Now Accepting Commission + Mural Requests


I have not opened commissions for quite awhile, but I am pleased to announce that I am booking projects for the rest of this year and 2018.

For mural commissions, go to the bottom of the page here. I usually paint custom murals for businesses or restaurants who appreciate my style of beauty and color. Of course, I can certainly customize colors, themes, patterns, etc to fit your business. I travel worldwide to paint murals on-site. Prices start at $2000 + travel and materials.

For artwork commissions, please drop me a line anytime describing your vision. There is no size limitation on custom art, and framing can be included. I ship art worldwide. Artwork is the "cherry on top" for any room... it's the first thing people notice! So, I'd love to include your story, or something with deep meaning to you in your perfect commissioned piece of art.


New Tradigital Painting: "Here Am I"

"Here Am I" | Digital collage of hand-painted elements | 24 x 24"

"Here Am I" | Digital collage of hand-painted elements | 24 x 24"


Why would I be asked

To kill a miracle

So soon, after you put him in my care?

Too soon; there's so much left unsaid

And so much left undone.

My eyes are clouded with tears

I cannot see the fire and the wood

But still I say

"Here Am I."

Though I will be reduced to nothing,

Yet I will say

"Here Am I."

Until I hear the cries of the ram

Crowned with thorns

My ransom, and a double portion

Though I cannot see, I will wait


You Are There.


This is a piece I created to deal with the "taking away" of good things that we feel we deserve to keep. Or rather, being asked to give them up. It may feel unfair, and we may hear our own voice asking, "Did he really say...?" The double-headed snake is clever in his use of voices and questions. But if you lift your eyes, even if they are filled to the brim with tears, you will see it... a ram caught in a thicket, for you. You needn't strive. You needn't struggle. The ram will cover your nakedness and your shortcomings. The thorns hurt him, but they do not hurt you. Then you can smile, even faintly, and know... when the snake says "I'll give you all the kingdoms of this world..." you can boldly say: "But I have them already."

The double-snake necklace was inspired by a trip to Gucci. I love their new line of Dionysus bags with the snake closure, and all the symmetrical embroidery. It really behooves me to visit designer brand stores and just ponder (though the salesmen must be disappointed.)

This piece is available to purchase on my art page. It is available in small and large sizes and is limited to an edition of 25. All prints are signed and stamped by me.


I'd Kill Everyone On This Earth For You

"I'd Kill Everyone On This Earth For You" by JUURI
Digital collage of hand-painted elements | 24 x 24" (61 x 61 cm) | Prints available here

I'm sorry that instead of a typical expression

My utterance is only:

"I'd kill everyone on this earth for you."

Lifted from the words of a captain, for his daughter but

that's how I say, I'd follow you into death.

Ridiculous, ludicrous, foolish I know

Strong words from a fragile mouth, bare frame

To someone who really doesn't

Need any help at all.


Before I can kill anyone, I'll most likely be

Killed myself.

And the only fire left will be the one that heats the scarlet trickle

But that's alright with me.

This is a new piece which I made on location in New York City. I love making art when I travel, because I find fresh new influences and emotions that I don't know when I'm at home. 

The painting is beautiful yet violent; the female figure is both opulently arrayed with brilliant blue Hoopoe birds, and yet vulnerable and bare. Her gaze is unaffected and nonchalant... as if she is bleeding out from the neck as a matter of unavoidable (yet not wholly unexpected) circumstances.

I'd love to hear what this piece represents to you.

知らない場所の懐かしさ | The familiarity of a place I've never been

From JUURI's instagram feed.
From JUURI's instagram feed.

 日本語でブログを書きたくなりました。 可笑しな日本語でごめんなさい!






English version:

I just got back from Japan. Ten days' worth of unpacking and laundry is a sight to see! I currently feel like I'm living in a space between Japan and the US. I suppose I will have to return to reality someday, but I will work hard to preserve the inspiration and rejuvenation I got by being back in Japan.

I learned that I can't properly create art without having experiences in Japan. During this hiatus, I learned more about what I want to say with my art, and what I need to paint for myself. More than "objects" or "faces", I truly desire to present a "nostalgic feeling or mood." Maybe the glitters of remembrance I have from living in Japan when I was small. Also, I have a great longing to convey the feeling of being in a dark, quiet forest surrounded by plants. I'm not sure why I'm longing with such familiarity for a place I've never known, and why that longing is mixed so inexplicably with my childhood memories.

Perhaps I will find out if I paint. Or perhaps, I don't need to ever know.

