Anh Lin: Girl and The Word


A look into the studio and creative process of the internationally renowned painter-sewer.



Jonni Cheatwood's giant canvases line the walls of his space in a warehouse-converted-studio-artist-community. He's hunched forward on a wooden work table with a calm, casual smile. His all-black outfit is interrupted by random pops of color, from the paint scuffed on his clothes to the paint that covers every inch of his workspace. Color is everywhere—the signs of someone whose been at his craft for years.

Cheatwood's "thing" (as he describes it) is to sew patches of fabric together, making the backdrop for his painted work. He prints on these fabrics—from nostalgic photographs by his wife's grandfather to old graphics to Gucci patters. As we discussed, 17 different fabrics made up one of his current canvases. His paintwork is Cy Twombly, Pollock-esque; a refined-graffiti thickly plastered in perfect chaos.

It's clear, Cheatwood's work is not "Christian"; at least not in any direct sense of the word, nor in its symbolic implications. For Cheatwood, the action of painting is the act of faith.

"As far as my actual [paintings], I don't know if I see a one-to-one connection to God. Like, you can't see [my painting], and be like 'oh there's a cross in there.' But the act of painting, that's a reflection of my faith."

"Action" becomes apparent as Cheatwood begins the creative process. He mixes some white-paint on a large glass panel. He cakes a brush in the mixture and walks up to one of the canvases, applying methodically. He walks to a second canvas, painting there as well. The process repeats, again and again, Cheatwood walking from canvas-to-canvas in a rhythmic theatrical dance. He ends up applying paint to six different canvases in total.

"It's just my 'thing,' I gotta be working on like six paintings at once. I don't know; it's just my thing."

When asked if he feels "called" to painting.

"Well I think just making work is what I'm supposed to be doing. I don't feel called to painting specifically. I feel the calling to do work, if that makes any sense."

"Everyday changes. Today I have to build frames and stuff like that, and some days it's just stretching canvas. Some days it's only sewing. Some days it's going to the fabric store. Some days is getting art supplies and doing administrative stuff, which I hate doing but, yeah, there's really no set day. Every day changes."

There's a flow to Jonni Cheatwood. Flow in his ease of jumping from building frames, to sewing fabric, to painting. Flow in his ease of painting from one canvas to the next. But, also, flow in the sense that he can come off as so care-free and, at the same time, be so dedicated to the process of "doing."

"[Painting] is about repetition, but I'm also just to the point where I'm curious to see what next and then from there, like the repetition that happens after that. And so it's just, I don't like using the word evolve, but like, it's kind of like evolving—I want to see how much deeper I can go as an artist."



Learn more at: https://www.jonnicheatwood.com

Words and Images: Bryan Ye-Chung

An interview with Anh Lin—founder of Girl and The Word—on the YouTube space, the filmmaking process, and why everything starts with 'why'.



With a mixture of home design styling, DIY projects, ASMR, and preaching from God's Word, Anh Lin has created a truly unique space on her YouTube channel, Girl and The Word. At the core is a desire to help people find peace, calm, and a way towards God:
 
"When people ask, I tell them I create devotional videos on YouTube—which is confusing to some people. Visually, I do home design styling and DIYs, but audibly, I preach the Word of God. So you get this very experiential kind of moment when you watch the cinematic videos where you're stimulated with all of the creative things you're seeing and hearing, but at the same time, you're receiving Scripture. Basically, my audience is those who have been traumatized in some way and are just trying to find their way back to God."
 
It cannot be understated the impact Anh Lin has had on her audience. In a seemingly short amount of time (two years since launching her first video) Lin has cultivated a community of over 450K subscribers, continually grateful for her work. Countless individuals have commented on the channel on how it has helped them find inspiration, confidence, motivation, positivity, and a sense of ease in the midst of stressful times and mental health issues.
 
Part of her impact comes from her authenticity; while she did not plan to create videos that were intentionally calming and relaxing, it was the style and vibe she naturally put out. Retroactively, Lin has reflected that this is due in part to how God found her during a difficult time in her childhood. Not growing up very religious, Lin recalls experiencing Jesus during a particular low point in high school:
 
"During one especially difficult day I remember thinking very clearly, 'nobody truly loves you'; but as quickly as that thought came, another thought came. I saw in my mind's eye, a painting of Jesus that my mom had in the altar of our childhood home. And I just saw that painting of Jesus, and I felt comfort just wash over me from head to toe right there in that car. And I'd never felt anything that before."
 
It is this experience of Jesus' comfort—whether intentionally done or not—that shines through in Lin's videos. She is a creative curator at heart, effortlessly mixing various creative elements into carefully crafted films that are somehow sacred, spiritual. And even with so many components in her videos, her faith is continually the thread that holds it all together.
 
