By Rick Weinberg, Editor, California Business Journal.
THE COLLABORATION BEGAN QUITE UNEXPECTEDLY, without any warning whatsoever.
Vicki Wong was sitting at her sister’s Santa Monica, California house when she spotted a piece of art on the wall that she didn’t recognize.
“Who did that?” she asked.
Her sister, Cheri Dunn, blushed. She was apprehensive to admit that it was her creation. After all, Vicki was considered “the true artist” in the family, and Cheri felt so inferior, so much in Vicki’s shadow, that she completely gave up painting when she was young.
But when Cheri had a bare wall in her home that screamed to be covered — and she didn’t have the funds to purchase a painting — she decided to create the artwork herself. The result was staggering—so staggering that when Vicki was driving back to her Long Beach, California home that evening, completely in awe of her sister’s work, she decided that she wanted to work with Cheri.
Thus began the collaboration—as well as the birth of a new, innovative, compelling style of art that the sister’s have dubbed Pop Shui.
“It’s our idea of mixing the symbols of ‘Feng Shui’ with contemporary art,” Vicki says.
“Feng Shui” is an ancient Chinese tradition one uses to decorate a home, a method in which specific items — objects such as aquariums or greenery, or fountains, metal objects, earth objects — are placed in a particular area of a house to make the environment serene, peaceful, harmonic — “to enhance one’s life spiritually, financially, in their relationships or in their work,” as Cheri says.
The talented and personable sisters have just launched their exquisite Pop Shui series, a gripping 15-piece showcase, the first of which is entitled, “Passion,” a dazzling and poetic piece that conveys the importance of rekindling the passion, the meaning and the harmony in one’s life. Their previous series were titled “Soul and Inspiration,” “Life is a Game,” and “Millennium.”
Now, Vicki and Cheri have found their future, their passion, so to speak, with “Pop Shui.”
Their “Feng Shui” influence comes from Larry Sang, a California philosopher and artist who is referred to as Master and is founder of the American Feng Shui Institute in California. He is also renowned for his influence on various Las Vegas hotel casinos. Several of the city’s hotel water and fountains, as well as the lights, fire and electricity, and the manner in which they’re designed, stem from Sang’s ancient Chinese-based philosophy.
What is clear about the work of Wong and Dunn is that they possess an imaginative and deep sense of exploration. Intuition and thought are woven into their work to create a balanced and powerful force of meaning and purpose in life.
The process of creating their art begins with Cheri and her precise, straight-edge, symbolic designs, and it ends with Vicki, who excels in the abstract and color portion of the art. Cheri develops the initial concept for a painting through a feeling or emotion that strikes her while she studies a series of ancient Chinese symbols, which may denote everything from love, power, determination and strength to passion, relationships, harmony, success and dedication.
“I look for the best and most appropriate combination of symbols for a particular situation [such as rekindling the passion in a relationship] for the painting,” Cheri says.
Combining instinct and an inventive touch, Cheri creates the symbol, the mood, the foundation and strength of the piece. Then Vicki builds upon it by creating the movement and energy, making the piece dance with her dazzling, dramatic and abstract use of a fury of color.
When Cheri completes her portion of the piece, which she paints on acrylic on paper, she hands it off to Vicki, who paints on glass upside down, giving the painting an abstract 3-D look.
The origin of “Passion,” the sister’s signature Pop Shui piece, evolved through Cheri’s idea that if the passion was missing in one’s relationship with their spouse or children, or in their work, the piece would remind them of what they needed to do to rekindle the zest, the zeal, the fire.
Like magic, the piece has altered the life of Doug and Vickie Byfield, the owners of “Passion.” Since the piece was placed in the Byfield home, “Something has happened to us,” Doug says. “It has changed our life. We’re like two little kids again. The passion in our relationship and in our lives has been revived.”
Yu-Chin Liao, a Laguna Beach landscaper, is so impressed with the creativity of Wong and Dunn that she has three pieces displayed at her office.
“It’s spectacular, exciting art,” she says. “I love the composition, the use of colors, the abstract nature of the pieces, the depth and energy. I’ve never seen anything like it.”