Artist Eva Lai practice revolves around the embodiment of everything she’s passionate about such as art, design, and meditation. We spoke to Eva about her new wellness venture ‘Zense Space’ on using art and yoga for healing and mental health and how everything is interconnected, how she developed this project and what she's got planned for Mental Health Awareness Week.
Hi Eva, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us. Could you tell us a bit about Zense Space and premise behind it?
After working in the fashion & art industry for a decade, I founded Zense Space soon after my yoga journey began. It is the embodiment of everything I love- art, yoga, mindful living and creating, but most importantly, healing and growing! It is my joyful attempt at trying to make sense of life ~ through making “Zense”. I hope my work can help serve the world with a little creative healing magic, so we can all live life like three-year-olds and come home to our true self: shameless, curious, and free!
You’ve mentioned that it’s the embodiment of everything you’re passionate about such as art, designs, yoga, meditation, reading and writing. How do these things relate? Are they all interconnected?
Absolutely. I believe everything we do is interconnected, the mind, the body, the actions. All these things I love are simply creations: we create beauty and expression in the form of a painting, new ideas and thoughts in words; we create shapes with our bodies and space for our breath on the yoga mat, and time to be with ourselves in mediation. They are all just tools to cultivate mindfulness and awareness, so we can feel empowered to create the life that we want.
Was there a particular moment that provided the creative inspiration behind this project?
It wasn’t a moment but a rather long journey of constant development. The catalyst was the quarter-life crises in my late twenties, where I found myself feeling unhappy, even though I had a successful creative career, and my life looked great. Then I found yoga, in my training of becoming a yoga teacher, I discovered yogic philosophy, which then led me to the inner workings of our psychology. The inspiration for my Art healing workshops came from a series of adversities: A breakup that forced me to reinvent my business, the struggle to stand out and grow in the yoga industry which pushed me to combine yoga with life drawing, and then Covid lockdown led me to add the mindfulness/ personal development aspect to it. New inspiration comes every day so I’m sure my work will always be evolving with my life.
Well-being and Mindfulness is obviously key to your artistic practice. What do you think the intersections of art and mindfulness are?
Mindfulness is simply a state of being conscious and aware, creativity is this wonderful key to access this state, without being distracted by life or technology. Art also allows our feelings and emotions to surface so that we can observe them and express them. Most of us don't give ourselves the time and space to do this inner work. Art is a fun and lighter way to get a person to sit and be, providing a safe space to explore our emotions, to begin to let go and express feelings that we otherwise suppress in our day-to-day lives. Those emotions that we deny are what cause damages to our wellbeing, injuring both our mental and physical health. Any form of art can help us release them.
Really love your illustrations, could you talk to us about how you choose the subjects and topics you depict?
Thank you! My drawings are meaningful messages and reminders for myself and others. A lot of spiritual knowledge or philosophical ideas can be really hard to understand, might take reading many books and listening to many ted- talks in order to grasp it. It can be especially difficult for someone who struggles to resonate with words. I draw the way I wish somebody would have explained these ideologies to me years ago. I want my illustrations to be purposeful and easy to understand, to get someone thinking and questioning, and to cheer them up!
Do you have any advice for people who struggled for some form of creativity over the last 12 months due to lockdown and a lack of environmental changes, physical contact etc?
I’d say: Stop making excuses! Amazing mouth artist Henry Fraser is paralysed, and he still paints at home with his mouth! Just do it, we are all born as creative people, it’s in our nature. Remember how you loved to throw paints and doodle everywhere as a child? Creativity is our birth right! In art there is no right or wrong, good or bad, it’s about the process and not the outcome. Remove your judgement, the ego and just make something, anything! You can create literally anywhere with anything. Start with laying out your food beautifully on your dinner plate tonight, then draw as many circles as you can on scrap pieces of paper tomorrow, and you’ll start to find that playful self again! Read “The Artist’s Ways” by Julia Cameron.
Have you got anything planned this Mental Health Awareness week?
I’ll be sharing some fun drawing exercises and tips for self-care on Instagram @zense.space throughout the week. I’ll also be hosting “Courage Butterflies” Art Healing Workshop via Zoom on 16th May (We will reflect on how we balance our life through doodling, journaling, breathing exercise and chakra meditation.)
Finally, what’s the rest of 2021 got in store for you?
I’m just about to finish my first book about art healing! It’s an interactive book with all the tools that have helped me, including meditation, journaling prompts, drawing exercises and space for you to doodle/scribble, as well as my illustrations & stories. I’m also planning to host Art Healing Retreats and Yoga Life Drawing events across London the UK this summer.
You can follow Eva on her Instagram here.