20 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Here is a note that was previously updated on my Facebook page:


1. My career is my passion and I feel thrilled to work in the fine arts/art education. There is a saying when you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. Research, learning, teaching, and art-making are extremely fulfilling activities to engage in.

2. However, there are negative elements to my love of work. I can work too hard for a variety of reasons and use the medium of “work” to avoid dealing with my personal life. My love of work can be all consuming. The film “Click” touched a nerve.

3. I love challenges and constantly seek out new avenues of professional development/self expression. Not everything I try works out but it is a great feeling to accomplish something you previously thought of as difficult or impossible.

4. Is there something strange in the water in North America as suddenly all of my old friends have children. What is going on? How did this happen? Is this going to happen to me? My mother certainly hopes so but probably later than sooner.

5. I like to live in different cities. When you move to a new city you take on a new professional/personal identity. When I moved to Ottawa at age 18 I went from being a gawky teenager to young woman that suddenly could get a boyfriend. Moving to Taipei regenerated my career which was stagnating in Montreal. There is a great energy and power in this. Often I’ve remembered friends who have been in personal or professional funks and thought just leave! Move! Go out and find other people/opportunities elsewhere.

6. I would like to settle down and establish roots in an institution/community. When will this happen? Hopefully the process can begin after my next leap in 2010.

7. Keeping a healthy budget is important and I live below my means. That’s not to say that I don’t like to splurge or shop- but within reason. When I lived in Canada I carried around a huge wallet with all these credit cards that were a symbol of debt. Now I carry a small change purse and pay for everything in cash.

8. Domesticity is not a strong point. Um… Yep it is an area that I can improve on. My apartment frequently looks like a bomb hit it. I cooked for my husband once and then he told me not to bother doing it again. Sashimi, salmon, salads, nuts, and sandwiches are my “home cooked” specialties.

9. Moving to Taiwan was one of the best decisions that I ever made with my life. Before moving to Asia in 2006 I had a good job, a new condo, and was very bored/uninspired/unfulfill

ed/burnt out. I remember looking at my new stainless steel appliances and somehow feeling let down. As if this was what life had been promised to be and it… sucked! Putting all my new Ikea furniture into storage and taking off to Asia was an incredibly liberating experience. Yes, you can change your life. You just have to go out there and do it.

10. I love fashion and frequently daydream about clothes. When I think of motivations to earn more money the idea of wearing better clothes inspires me. Moreover, I could get a PhD in shopping for years of acquired retail finesse.

11. However, I frequently over-wear the same outfit/colors/idea. This is very evident at Huafan University where I work. I tend to make multiple purchases of the same item in different colors. Too much of a good thing can be bad.

12. I have hard time relaxing. “Work” or what needs to get done is always on my mind. I never watch T.V and find it difficult to sit through a two hour movie. Many people have suggested different types of alternative remedies to help with this situation.

13. My relationship with my family is not the best. This is too bad but it is something that I have come to accept. My mother is very close and other members of my immediate family are not. Yes, this can hurt but it is also motivation to better my life and express myself creatively. Ultimately, I would not feel so free to explore the world if the situation were different.

14. My marriage is unconventional and differs from most. Over the past year I’ve spent nine months living apart from my husband. Multiculturalism is a personal and professional value. My husband Ranjit was born in Germany, grew up in Quebec City, and his academic parents are from India. We have a passionate relationship which is in a constant state of flux.

15. Dr. Ann Kuo is one of the most amazing women I have ever met and is a great mentor. She is my PhD advisor and has totally changed how I see education. Our role as educators concerns service to the arts, the global community, and communication of ideas through research. You should not go into higher education unless you are committed to initiating change. In order to accomplish change you have to dedicate your life to it. Ann is in her early 70s and works hard every day to develop the educational policies/institutions of Asia.

16. My artwork mostly concerns themes of identity and is a documentation of those that I love. Photography is a visual diary and medium of self-expression. I like portraiture and making statements on the role of women in our society.

17. Sometimes I regret that I don’t spend as much time on my photography. As an art educator it is a constant conflict and dilemma. We do have to make a living after all. However, I feel glad of the pedagogies of Rita Irwin, Enid Zimmerman, Karen Keifer Boyd, and Jo Chen that encourage art-making and research. After completing my PhD I am looking forward to developing similar pedagogies with in-service art teachers.

18. Something that I am most proud of is having cooled my red-headed temper. That does not mean that I don’t get angry. But when I do there is much less carnage and it usually only happens once or twice a year. I’ve learnt that words can not be taken back and that it is better to walk away from a volatile situation. Lifting weights also helps process anger and emotions.

19. Forgiveness of others and self is divine.

20. I am a private person and that’s all for now. Peace-out lovers. JoRees


1 Response to “20 Things You Didn’t Know About Me”

  1. June 30, 2009 at 7:37 am

    This is not a slight on you, but on everybody including myself.

    I often worry about the grandiosity and the narcissism that permeates in the art world.

    Well, I believe that Art Center instructor you had was a striking example of narcissism, and I’m wondering how much ‘our’ art can end up being malignant and self destructive? Most artists feel slighted in some way….y’know, not appreciated or abused in some way. I’m wondering if that is something that we ‘should’ dwell on, or find something that transcends our personal experiences?

    As artists we are suppose to be conflicted, but why inflict?

    Do we impose ourselves upon people, or just simply reflect what we see?

    This youtube video disturbs me:
    Dr. Sam Vaknin

    I had a teacher that would always complain about her personal life, but she ‘had’ several husbands, several homes, an expensive education, a beautiful child, supportive parents, reliable employment with supportive co-workers…yet she still complains. However, she married one of her students a decade younger then her, and ended up divorcing due to a domestic violence dispute, recently…..it’s like we create our own havoc…..just like that Art Center instructor.

    I’m not certain I agree that being conflicted is a necessity of being an artist?…..or healthy at least.
    I have a facial paralysis, so yeah. I’m conflicted alright.

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