Anyway, I will paint.

Thank you everyone.

+++ Appendment:

Don't worry, I'm not going to give up painting gorgeous girl faces anytime soon. But I'm going to now try to pay more attention to minimalist compositions, gradients, darker (or extremely light) backgrounds, environment, color de-saturation, monotone, neater rendering of plants, mood, feeling... I want to bridge the gap between what I want to paint and what I would display in my own minimalist modern dream home. 


This is the type of Japanese forest which beckons my imagination!


My little self attending Japanese kindergarten in Kobe, Japan.

 I see that now the hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory has joined the fray, and a lot of people are using it to whine about how they are mistreated. So let me tell you my #MyAsianAmericanStory.

I immigrated from Japan to the US when I was six. I got made fun of occasionally in school, yelled at by neighbor kids, and in 7th grade, our class was made to listen to a comedic routine (on cassette tape) that had some jabs at Japanese culture. The rude jokes hurt my feelings so much that I burst into tears in front of the whole class. Major embarrass. And of course when I got older, there were the guys who only liked me because I was another Asian-esque who fit into their Asian fetish. Gross.

If I search history, I can find that thousands of Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps during WWII though they had committed no crime. I can remember the story told by my grandmother in Japan, of how she was forced to move from her home because the city had been firebombed by the Americans. (Something you don't learn in American history books.)

But but but, does any race have a monopoly on suffering? Uh, no. Every person on earth has been mistreated by some other person on earth, simply because humans are cruel creatures who tend to dislike people different from themselves. If you search for sad stories involving your race, you’ll find them all day long. If you live life expecting people to harass you because of your race, it’ll happen constantly.

Knowing history is important. But using history to make excuses, create fake enemies, and find a personal ticket aboard the complain train is an insult to your ancestors and those who suffered before you. We are a nation of immigrants in a world of different races. It's about time people stopped dwelling on every possible negative thing and see how many good people surround them daily.

Oh, and here’s the latter part of my #MyAsianAmericanStory that continues to this day. Any negative comments regarding my race seemed to fade away and be replaced by kindly genuine interest and fascination. I'm not sure if everyone around me grew up, or I did. I've also learned to take a joke and will be the first to laugh about my rice addiction and actual need to create my eyelids in the morning with tape (#asiangirlproblems). Sure, I get an uneducated comment every now and again, but I don't let them bother me, because: seriously, does it matter? I live each day as an artist, my dream job. I have a lovely husband, fantastic family, and probably the cutest dog on earth. I have the greatest friends, and live in a wonderful community in a house which is safe and clean. I get to travel often, including visits back to Japan to see my sweet relatives and hilarious friends. I am very fortunate to belong to two countries which have so many positive things about them. My life is pretty great.

If you look around you, you will also probably see that that your life is great too. If it’s not… nothing in the whole world is holding you back from making it great. Fun quote from a TV show I’ve never watched: “When I feel sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.”

#MyAsianAmericanStory, #asianproblems, #asiangirlproblems, #asiangirls, #immigration, #raceissues, #japaneseamerican, #japanese

New piece: "16 - 鎌倉権五郎景政 -" (Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa)

"16 - 鎌倉権五郎景政 -"
Watercolor, colored pencil, Japanese paper, and gold leaf on wood
24 x 24"
Close-up of the face and Japanese paper collage on the helmet
Close-up of the figure... strangely I like this crop
My stamp, after a long process. DONE!
 Wow, it's been a long few months to complete this piece, but I'm pretty thrilled at the finished piece and the curiously muted (for me) color scheme. Read the story of this mysterious warrior boy below.



Goryo Shrine in Kamakura, Japan. Photo by Tokyobling. Check out this beautiful photo blog!

I saw this post by my favorite Tokyo-based photo blogger, Tokyobling! It's a shrine dedicated to a courageous 16 year old samurai named Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa (born 1069 AD) who fought an entire battle with an arrow lodged in his left eye. What, a, total, badass! I LOVE reading stories of unlikely warriors, so of course I knew I had to paint him as soon as I read his tale.

I almost immediately thought of the scene in the movie 300 when young King Leonidas is learning to fight. I love the intensely ferocious look of the young actor who plays him (who turns out to be Zack Snyder's child. Thank you IMDB) Even though this kid is probably 7-8, not 16, I was still drawn to the image of such amazing strength and determination in the form of a young boy. Fierceness that would put grown men to shame!

