Above the Depths, Tracie Cheng

What are some of your creative influences?

Ruth Asawa achieves so much depth with the delicate weaving of lines in space. I love watching the textures shift as her sculptures gently spin mid-air. Shiguru Ban’s innovation as an architect has been awesome to learn from. It is inspiring and humbling what Ban has been able to design for people in need without sacrificing elegance and creativity. J. M. W. Turner’s more abstract paintings capture true environments without hard lines and details. They also evoke connection and emotion, which is something I strive for in my own work.

How long have you been painting? How did you get in to it?

I first fell in love with painting when I studied abroad in Italy for architecture— the professor wouldn’t let us go a semester without watercoloring, believing it was an integral part of our time there. It was a rough start, but I began to enjoy it more for the peace it gave me and the expression it allowed me. My travel kit was always by my side. As I transitioned out of college and into my first real job, it became a necessary creative outlet.

What kind of books are on your nightstand? Or: What are you currently reading?

Books are not my go-to leisure activity, so I have a few books I’ve been reading for a while now: Love in the Time of Cholera, Hannah Coulter, and different books on plant care. All are either recommendations from my husband, close friends, or out of necessity.

Things that inspire you:

Eóin Burke: My sculptor husband amazes me constantly. His talent, passion, and discipline for his craft are incredible to behold.
My faith: It is integral to who I am, how I see the world, and how I try to love it. Faith isn’t always the most tangible thing, but its presence in my life is palpable, and it inspires me to be more of how I was created.
Friends: I’m fortunate to be surrounded by lovely people who are like family. There is also some major talent and big dreams among them— it helps me to believe in bigger and better things!
Plants: I have an extreme affinity for plants, and I love watching them grow. So complex and simple at the same time, I have many of my own that I really enjoy tending to.
Instagram: Connecting with other artists and makers out there is so fun! It’s a great platform to be inspired by artforms completely unlike yours and converse with those that are more closely related.
Good stories: Grabbing coffee with new and old friends and hearing about their lives is one of my favorite things to do. I’m inspired by different life experiences and learning from others.
Silly animal videos: They help me to reconnect with an inherent joy that we possess. Life can be intense, and sometimes it’s really nice to just focus on how cute and funny tiny animals can be.

What kind of projects are you currently working on?

I’ve been fortunate this year to land a few projects and partnerships that I look forward to revealing when the time comes! It means painting as much as possible to keep up with the many deadlines I have on the calendar, but it’s been rewarding to see how the work is evolving.