By Ryon Morrin
Creative works have been produced throughout the history of the human race, establishing a chronology of progression and innovation. But relics of the past, as well as contemporary pieces, often represent more than a timeline. We identify these works through the strong ties which bond the artist and their influences, viewing art as a means of identifying cultures within our global community.
Luan Teed embraces both sides of her cultural heritage. Adopted from Wuzhou, China as a young child, she has lived, grown, and learned as an Idahoan while holding to the connections she has to her birthplace. A few years ago, she had the opportunity to explore her roots more deeply, visiting her first home in China with her high school classmates. When she arrived, she came to an unexpected realization about her identity as an artist.
Teed had established herself as an artist from the moment she could grasp a crayon in her hand. Fast forward to present day, and drawing is still her preferred medium of choice, though she dabbles with chalk and paints, too. In her younger years, she had a deep attachment to creating depictions of dragons. These majestic and mythical creatures harkened back to traditional East Asian cultures, but Teed had yet to uncover the source of her inspiration. That changed when she returned to Wuzhou in 2015. Visiting the local shrine, she made the discovery that her birthplace was home to a great deity; a spirit which manifests as the mother of all dragons.
When asked about how it felt in that very moment, Teed stated that she believed she had “come full circle” as a result of the experience. Much of her work is influenced by the rich cultures of the Far East, including Japan, China, and Korea. Rather than replicating the styles and forms she admires, she melds an amalgamation of cultures, constructing a blended artistic vision with pen in hand.
Symbolism is carefully woven into Teed’s artwork, although not all who set their eyes on it will make the connection. Intricacy is a core element in every drawing, as is the cultural significance it conveys. This attention to detail has made her a frequent user of pens, pencils, and markers. “There’s more control there”, says Teed. A glance at her ever-growing portfolio reveals the precision with which she connects lines and weaves patterns.
On future goals and aspirations, Teed has an idealistic vision for herself, the City of Trees, and education. “STEM is important, but we shouldn’t let it overtake the arts, language, and culture. They deserve just as much support!” She mentions that Boise can (and will) be the #1 community for artists, surpassing Portland and even Seattle. It may take time, but creative minds like Teed are destined to transform our town into an art destination: “While I have many paths that lay before me, I will explore each one with enthusiasm, an open mind, and a pen in hand.”
If you are interested in seeing more of Luan Teed’s artwork, visit her Instagram page