Eli Snyder, who plays young King Leonidas in a scene from the movie 300

And the face I thought of from the beginning was a young Japanese actor named Taiga (太賀) whom I first saw playing the historical character Hideyori in NHK's drama, "Gō: Hime-tachi no Sengoku" (江〜姫たちの戦国〜) I think he has the type of youth + uncommonly strong look I was thinking of.

Japanese actor Taiga (太賀)

Japanese actor Taiga (太賀)

Japanese actor Taiga (太賀)

Soooooooo, here are my initial sketches. Kamakura Kagemasa is also depicted in the famous Kabuki play "Shibaraku." That's him in the middle looking extremely scary. My friend also told me that the iconic type of face painting is supposed to suggest the blood streaming down his face. LOVE.

JUURI making a sketch of a young warrior from various reference photos.

Symbolic arrow through the eye... will be done in gold leaf.

I also decided that instead of actually drawing an arrow stuck through someone's eye, which seems a little too gross and distracting, to use gold leaf in a straight line as more of a symbolic arrow. I've tried to loosely follow the iconic kabuki makeup lines with the spatter of blood.

The finished sketch of the body. Now on to the helmet or headpiece.

There, his body is finished. I tried to keep the youthfulness from the Eli Snyder reference. I think you get "youth" from the stomach sticking out a little bit toward the bottom, and a little narrower shoulders. I want people to feel "Oh this young boy looks way too young to be in a battle! But goodness, he looks like he could beat me up!"

Now I have to decide whether to make him wear the headpiece from his character in the Kabuki play, or a historically accurate kabuto (samurai helmet). Hmmm.....



Aaaaaaand more than a week later, I'm back to work on this. I decided to draw the kabuto instead of the kabuki headpiece. You just can't beat the war-ishness of that iconic helmet. However I've decided to make half of it broken off to reveal more of his face. Here I've worked out the little issues in Photoshop, as I always do.

As for color scheme, I am dying to use the hues I found in this gorgeously lush Kabuki ad I found. I am so lucky to have found this! Is not it the most gorgeous color scheme you've ever seen combined?! The grey background, the blinding oranges, the purples, the fuchsias... unusual combo but a totally LUSH. I am so freaking excited to paint this... oh look it's 12:43 AM. I suppose I should sleep and do it tomorrow. UAH! Why I always get so worked up at night!



Transferring the lines from the big print-out of my sketch to big watercolor paper
I wonder if my doggy thinks this is good or lame?
Light watercolor layers. The piece looks like a gorgeous blob at this point.


After another eternity, here are the WIPs I've got to show for my work! Trying to decide whether to make a WIP video for this piece. Nearly done.

Lines all blocked in. Minimal colors at this stage.
Details and shading on the face and body. Drawing in the lines for the flowers
Finishing the flowers... they are too pinkish at the moment. I will tone them down
Gold leafing, wheee~~~
Using pieces of Japanese paper for the kabuto (helmet)
Spraying some clear coat in an appropriate environment.
C'est Fini
Hope you enjoyed the tale of how he came to be! Thank you for taking the time to read his tale!


#kabuki #art #japanese #historical #traditional #culture #popsurrealism #lowbrowart #mixedmedia #fairytales #legend #asian #war #battle #hero #samurai #kamakura #gongoro #kagemasa #watercolor #wip #artistblog #stepbystep

Inspirations from Vienna

We went on a work/holiday trip to Vienna, Austria! Travel gives me such intense inspirations like nothing else can. I'm dreaming of the paintings I can make on this new power... hope the ideas don't melt away under the blanket of home-monotony before I can create them.

We also had short stops in London and Paris, which I'll blog about later!


- I loved the winding stairs leading up to our borrowed apartment. The building was probably almost as old (if not older) than my country. So many stories must be contained within those sunlit hallways, filled with assorted potted plants from neighbors, ornate wall carvings (in need of a good cleaning), the smell of cold stone and old tobacco... and the occasional echo-y cough emanating from a missing window pane of one of the apartments.

- I loved the fresh, spring air of the city as we explored it by bicycle. The bike lanes in Vienna are constant and wide, so you can get anywhere you please with the utmost speed and convenience. There was lots of golden pollen drifting about and people coughed and sneezed with their allergies. But there's nothing like that brilliant yellow golden shine from statues and memorials in the middle of the city.

- I loved the bakeries on every corner, and the dizzying varieties of just-baked delicacies. They were all so cheap, though I would have paid anything to have them! The friendly "Grüss Gott!" of the store clerk girls, the bustle of daily patrons, and the tantalizing possibility of adding a fabulous cup of dark-roast coffee to the sugary treasures was also so such a comfort.