"My faith is the starting point for everything I do on my channel. I suppose I'm built in such a way that if there is no deeper meaning to something, I very quickly become unmotivated. So I always start with the why, often through a Bible verse (right now I am in Leviticus!), and craft a message and video from there."
 
Lin goes on to describe her creative process; once she finds the why she'll work out a film script with a thesis and three argument points—a habit harkening back to her English Major. From there, she'll think of visual queues and lifestyle shots—whether that be decorating her apartment, sharing recipes, cleaning and organizing, displaying plants—that help serve as visual symbols for her script. She is an entirely creative person, and simultaneously has a clear structure to her filmmaking process; a gentle reminder that any form of making may benefit from parameters, shape, and frameworks.
 
Lin has also found other creative avenues, still with the intent to help others find ease, comfort, peace, and—ultimately—God. Recently, she launched The Abundant Life Devotional, a workbook that includes 30 weeks of Scripture-based wisdom, meant to bring people towards healing and restoration. As she continues to venture out towards new creative pursuits, Lin continually remembers what is most important to her.
 
"At the end of the day my core purpose is that I am made to be loved and I am made to love. All of my pursuit, and everything I am stems from that place."



Learn more about: Girl and The Word & Abundant Life Journal

Words: Bryan Ye-Chung
Images: Courtesy of Anh Lin

An interview with Anh Lin—founder of Girl and The Word—on the YouTube space, the filmmaking process, and why everything starts with 'why'.



With a mixture of home design styling, DIY projects, ASMR, and preaching from God's Word, Anh Lin has created a truly unique space on her YouTube channel, Girl and The Word. At the core is a desire to help people find peace, calm, and a way towards God:
 
"When people ask, I tell them I create devotional videos on YouTube—which is confusing to some people. Visually, I do home design styling and DIYs, but audibly, I preach the Word of God. So you get this very experiential kind of moment when you watch the cinematic videos where you're stimulated with all of the creative things you're seeing and hearing, but at the same time, you're receiving Scripture. Basically, my audience is those who have been traumatized in some way and are just trying to find their way back to God."
 
It cannot be understated the impact Anh Lin has had on her audience. In a seemingly short amount of time (two years since launching her first video) Lin has cultivated a community of over 450K subscribers, continually grateful for her work. Countless individuals have commented on the channel on how it has helped them find inspiration, confidence, motivation, positivity, and a sense of ease in the midst of stressful times and mental health issues.
 
Part of her impact comes from her authenticity; while she did not plan to create videos that were intentionally calming and relaxing, it was the style and vibe she naturally put out. Retroactively, Lin has reflected that this is due in part to how God found her during a difficult time in her childhood. Not growing up very religious, Lin recalls experiencing Jesus during a particular low point in high school:
 
"During one especially difficult day I remember thinking very clearly, 'nobody truly loves you'; but as quickly as that thought came, another thought came. I saw in my mind's eye, a painting of Jesus that my mom had in the altar of our childhood home. And I just saw that painting of Jesus, and I felt comfort just wash over me from head to toe right there in that car. And I'd never felt anything that before."
 
It is this experience of Jesus' comfort—whether intentionally done or not—that shines through in Lin's videos. She is a creative curator at heart, effortlessly mixing various creative elements into carefully crafted films that are somehow sacred, spiritual. And even with so many components in her videos, her faith is continually the thread that holds it all together.
 
"My faith is the starting point for everything I do on my channel. I suppose I'm built in such a way that if there is no deeper meaning to something, I very quickly become unmotivated. So I always start with the why, often through a Bible verse (right now I am in Leviticus!), and craft a message and video from there."
 
Lin goes on to describe her creative process; once she finds the why she'll work out a film script with a thesis and three argument points—a habit harkening back to her English Major. From there, she'll think of visual queues and lifestyle shots—whether that be decorating her apartment, sharing recipes, cleaning and organizing, displaying plants—that help serve as visual symbols for her script. She is an entirely creative person, and simultaneously has a clear structure to her filmmaking process; a gentle reminder that any form of making may benefit from parameters, shape, and frameworks.
 
Lin has also found other creative avenues, still with the intent to help others find ease, comfort, peace, and—ultimately—God. Recently, she launched The Abundant Life Devotional, a workbook that includes 30 weeks of Scripture-based wisdom, meant to bring people towards healing and restoration. As she continues to venture out towards new creative pursuits, Lin continually remembers what is most important to her.
 
"At the end of the day my core purpose is that I am made to be loved and I am made to love. All of my pursuit, and everything I am stems from that place."



Learn more about: Girl and The Word & Abundant Life Journal

Words: Bryan Ye-Chung
Images: Courtesy of Anh Lin

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