Positive Signs

Positive Signs is a series of interpretive diagrams, quotes, and speculations on creativity, optimism and the lives of artists, as well as brief forays into the nature of space, stuff, experience, and cognition. It’s my attempt to share my research into positive psychology with artists and art enthusiasts.

In the course of examining optimism, pessimism, and happiness in my art for the past few years, these themes have formed a feedback loop winding through my art, life, and attitudes. I have become endlessly fascinated with how individuals make their lives in the arts, and what keeps them motivated and resilient.

In my research, I have come across interesting findings in positive psychology, a branch of psychology that encompasses wellness and optimal experience. I hope to share some ideas that might help artists maintain optimistic outlooks. For the general public, contemporary artists’ lives may seem shrouded in mystery or rarefied discourse. I hope to increase popular understanding about artists’ lives, concerns, and enthusiasms, as well as psychological outlooks on aesthetic experiences.

Selected drawings are available pre-framed.

I posted Positive Signs on SFMOMA’s Open Space blog as a weekly series. The drawings use occasional foil printing, a method of transfer pioneered by Virginia Myers.

Caption: Christine Wong Yap, Positive Signs #1–60, 2011, glitter and/or fluorescent pen with occassional holographic foil print on gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm. // Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 2011, glitter, neon and gel pen on vellum and paper, glitter foil on board, acetate, paper, ribbon, wood, 4.25 x 7 x 0.75 in / 11 x 18 x 2 cm

With thanks to the following sources:


SPEAKERS at the International Positive Psychology Association's Second World Congress on Positive Psychology (2011): Edward Deci (presenting research conducted with Richard Ryan), Ed Diener, Matt Gallagher, Shane Lopez, James Pawelski, Martin E.P. Seligman, and Robert Vallerand. The artist's attendance was possible with the support of the generous support of the Jerome Foundation.

Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was on view in Recovering, an exhibition curated by Mike Chavez-Dawson from June to July 2011 at Untitled Gallery in Manchester, UK.