Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lights, prayers--cocktails!

Right, so I've been under the weather this past week and I rested up enough to feel great for meeting up with two new friends for dinner and cocktails.

I had a wonderful time. It's always an inspiration for me, getting to know good people--the kind that are straightforward with you, have compassion, do what's right, share, and have integrity.

It was a pleasure. And hey, they like my art, too!

Talking with them--about friends that had passed away unexpectedly at a young age, or living a passionate life--brought to the fore once again what I had been struggling with in the last couple of months.

Interior design, counseling psychology--or continue, unabated and undistracted, with my art?

The interior design class I started two weeks ago is fun--I'm learning about the profession rather than design, which is helpful. Millions of people think they have a flair for design, but being a professional designer is something completely different--it's a profession.

That means dealing with clients, accounts, vendors, etc.--the business of being a designer. Does my passion encompass that?

How much do I know myself? How much do I think I know about myself? Everything keeps changing, that's for sure. I'm less and less likely to shame myself for not being who I (or anybody else) think I should be, and more and more acknowledging who I am (which I'm still figuring out). This is at the ripe old age of 36, mind you.

It's a luxury in this culture to get to know oneself, bombarded as we are by messages of how our choice of mobile phone styles reflects our personality. Really? Really.

In India, the men are privileged to go through a stage in life where they leave their families and other social responsibilities to go off into the forest to attain self-realization in their golden years (the women aren't so fortunate).

But I get to force the point. I don't have the usual obligations or distractions (not that I wouldn't mind them), so I'm in a marathon wrestling match with my self, the goal being self-knowledge.

I'm not so sure I'd like to be on the business end of interior design. Writing about it, maybe. Photographing and painting it, even more probable.

Or hell, just learning more about it and eventually designing my own home--that might just be enough.

Even with psychology--I wonder if the theories fascinate me more than working with clients. I worry if I will have enough empathy, patience, and more importantly, endurance to do such difficult work.

And what concerns me further--if I can do such work, do I have the passion for it?

I'm not sure. I'd like to ferret out my intentions, see them clearly without the haze of emotion, memory, and external authority, but as with my art, I have to do this through exploration and experimentation.

In the meantime, as I embrace my passion for interior design, I'd like to share with you a beautiful lamp I recently bought! I love bathing in its glow and can't wait to turn it on at night. Lying on my sofa and seeing it, I feel like I'm home.

I mentioned a prayer wheel in my last post, and this religious technology has been on my mind since watching documentaries on Tibet.

I bought a small prayer wheel from an exporter in Nepal who marketed the piece as a paperweight (it's far too light to weigh anything down, including itself) and received it in the mail last week.

It was falling apart until I took it apart and tightened the screws, but now I'm very happy with it and love spinning it, sending ripples of prayers and good thoughts out into the universe.

Whether it's the prayer wheel or my happy thoughts that makes the world a little bit brighter, I'll let you decide.

I wish you your best possible life.

Invite Beauty,


The Armchair (or Office Chair) Philanthropist

The Internet has changed the way most of us do things. We can now donate--for free--through a click of a button at home. How easy is that?
The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site
These six sites are interlinked. If you go to one site, you'll see at the top the links for the other sites via tabs. You can click and do your good deeds for the day in about five minutes.
Now imagine if everybody did that. Every day.
The Child Health Site The Rainforest Site
Please visit these sites and also link to them. Each site has a "Link to Us" section that can be found in the upper left menu. Or, copy this post or link to the post directly. You can also share this post through the Share widget at the bottom of my posts--spread the word through your social networks like Facebook, MySpace, etc. Use your voice!
The Literacy Site The Animal Rescue Site
You can find these links permanently installed in my blog on the menu to the right (scroll down). They will also be permanently installed on's Links section.
Start your morning or Internet experience by clicking on these sites; make your favorite one your home page! Think of it as your Tibetan prayer wheel, spinning entire prayers through a touch of your hand (and the click of your mouse).
Invite Beauty,

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The last Dharma Bodhisattva print is sold!

Dharma Bodhisattva, limited edition (5), 13" x 19"
Last one! SOLD

This high quality, limited edition print is sold out, but can still be seen in my gallery. Please visit my shop for more Original Finger Paintings, limited edition prints, and collectible greeting cards.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Featured on AuctionBytes! Portrait of a Hippo

Portrait of a Hippo, giclee on paper, 8.5" x 11"
Open edition benefitting the World Wildlife Fund

AuctionBytes, "The Independent Trade Publication for Online Merchants," is an excellent resource and I highly recommend it for news and ideas. Recently, I found out they featured my story in their section, First Item Sold Online!

My first item is a long-time favorite, Portrait of a Hippo. I created it years ago when I was considering a career in science illustration, and it was the first time I had ever used scratchboard.

It's a medium I truly love, but due to studio limitations and health concerns (scratching into the fine clay of scratchboard creates a lot of clay dust--bad to breathe in), I decided not to pursue this medium until I had a better set up.

Regardless, it's used in illustration because it creates images that hold up well for reproduction. I've created an open edition print of Portrait of a Hippo (which also benefits the World Wildlife Fund) and a larger, limited edition print of it, too, not to mention a Little Beauties Art Card and variety of merchandise in my gift shop, Everyday Beauty. It's inspired interpretations that became my Hippo Series.

Portrait of a Hippo is a classic, and it being my first sale online, and created during a time when I first considered being an artist, holds a special place in my heart.

Many thanks to my first collector!

Invite Beauty,


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Monday, September 01, 2008

Passionate Potions at a Tiki Oasis

I had the great pleasure of attending Tikitastic's annual tiki party at his ultra-swingin' bachelor's pad in the mountains last night.

With a tiki room designed by the grandson of the man who designed Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, a giant cyclops sculpture by Tim Biskup greeting guests in the foyer, original animation cels from Akira, Tikitastic's home is an homage to retro, modern, pop, atomic, and tiki culture.

So of course, I'm in heaven when I visit.

I was introduced to Tikitastic (his nom de plume on the best tiki resource and community on the planet, Tiki Central, run by the very cool Hanford Lemoore) through a friend of mine who worked with him and, because I couldn't stop talking about blowfish lamps and tiki, got invited to the tiki party last year.

Tikitastic is a generous fella and knows how to celebrate (he graciously shared his rum collection and I felt like I was sneaking the Elixir of Life from the gods). I missed the band he had playing this year (The Lava Rats) but I did have the opportunity to imbibe the delicious cocktails created by the brilliant bartender, Jay Crabb, and his lovely assistant, Michelle, both of whom really made my night by sharing their passion for creative drinks and great conversation.

I loved that they introduced me to "farmer's market cocktails"--concoctions with a gourmet philosophy and including innovative use of herbs and spices (when was the last time you had a cocktail with basil, or cucumber, or rosemary?)--and am a convert. What's more, Michelle made me my first Sazerac, the official drink of New Orleans. I'm in love with the complexity of its flavor and have had to tell the mojito that we're just friends now.

Good times, good times.