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Si Jie Loo

Focus: Painting | Mentor: Mary Heebner

Arriving in Santa Barbara, Si Jie Loo met local artist Mary Heebner. At Mary’s studio, Si Jie saw a book written by her favorite professor at Dartmouth College and asked if by chance Mary knew her. It turned out to be Mary’s daughter, Sienna Craig.

These two were destined to meet. Both share an intrigue about art and cultures and weave their enchantment into what they create. Mary agreed to mentor Si Jie and guided her to an Art Without Limits Art Career Day Conference. There, she met local artist Dug Uysaka, who suggested that she contact Bella Rosa Galleries. A few days later, an exhibit of her art work had been arranged for the following month. She is fearless!

A multi-disciplinary artist who is interested in capturing the spirit of humanity, primarily through Chinese Ink, Si Jie graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with Honors in Studio Art, and has since lived and worked in both the United States and Malaysia. As an artist in the diaspora, she is constantly on the move between places, cultures, music genres, and most recently the Tibetan Plateau and the Silk Road in northeast China. She calls this body of work, “INKounters,” and further develops larger abstract paintings that convey that essence in another series, “INKnovations.” In December 2016, she finished a three-month art residency at Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia.

“The chance of learning Chinese ink painting fell on my lap when Dr. Cheah Thien Soong, a renowned ink painter in Malaysia invited me to study with him under an Art Traveling Fellowship granted by Dartmouth College. Our sessions were all conducted in my mother tongue. I was tasked to master this Eastern art form that once inspired Van Gogh and Gauguin, but also to innovate within it. Since then, I strive to make paintings that highlight both contemporary ideas and ancient wisdom.

Coincidentally, my mentor, Mary Heebner, does that wonderfully in her collages and paintings, combining abstract forms with elegant rendering of antiquity art pieces. I look up to her as a mentor and role model as I continue to march forward in my art career.” — Si Jie Loo, Emerging Artist