- Flea markets and recycle shop paradise! The antique shops in the US could never hold a candle to the treasures you can find in Europe! The older I get, the more I love to rummage through dusty old treasures in random shops much more than buying shiny outfits in modern malls. We bought an interesting black iron light fixture for €3, and struck a deal with a kindly old Vienese gentleman over some botanical pages from 19th century field guides.

All these lovely feelings and beauty lead me to effortlessly imagining some new artworks. I'm thinking of girls faces on wood, with wood as the skintone. I was to surround them and cover most of their faces with ornate golden swirls, horses, and boughs full of leaves and white berries. The backgrounds can be pure black. Very European, very chiaroscuro, I think.


Girls With Arrows Through Their Hearts

"Boldest of the Marred" by JUURI | 2015

I've been attracted to the arrow-in-the-heart theme since college. To me it represents

- Of unfulfilled dreams.
- Of my own limitations.
- Of human cruelty.
- Of unjust suffering.

"The Rapturous Agony" by JUURI | 2014
- Of beauty and calm amidst great hardship
- Of never giving up no matter what
- Of turning pain into victory instead of defeat
- Of a rejoicing in suffering, facing it courageously instead of running

"Duty" by JUURI | 2014
- Of doing what you must, even when it hurts
- Of Cupid's Arrow... both a blessing and curse
- Of the consequences of my own actions
- Of loneliness, and missing good friends or places

"Cupid's Curse III" by JUURI | 2014

A paradox:
- Am I a strong or weak person?
- Do I work hard to achieve my goals, or am I lazy?
- Do I try to protect myself, or do I sacrifice my own safety for other things?
- How is it that they are all true at the same time?

What does the arrow-girl (or boy) mean to you? Do you see anything in your psyche in the painting? I'd love to know!

<3 J

5 Scariest JUURI Pieces

My paintings are usually full of serene flower-wearing girls; but occasionally out of nowhere, a creepy piece will appear. Check out these top 5 scariest pieces. (Links included for pieces which are available.) Happy Halloween!

1. "Red Tongue - Aka Shita -"

This bizarre lady is based off the yokai of the same name. Read about her crazy tongue and talons here! Original and prints available, from $48.99

2. "Relentless - Yousha Nashi -"

Perhaps the only weapon-wielding JUURI lady ever. Read what she represents here.
Original and prints available, from $58.99

3. "Torn Tail - Osaki -"

This ever-popular piece was a private commission! Can you guess what yokai she is?

4. "Broken or Whole?"

This creepy-looking piece is inspired by a real Japanese festival called THE NAKED FESTIVAL. Strange, huh? Read about what goes on there here.
Original and prints available, from $48.99

5. "The Standing Death of Ben-Kei St. Sebastian"

Just a guy calmly standing with arrows in his neck and blood gushing out. This is actually a real Japanese legend. I didn't make it up. Read about the piece here!
Prints available, $50

Tell me if there are any others you missed. These are fun; I'll have to make more!


WIN A FREE PRINT of "Fortune Favors the Brave"

 Everyone who votes for my Oklahoma City mural "Fortune Favors the Brave" in the Taste of Western mural contest will be entered to WIN a free signed copy of the print of the piece. I appreciate your help because my competition is tough!

HERE'S HOW TO VOTE. Voting ends 10/23/14 at 7pm.

1. Go to

2. Scroll down until you find my mural. Enter a donation of your choice and hit the green "order now" button at the bottom. (There is a voting fee minimum of .99. So, the minimum vote would be one cent + voting fee = $1.) Donations go to future public art projects on Western Ave!

3. Enter your payment info, and wait for the "ticket." Once you receive the ticket, your vote has been counted. You don't have to do anything with the ticket.

4. I will pick a winner for the print at random and mail the signed piece to your door!

Thank you for your help, and good luck to both of us!


Humongous Mural Finished! "Fortune Favors the Brave"

After two weeks of pure insanity (12-hour days, fast food diet, long commutes to and from OKC, and absolutely nothing else at all in my life) my mural is safely finished.

"Fortune Favors the Brave" by JUURI | Public art @ 44th & Western in Oklahoma City | Photo by Quit Nguyen

JUURI with her mural at @ 44th & Western in Oklahoma City | Photo by Quit Nguyen
"Fortune Favors the Brave" by JUURI | Public art @ 44th & Western in Oklahoma City | Photo by Quit Nguyen

Here is the meaning behind the piece:

My mural is entitled "Fortune Favors the Brave," alluding to the resilience of Oklahomans to withstand overwhelming natural and man-made disasters. No matter the hardships, we always bounce back and treat everyone with kindness, free of embitterment.

