Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself motivated or inspired by my creative peers, whether it’s in the arena of writing, art, music and more. Occasionally, really interesting things regarding my fellow creatives make their way to me and I’m driven to share them with you. Miami based author Mreeuh Chang and one of my favorite designers and all-around wonderwomen, Toniesha Renee recently got together to discuss Mreeuh’s new book, Drones Don’t Dream, which is not your typical piece of children’s literature. Rather than continue to talk you to death, I’ll let you read the insightful conversation below.
Some would describe Mreeuh Chang as a radical, based on her new children’s book entitled Drones Don’t Dream. However, I declare that she is radiant.
Getting back to truly inspiring children to hold onto their dreams, imagination and the qualities we often lose while “growing up”, this recent work of art includes a rhyming story created under the premise that children today are more spiritually and technologically advanced than previous generations. Thus they must figure out how to preserve their consciousness and explore their own imagination in an increasingly virtual society.
I had a chance to speak with Mreeuh, who happens to be an Atlanta native born to Korean immigrants. This talented Renaissance woman is not new to versatility. Chang is skilled in a wide variety of artistic expression, including tattooing, painting, illustrating and writing. Here’s what she had to say.
What do you want children or even adults to take away from the book?
This book is for the advanced child or the youthful adult. Hopefully people of all ages will be moved by it. I want people to be curious about their subconscious, nurture their imagination, and be confident and hopeful in their quest. I want people to feel confident in their curiosity and imagination, not feel so crazy, alone or out of place. I believe technology is a reflection of our untapped superhuman abilities. I want to get young people to carefully examine technological dependency, what it means to be “connected” and not let it distract them from their inner worlds. During a time of rampant access, it’s important to create a culture that nurtures the innate wisdom of children today.
In what ways has social media and technology desensitized us and made us unable to connect with our inner selves?
Every great social advancement carries a curse with it. Anything with great potential comes with unintended consequences and a complex mix of positive and negative repercussions.
Technology has deeply reshaped the nature of both solitude and connection. We can tap into the world wherever there is wi-fi. Even when you are alone, you can have everyone’s thoughts in your head and even when you are with others, you can be alone. I currently am typing this sitting next to someone playing a game on their tablet and someone else watching a movie online.
If you could go back and tell yourself something as a child, what would it be?
If I could go back and tell my former self anything, I wouldn’t, because that would disrupt the order of things. Drones Don’t Dream is definitely the book I would have wanted to read then.
You are a writer, a painter, a tattoo artist and much more. What medium do you feel most comfortable and enjoy working in the most?
Tattooing was my art school. Before then I would never complete any work or practice accuracy. My ideal medium varies depending on mood & what I’m able to do. Painting allows for the most freedom but I also need to write to process some thoughts and I love tattooing, both as trade and art form.
What’s your favorite children’s book and why?
Alice in Wonderland because of its wide range of characters, from the busy White Rabbit to the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat to the Caterpillar, the different perspectives and responses they all have towards Alice and the range of emotions she went through in her dream world. I have “No Time To Say Hello Goodbye” tattooed on my arm & wrist. It’s definitely been an influence on me growing up.
I have my own mind and my own opinion & I’m a part of society so as far as I’m concerned my opinion is society’s opinion. I know there’s people who think like me, in their own way. I don’t think I’m “radical”. I’m driven by more than just the need to be different or rebel for no reason. I wrote the book because I feel comfortable writing to children. It takes away the politics and categorization of an adult audience, plus I can illustrate, so the two marry well. Also, children’s books have the most potential to impact society because not only does it foster literacy in children but it provides narratives for them to follow. This generation and the following generations are more becoming more spiritually and technologically advanced at a fast rate. At the same time, children are reading less. This is just my way of using my vision and skill to fill in this gap I see in the world.
How does spirituality play a part in your life /writing/art?
Art is definitely spiritual. Both require paying excruciating attention to yourself and the world, and the feeling of submitting to a force that is infinitely wiser than you. I call God, God because I’m American but I’m in love with what I can best describe as the force of creation that connects all living things. The root word of “spirituality” is “spirit”, this other dimension that different cultures personify into different deities depending on their region and belief system. I strongly believe that what a person believes defines their physical experience, so spirituality is a like theatre of the mind: the subconscious, the same place where art thrives.
What is next for Mreeuh Chang?
I intend on settling in Miami while traveling back and forth. I’ll continue to create work on a larger and larger scale. I want to work more with children instead of negotiating with galleries. More workshops, less parties. More publishing, less talking. Always more creating. Drones Don’t Dream is the first of a trilogy, the next two will be released about five years apart. In the first one, the boy is a child. The second one, he is a teenager and in the third one, he is an adult.
For more, visit DronesDontDream.com
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