Magical. Mystical. Marvelous. Amy Tan Won of The TreeSpace Studio brilliantly uses art for storytelling. Her branding, original artwork, stationary, etc., draws you into her world. A world so full of emotion and complexity that it quickly becomes tangible. I guarantee you'll fall in love with her work and the enchantress behind it all, Amy Tan Won.
What is your name?
Amy Tan Won
Please describe your business.
I'm an artist and visual storyteller. My art and experience-making is a vehicle for exploring and sharing with others the tangible, wondrous ways in life which we can be enchanted, something I believe strongly is so vital in truly feeling alive.
How and why did you open The TreeSpace Studio?
The TreeSpace Studio started as an umbrella for all my various creative passions! At that time (2010), I had just gotten married and fairly bursting with creative energy from wedding planning and creating all my own invitations that it was time to channel that into something that could take me from a decade-long ill-fitted architectural career into something that was more personally satisfying.
I enter your website and literally want to roll around in it. It's beautiful, thoughtful, and speaks to your inner soul. Tell us how you're able to use your creativity to produce products that evoke such emotions.
Thank you so much, that's so very lovely to hear!! I think the biggest, most important thing for me was to know myself and to own who I naturally was, even idiosyncrasies I've always assumed were flaws-like preferring imperfection, being a hopeless romantic, and more emotionally sensitive than I'd care to admit! The next challenge was to make sure I was always creating through my own storytelling 'lens' and to always, always think about what emotions I'd like to evoke in others when they are experiencing anything I create. While I absolutely love beautiful things, it's much more important for me to create something that went deeper than that so that's what I'm always striving for.
What is your brainstorming process?
This is a great question! The brainstorming process, interestingly enough, is sparkling clear and straightforward with commissioned work, as I actually created an entire workshop just for drawing ideas and visions out from my clients. It normally begins with some soul-searching/deep thinking about the Vision, followed by moodboarding or inspiration-collection and then jumping on the phone to mind-meld. A process of culling imagery and ideas follows and then I always always, do full-color, hand-drawn, watercolor sketches to capture the emotion and story behind the Vision. It's not as clear-cut when it comes to my own personal work, but I do notice that in the projects I'm ultimately happy with, I usually have a startlingly and curiously vivid picture of what it is and looks like from the very beginning and the rest of the process is more of a download onto whatever media it takes shape. It's challenging but I try to recreate this vivid picture for every project but it's not easy! But as with commissioned work, sketching, journaling and imagery collection, including researching relevant literature is how I normally brainstorm concepts. I like to do everything with paper and pen/pencil as much as possible but sometimes it's helpful to use the computer to lay things out.
Describe your life as an artist.
I thrive on structure! I'm so internally structure-less that it's so important for me to build a container and rituals for myself so that I'm not drifting aimlessly. I set 90-day goals like most entrepreneurs, broken up into weekly and daily detailed plans and I carry out a slice of my goal everyday. I've not always been this structured in the past which leads to a lot of long long hours and weekends working so this is something I'm actively working on these days. I like to start my day off with a Good Morning ritual which is centering and grounding -cup of tea, journaling, mood-sketching, planning the day's todos... As an artist, so much of what I do is intuitive so it really pays to get to know my inner self well! After the morning ritual, I tick off tasks, usually boring stuff that needs to get done and then by afternoon, it's time to paint! This is not always possible as sometimes other projects spill into painting time but I'm happy when it happens! I travel a lot, camp and hike to stay inspired by life, and try to make time for museums and galleries though not always possible. I read voraciously.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Take care of yourself! Really! Self-care is so so important, especially for women entrepreneurs who tend to take care of everyone else but themselves. It's extremely challenging running your own business that you're pretty much a pro athlete with no recovery time if you allow it to happen. I've made the mistake of just working, working, working that I neglected other parts of myself and eventually that just wears you down and leaves you empty, hollow and burnt out. These days, I make sure to get enough sleep, exercise vigorously, pay attention to diet and nourish my home life and soul. It really is not worth it any other way.
What are 3 things most people don't know about you?
That I speak 3 languages (Malay, English and Chinese) and can read and write in 2! That I absolutely refused to wear dresses between the ages of 9 and 13. I spent 2 of my college years in Perth, Australia and was actually going to settle down there before deciding instead to move to the US.
Are you working on any new projects this year?
I am working on a collection of paintings inspired by Tolkien's concept of Eucatastrophe. I'm also looking for a beautiful location locally to host a creative workshop or gathering. There are a few other small projects I'd love to create but those are the two big ones!
Connect With Her
I'm running a little experimental platform on art + storytelling where I'll bring the immersive exhibition/gallery experience to viewers online, a sort of breather in their day where they can transport themselves to another world for just a little bit and get some creative inspiration. I'm inviting anyone who's craving something like this to drop by, I'd love to hear from you! At the moment it's just launched and is live for 7 days. Like a real gallery, all works will be for purchase during this time. Since this is the first themed series I'm excited to see what it will evolve into!
by MRH, CMO