The muse for my piece is a local 14-year old girl who is beautiful inside and out. She is crowned with kimono-style florals and scissor-tailed flycatchers rendered in kimono style to represent my Japanese heritage.

The thin blue line represents law enforcement who have given so much of themselves in our times of need here in this state. As a volunteer for the police department in Norman, I can confidently say that our officers are some of the best people I have met in my time living here. (An Oklahoma City officer and a Norman officer helped me paint the line.) The line is placed behind the eyes of the girl to symbolize future watchfulness against threats, and the line in front of the left eye means that we will never forget the past.


My First Mural Ever

I've started my first legit mural ever. It's at 44th & Western in OKC, and will be part of this year's "Taste of Western" event taking place on Oct 23rd. The idea is to have a night of wondrous cuisine, wine, and 5 brand-new murals in close proximity! You can reserve tickets at the official event page here.

Anyways, my wall is HUGE! It's about 30 feet high and approximately the length of Smaug himself. I was pretty excited, but also daunted for weeks because I've never painted this big in my life. Would it be super hard? Would it be amazingly easy? Would the texture of the exterior wall make me want to kill myself? I didn't know WHAT to expect!

My huge wall, 30 ft high.

Well well, After picking up our paints at HIS Paint (who were kind enough to donate lots of materials and give us massive discounts on others) we projected the image onto the wall and started outlines.

PEOPLE. Being 20 feet up on that leetle yellow scaffolding is SCARY. My knees were wobbling. I actually couldn't handle it, and that wasn't even tall enough to do the top stuff! Ladders are better. And even better than ladders is having E up on the there doing my work for me. Juuuust joking. I did work too.

 But I'm SUPA excited about the painting! It was really fun and fulfilling. I can't wait to start on my girl's face! The cool thing was the number of people who walked up and wanted to tell us how awesome they thought it looked. (Even though... it was just a few lines at this point.) People really respond to oversize art being created live. I probably talked to more people last night than I have at any art opening. Cool!

Good progress for one night. And now it's past 1 am. Hoooo

 I will post updates on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I guess I should probably be tech-saavy and invent a hashtag, so how about #juurimural. OK? Please follow our progress and send me your thoughts!

We have to have this done in 2 weeks! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! You know where I'll be for the next few long days. C-ya at Taste of Western, if I'm still alive! Bai!


New painting: "Contrarie - Amanojyaku -"

Here is my newest girl, "Contrarie!" What a mix of delicacy and violent pain she is!

Contrarie - Amanojyaku - | Watercolor, colored pencil, gold leaf, and fabric collage on board

She is watercolor, colored pencil (for the details) and kimono fabric collage on board. I ordered the fabric from an Etsy shop in Japan and spent a looong time cutting out the elements that I wanted, pasting them to the board. I really enjoy this unique fusion of media and collage, plus it lets me feature the stunning world of kimono fabric design! Behind my girl's head is a giant patch of gold leaf. It makes her hair shape kind of like the Queen of Hearts' on the most recent Alice in Wonderland movie.

I've always been drawn to the arrow-pierced / impossibly-calmly-suffering imagery like that of St. Sebastian, Ben-Kei, Joan of Arc, etc. One of my favorite pieces I made in college was also an arrow-pierced lady. I must have some deep psychological issue to be drawn to this imagery over and over... *crazy laughter.* This piece was also influenced by one of my favorite Caravaggio paintings, "Young Sick Bacchus."

The Japanese word amanojyaku (天邪鬼) refers to a demon-like creature in traditional folklore. However, it can also mean a very contrary or stubborn person. You know the type... the person who always delights in being the direct opposite of what everyone else says and does. Basically: me.

If something is madly popular and everyone is getting on the train, I most likely won't... or will only do so if I decide the thing is really worthy; and even then, with begrudging trepidation. Also, if a person or group is despised by the hip crowd, I will most likely end up taking a liking to them. I take a weird delight in being isolated, disconnected, bizarre, and thinking differently than most people in my demographic. I sometimes don't even feel that I fit in properly with other artists.

My Contrarie girl is surrounded with gorgeous florals to show that she is ever surrounded by beauty and good things, (like I am,) but her stubbornness, tenacity, and amanojyaku-ness often bring her pain. Still she carries on, because she's grown accustomed to the sting of opposition and impossible dreams. It isn't the first time, nor the last that she'll be shot right through the heart.

