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17 kinds of blue: one-of-a-kind drawings by Yen Ha

Best sorta Blue Monday greetings, collectors! It’s Jen (again!) rolling up on your inbox with another extra special release: seventeen unique pen and ink drawings—three large and fourteen small—created just for us by an incredibly talented woman we’re lucky to have in our orbit. Yen Ha is a polymath in the truest sense of the word; her She Is series most directly draws on her talents as an artist and poet, as well as referencing her avocation as an architect, along with myriad others interests and pursuits. Each of the seventeen drawings we have available are original, one-of-a-kind but interrelated works, their titles combining to form a poem—also penned by Yen—a printed version of which will accompany every drawing.

Using paint pen on the rich blue surface of Canson’s Mi-Tientes paper, these drawings are abstract, organic works with edgy surprises embedded amid their ornamentation. A flower’s petals fold outward, as if inviting us into the scalloped, almost mathematical curves around its margins. That is indeed a medieval mace—spikey, with its chain trailing through the confines of the image's edge—that you see in another drawing. Working at her dining table during moments stolen from an already astonishingly full life, Yen alternates between drawing and poetry, exploring and intertwining the seemingly incongruous. In the world she weaves, the feminine includes (and sometimes engulfs) the hard edges of the manmade, and nature’s forms unlock a new world of abstraction and possibility.

It’s easy to feel a little envious of just how many things Yen’s good at, and has been celebrated for. I first came to know her many years ago while blogging from my storefront gallery, which wasn’t far from the office in which she and her college roommate established their now-thriving architecture practice. That, in addition to being the matriarch of a family that includes the coolest of kiddos, would seem to be more than enough (at least to this impressed outside observer!) but Yen is the sort of woman who excels at any endeavor she trains her sharp mind and skilled hands towards. As we developed this project earlier this year, Yen was criss-crossing the continent, sending dispatches from art and writing residencies at MASS MoCA and Banff respectively, yet somehow still finding the energy to host (and cook for!) holidays at home in between. Also enviable: there doesn’t seem to be a frenetic bone in her body. Yens warmth and easygoingness melt away any envy, making way for inspiration, and a reassessment of just how much more one might be able to carve out of the everyday.

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200

About the series:

All the works in the She Is series by Yen Ha are unique, one-of-a-kind drawings, not reproductions, on Canson’s Mi-Tientes paper using paint pens in various colors.
  • 11”x8.5” drawings: 14 available, framed ($450 each) or unframed ($300 each)
  • 22” x17” drawings: 3 available, framed only ($1350 each) note: these larger drawings are comprised of 4 individual sheets held together with archival tape.
She Doesn't Know by Yen Ha

She Swallows Pollen by Yen Ha

She Braids Blades Blindly by Yen Ha

She Could Be Bác Nằm by Yen Ha
Tags: new art