artworks on a t-shirt for sale. (Check it out, here!)
Especially in this collection, you can spot dismal feelings of loss and a sense of curiosity. Many of her pieces depicted a sole wanderer, creatures, and other visuals that played off of the theme. With an overall use of grey and black in her art, it set the tone for what is “The Corruption of Good Things.”
If you are wondering where she gets her inspiration from, JP Neang revealed in an interview with Khmerican that her “work stems a lot off of struggle . . . a lot is based off of that and oppresion. It’s a stem of trying to be accepted. a lot of my work stems off of that growth and trying to understand that emotion rather than pushing it off as a negative.” This is how she formulates her art. JP states, “I would have a sense of if I can feel the raw emotion of having something that’s a struggle or a stress, I would imagine my mind [as] a tangible object that I can put in my hands—and if I can feel the weight of that I shape it in the visual forms that I would create.”
For more information on JP Neang, you can check out Paper Garden // A Film by Erick Lee made starring JP, and her instagram, @jpneang, where she often posts artwork. Once you see one piece, I’m guaranteed you’ll be hooked.
In her interview with Khmerican, JP said creating art makes her “fall in love with life again,” and her art made me feel the exact same.