Hopefully this painting made you think, and maybe you can even see a bit of yourself in her.

Both the original piece and prints will be available to purchase in my shop on Friday, 9/26/14!

Coaster Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in LA

Halo everybods, I'm here to tell you that I'm in a fantastic show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in LA. Even though it's a group show with 1,050+ pieces, I'm still supa dupa excited to be at this gallery.... one of the best, as we know! I'm trying not to scream like a fangirl!

I saw the preview yesterday and was blown away by the level of art. If you live in the LA area, this will be a show to see. There is so much good art jam-packed into tiny coasters. They are expecting several thousand attendees, so it sounds like the place to be. It's not going to be a small-time event!

I'm so sad I couldn't make it to LA this time. Hopefully there will be more shows there to come. If you are interested in purchasing my coasters, please email the gallery.


Amedama I - IV  |  Mixed media & vintage kimono collage on paper  |  $75 each

New Painting: "Red Tongue - Aka Shita - "

I can't stop painting my interpretations of various yokai, so here is another one! I believe this is only one of a few "bad girls" I've painted... my girls are usually innocent and melancholy. But it's fun to do something different for a change.

Red Tongue -Aka Shita- | Watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil, and gold leaf on wood panel | 24 x 24" | Available to buy

The original creature is simply called "Aka Shita" which means "Red Tongue." It's not supposed to be a female in particular, just a cloud of smoke. Here's a brilliant illustration of it from this new snazzy yokai project site.

From this description I took the part about red mouth and red tongue... perfect for a female with a wild attitude! It sort of reminded me of Jessie J's impossibly colored mouth in this video.

The creature is supposed to have claws, but I didn't want her to seem too cheesily witch-like, so I opted to give her a fashionable talon ring instead. It's like she's using it to draw the lines of smoke all around her.

I used to have to ask Lowe's workers to chop plywood for me every time I went there, but behold: now they sell perfectly pre-cut 24 x 24" birch plywood boards. Yeeeei! They are thicker than the other type, too. I like to paint the edges with a bold color, so the painting doesn't need a frame. It has a wire on the back and is ready to hang!

If this lady captures your heart, remember that you can purchase this piece! Look at my shop for details.


New Piece: "Baien"

I decided to go back to a previous method or working: cutting girls out of paper and pasting them on wood! Whooo, it was exhilarating and fun. I've missed it!

This piece is quite large, a 2x2 foot square. The girl is watercolor & colored pencil on paper. The background is acrylic paint on top of a birch panel. The golden parts are real gold leaf that shine in the light. She took me about a fortnight to complete.

Baien -梅園- | Watercolor, acrylic, & colored pencil on wood | 24 x 24"

She is called "Baien" after a heavenly nature park which I visited last time I was in Japan. Baien is in the sleepy little seaside town of Atami, not far outside of Tokyo. Atami is famous for its onsen (natural hot springs.) The town is a bit old fashioned and quaint, and that's what I love about it! You can explore its slightly shabby steep streets endlessly and be greeted by friendly faces everywhere you turn.

Anyway: I'm glad we decided to pay the small entry fee for Baien. It was well worth it because it turned out to be one of the most beautiful, serene, and peaceful places I've ever been. The area was in a quiet valley filled with plum and cherry trees of all sorts. Waterfalls and rivers wove alongside the walking paths, and filtered sunlight streamed in from above. Here and there were old style Japanese houses and gardens through which you could wander. It was early spring, so the weather was perfect.

We stayed in a hotel close by. And yes, the onsen (hot springs) are marrrrvelouuuuuus.

One morning, I got up early and had a peaceful soak in the hot water. There weren't many people there, so I felt like I was in my own private paradise. The water was soooo warm and comforting, the sunlight was streaming in through the windows and making the steam glow all around me, and my stress level was truly at 0. I closed my eyes and tried to lock in that memory, since it was such a perfectly blissful moment.

Those happy feelings have come back to me lately. And that's why I wanted to paint "Baien" girl, to remind me of being perfectly happy and enveloped softly by the warmth of the natural water. The bright pink flowers in her hair remind me of that beautiful Baien park forevermore. I hope you feel serene, peaceful, and content when you look at her.

So now you know the story behind her. Check out this step-by-step process video! It's just 52 seconds long, don't worry.

Julie (JUURI)


For the past few months, I feel like I'm flitting to and fro in a mysterious landscape full of inspiration. Wild, fervent inspiration that only lasts a few minutes and then burns out in a spectacular flame.

