About Ava Jarvis
I live in the Pacific Northwest. Previously I worked as a software developer for over 10 years. I became an artist when my health issues worsened. I am disabled.
My parents were refugees from the Vietnam War. I was born in the US. My childhood was traumatic, as the War had affected my parents deeply.
These days I work on recovering my lost cultural roots. Learning about non-Western art traditions and schools is important to me: from Chinese shuǐ mò huà scroll art to Vietnamese Đông Hồ woodcuts. Some of their aspects I combine into my Flora on Fire paintings.
I also love a lot of European art, particularly works from the Post-Impressionism and Expressionism movements. I love especially the works of Cézanne, van Gogh, and Marc—the latter of whom helped to found the Blue Riders.
The Chinese character for "horse" painted in blue strokes.
I have a certain fondness for the Surrealists as well; both Magritte and Escher were favorite childhood artists of mine. As a result, I love to play with illusions and include fantastical elements in my work. I admire realism and naturalism, but neither are at the heart of my work.
My art generally doesn't shy away from bright colors and contrast. My love of the drama of ink contributes to that. Sometimes I translate and incorporate Japanese poetry from old-age poets like Kobayashi Issa, because I can't read Vietnamese.
In my major pieces, and most of my minor ones, I use art to tell a story. These narratives come from the deep waters of a complicated past that the present stirs and ripples.
These days my stories emphasize survival and the ability to find respite and joy even in the depths of the storm. I reflect, again and again, the ways in which I survived hardships few dream of, in the hopes of helping others survive and thrive.
The past echoes. The future doesn't exist. We live now.