Jolene Lai’s Surreal Paintings Reference Dreams, Childhood

by Andy SmithPosted on

Singapore-born, Los Angeles-based artist Jolene Lai creates narrative oil paintings and mixed-media works that blend cinematic and mythical notions. These surreal images can feel both pensive and intense, conjuring familiar images and the otherworldly. The artist, formerly a movie poster designer, often anchors her paintings in youthful contexts.



“Lai is inspired by everything from mythologies, Asian culture, and children’s stories, to fashion editorials, cityscapes, and illustration,” the gallery says. “She is always seeking new ‘sets’ and stages for her characters and their outlandish encounters. Aesthetically, her work combines the beautiful and the grotesque with the quiet and the excessive in fluid and unexpected ways, just as innocence in her imagery tends to be shadowed by the suggestion of something sinister or dark.”



Lai studied painting at Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore before her tenure at UCLA as a graphic design students. After her stint with a film-advertisement design house, she decided to focus on her personal work full-time and has showcased across the world.

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