I can't even finish the sketch before the vision is gone. A few hours later, I come upon another mind-numbing inspiring thought... try to capture her, but then she disappears before I can even find a pencil.

Why can I not find a bleeding pencil!? I need to buy a bucketload and have them available absolutely everywhere.

So, I haven't finished anything worthwhile in months.

Most of the time these days I can't even draw. My skill eludes me. I don't know what's going on.

How long do I have to say in this strange place, I wonder?  Why am I full of thoughts I can't express?

It's terribly, horribly frustrating. I'm not sure when I'll find a cure.


At my "A Vivid Paradox" show in August 2013.

 New artists often ask me for advice on how to make art a successful career. If you define "success" as becoming an overnight sensation and selling so much art that you have enough income to afford three new cars and a 2500 square foot house, I'm not the person to ask. But, if you define success as waking up every single day to do what you love, and what you were born to do... read on! Here are my tips that I've discovered along my journey. I will add to this list as time goes on.

1. Fight to become a ridiculously positive person.

Do you think this sounds like a forgettable froofy feel-good graphic on the "quotes" section of Pinterest? It really isn't. I've found that it's the #1 most important thing to an artist's well-being, no matter the stage of your career.

Negative thoughts, emotions, and low expectations are some kind of poison that seeps into your art. They permeate your person. They make a hugely glowing bad aura around you. Then, before you realize it, no-one will want to be around you, much less have anything to do with your art. Even pieces listed online will become saturated with this darkness, and no-one in cyberspace will touch them, even people that you think have no way of detecting your negative thoughts.

How do I know? I know because this has happened to me before. You have to fight to be positive.

On the other hand, I know artists that are happy, dream ridiculously big, are upbeat, friendly to their peers, and always excitedly in love with art. They create a wonderful vibe around them. Their entire community is delighted to see what they create, and they make amazing collaborations with national and international artists! If something bad happens, they laugh it off. Surround yourself with these types of positive buddies that build each other up and dream together. That's what I've done to combat my naturally pessimistic personality, and it's worked wonders in both my life and career. Since art is created from the soul, it's essential that your soul is energized, and passionate about creating!

Work-in-progress shot of "Beauty or Beast"

2. Perfect your craft, whatever it may be.

If you love drawing flowers, become the best flower-drawer there is. If you can't resist creating sculptures out of wire, become a wire-obsessed maniac who knows everything about the topic. If you love the human figure, burn through those oversize newsprint pads with drawings upon drawings!

Don't think that you can make up for your lack of skill with brilliant sales & marketing techniques. That type of art may draw hype for awhile, but after it's had its glory day in the hot sun, it'll melt away into boring nothingness and you'll be left with only a shell of a worthless thing.

NO! Become an absolute Jedi master of what you love. If you are mind-blowingly good, people will always take note.  Plus, you'll feel super fulfilled and will be crazy about your craft itself, which is more important than being crazy about sales. Throw a giant capital P onto that practice, practice, practice! (I need to remind myself of this daily, because I am admittedly sometimes very lazy.)

Wrangling a day job to work up to being a full-time artist. It can definitely be done.

3. Be a brilliant military strategist when it comes to your  day job.

Behold, the common enemy: "I can't be an artist because I have to have a day job because I need money to survive." You can defeat this common foe. You just have to plan your attack strategically.

The first part of your master plan, for now, could be to choose a day job that will in some way prepare you for your goal of becoming a full-time artist. It could be an art gallery job (you'll learn about shows, proper presentation, and keeping up with collectors), a graphic design job (you'll learn how to work with clients, meet deadlines, and be continually creative), a  marketing job (you'll learn how to do  your own promotion and gain invaluable sales skills), or an easy job (one that allows flexibility and free time for you to work on your dream machine.)

For example, I worked for several years as a receptionist at an office full of supportive, kind people who would let me create artwork between my other duties. Though sometimes I felt embarrassed that I had a job that a junior high school student could do, I used the precious time to build up my inventory of artworks, establish a website and branding, and start some marketing. I even had a space to keep all my art stuff and a place where I could pack and ship sales. Last fall, I finally became so busy with my art ventures that I couldn't keep up with both it and my day job. I truly knew that if I went full-time with my art, I could replace my weekly income I was making at the receptionist job.

It's at this point that I knew my plan was complete; it was time to go full-time with art. So I did!

It was a very smooth transition, and at no point did I run out of money. It's sort of a balancing act, like a seesaw, but at the end the heavy end will be your art career. After all, you're the only person who can decide your own job. It's not going to walk up to you and ask you to take it. So stop dreaming and start planning! *Jack Bauer voice* DO IT NOW!

4. Copy that, copycat.

You might think, "WHAAAAT, copy?! Oh nooooo" but listen for a second. I don't mean ripping off someone's work or turning yourself into a superfan clone of someone else. However, you can learn so many good things by observing methods used by other artists who have gone before you.

My tip is to find an artist whom you aspire to be like, and do a bit of investigation. Where do they show? What magazines have they been in? What sites? What blogs? Is their website set up in a particular way that promotes their art well? Do they have a newsletter or some other way of marketing? Write down the things they have achieved that you would like to achieve, and then take cues from the trails they have already blazed to reach those goals. It's almost like a tutorial.

In a career that can sometimes seen overwhelming, confusing, and without any concrete plan of action, this method helps a lot to figure out where you're going. List those goals and confidently walk along in your journey!

Tropic Fever

Nothing can energize my creative mind and blast my brain full of new ideas like TRAVEL can! I make it a priority and try to have something like 2 big trips per year, with some little ones added in.

I went to Mexico in the summer, and this winter I visited Hawaii for the first time since I was a child.

You know how, when you're little, everything seems magical and beautiful; and as you get older, you get more cynical and see more negative things about everything? That's why I thought that I might see a slightly less-glamorous Hawaii than I did when I was 4, but guess what?

Hawaii put a giant shush-finger on my mouth and made me see this. Right in my neighborhood.

And I saw that the WAVES themselves are bright teal as they come crashing down toward the shore, floofing into a foamy blanket of white.

And I saw that the plain old "overrated" sunsets look like this.

And that when you go into the mountains, there are slices of sideways, impossibly steep angles covered from bottom to top in lush green. I didn't see any scary bugs, either. Not even one. It was just peaceful, breezy quietness. Probably because all the carpets of green absorb all noise.

And real sea turtles come up and sleep on the beach next to where you're staying. At first they were so still that I was afraid they were dead... but then as I stared at one, he slowly opened his giant dark eyes and gave me a knowing nod. I didn't see any other movement from any of them after that. Magical moment!

And you can chase and find the boldest, hugest, clearest rainbows you've ever dreamed of.

And, since the islands aren't that big, pretty much every common place looks like some variation of this.

And the fruit tastes like heaven in your mouth. Papayas in Oklahoma Wal-mart produce section, please change your name, since it's an insult to the real Papayas that commonly grow in people's yards in Hawaii.

And the sand is über-soft between your toes. And the people are friendly, kind, and welcoming. And colorful geckos and random wild chickens are as abundant as squirrels! And the weather truly is perfect, even in the dead of winter. And everything is alive in blazing, brilliant color.

My color-loving heart is about to burst with excitement! Looking forward to a very vibrant 2014.


(All photos are © JUURI Art. You can share them, but please give credit. Thanks!)

Mysterious Girl! "Relentless - Yousha Nashi -"

"Relentless -Yousha Nashi-" | Mixed media on wood panel | 18x24"

I made this unprecedented-ly wild (for me) painting to explore a grim topic that I had been thinking about lately. That is illegal drugs. I realize that it's a bit weird for an artist to be so opposed to drugs, (aren't we all supposed to smoke weed and say f*** the police all the time whilst creating angst-y, shocking works?) Maybe so, but I've never fit in with the crowd.

Anyway, I currently live in the state which is ranked #1 for drug abuse in the entire country, and this entire country is #1 for illegal drug consumption in this whole world. I had never known those facts before. But I do now. It bothers me a lot to see so many mentally distressed people wandering the streets in my city, many who got into their present condition from years of drug abuse.

So, back to the (mostly symbolic) painting: my scary AR-15 wielding girl is several people at once: Mexico's Santa Muerte, Japanese folklore monster Hone-Onna (bone-woman), with a touch of a modern Grim Reaper, the Angel of Death, and Lady Justice all rolled into one peony-crowned girl with a ferocious, confident stare and skeleton hands. I believe everyone who traffics or manufactures drugs for profit without regard to the suffering it causes will all be punished somehow in the end. In the real world, the punisher won't be a pretty slight girl like the one in this painting... that's just my JUURI imagination working as usual.

I hope you like the look of her face and the vivid colors. I had a lot of fun creating this beautiful yet somber piece. Hopefully it reminds people that justice is coming.