Q&A with Creative Artist-Curator Dymphna Lanjuran

Dymphna Lanjuran, Artist-Curator and Gallerist of Inner Joy Art

Art is more than just paintings, brushes and colours. When a creative person pursues the path as a professional artist, they are actually starting a business. This in fact is true because an artist is selling their product, which is their artworks or art collection. To survive as an artist and as an entrepreneur, it is important to learn how to find balance between being an art creator and a business person. Find that balance and you will soon learn about yourself, a valuable lesson that only you can teach yourself. I am glad that I am able to have someone as experienced as Dymphna on board, not only to tell her story, but to also have her share with you how you can define your artist career path in the way that you have visualized. -Shia Lynn
Hi, Dymphna!
Hello! My name is Dymphna Lanjuran. I am a former lawyer who specializes in Employment Law for about 11 years before focusing solely on the arts.

My journey in art started when I was a child, where art was a hobby and something that I naturally did for leisure, sharing with family members and school & art competitions. As I grew older and went out into the world, I practiced a hybrid career in both law and art.

My first experience showcasing my artworks for public viewing was in 2012. Since then, I never looked back, and from 2014 onward, I started conducting art jam sessions followed by art workshops in subsequent years.

I love people and I am passionate about people's development and personal development. My vision is to see a happier, kinder, more loving and compassionate world where everyone lives and love each other equally. 

Hence, besides law and art, I am also active in community development and humanitarian works. I was thrilled when I discovered that art can be utilized as one of the effective tools to reach out to people from all walks of life and support the said vision.

In 2019, together with business partner, we founded Inner Joy Art, an art gallery and art studio in Malaysia which focuses on bringing happiness through art experience. When Inner Joy Art was established, I decided to focus solely on this and forego law as my career.

Through Inner Joy Art, impactful art exhibitions with specific messages and themes that benefited the public are developed, curated and produced. I also conduct acrylic painting workshops in Inner Joy Art.

What inspired you to take the jump and pursue an artistic career path?
After practicing law for about 5 years, I discovered that the high stress in my legal career could be balanced out when I involved art as part of my life too. I started to revisit this childhood hobby and regularly involved some forms of art in my lifestyle back then, eg. doodling, digital drawing, sketching and drawing whenever I could find the time to do so. 

In 2012, I went through a leadership program that changed the way I view things in life. I started to reflect more about life - eg. Questions like 'what else are out there besides work?', 'why am I doing what I'm doing?', 'how can I contribute more to society?', 'if I am happy when I'm making art, what's next?'... 

I felt like I was back in Jurisprudence and Philosophy classes, two of my favourite subjects when I was reading law! But this time, the questions were personally about me.

With the guidance of a coach in that leadership program, I decided to challenge myself to prepare for a public showcase of my artworks! I didn't think it was possible back then, because lots of conversations involving 'fear' popped up. But I did it anyway - 3 of my pencil sketches were exhibited in a talent show in a restaurant in Kelana Jaya, Selangor! 

I was thrilled, excited and I literally saw the possibilities of a whole new world opening up before me. I also found the answers to all of the questions I asked myself earlier.

Since then, I continued to develop my artistic career alongside my legal career too. I dabbled with acrylic paint in 2013, and I love it! My first group art exhibition showcasing my acrylic paintings was in 2014.

After that, one of my good friends, Lena Lim, who exhibited with me back then, proposed the idea of conducting art jam sessions to bring the joy of art to the public too! And so, we did that - mobile art jam sessions in private residences and holiday resort. Gradually, I also started conducting art workshops.

Seeing the joy of other people who painted during the art jam sessions and art workshops was very fulfilling and meaningful. That was really inspiring and that continued to drive me in my hybrid legal-artistic career. However, by 2016, it was apparent to me that I would like to focus more on art instead of law, so I left the legal in-house role that I was in back then and started my own consulting firm that enabled me to have more freedom in managing my own time, balancing between legal works and art.

I started to actively participate in group art exhibitions in Malaysia and Indonesia too. I am thankful that I crossed paths with several other artistic souls who shared similar passion and vision in art too. In 2017, the art community group, Opposites Abstract was formed and through that, I had the opportunity to organise, host, produce and co-curate several art exhibitions for local and international emerging artists in Malaysia. 

All of the above made me realize that there is a need in our society for a space that enables emerging artists to showcase their talents and works of art, while at the same time, the public is also able to have easy access to those artistic works and have a go at art themselves too so that they can personally experience the joy of art as a whole. 

With that vision, Inner Joy Art was formed in 2019. In short, the inner joy of art is what made me take the jump and pursue an artistic career path on a full-time basis now.

What’s the favorite thing you love most about your creative job?
What I love the most about my creative job is seeing people's faces lit up with joy when they step into the gallery and when they paint! Art is naturally soothing and I feel so happy to be able to provide this platform where busy working adults can have easy access to art through Inner Joy Art, the gallery itself or virtually through our social media platforms.

What are your tips on managing finances while sustaining a solo art entrepreneur career?
Managing finances is like one's individual journey to personal growth - it is personally different from one individual to another, and it is an ongoing learning to find what works best for each individual. As an entrepreneur, I think it is very important to equip ourselves with knowledge on finances through:
  1. Reading
  2. Attending personal development courses that covers in-depth about one's beliefs about money
  3. Be open to learning from our own personal experiences too 
Personally, all 3 above have supported me tremendously, especially no. 2, because when we learn how to identify these things, we will be able to find ways that works best for us. 

I prefer not to state any specific ways of doing this, as what worked for one may not work for others because everyone's beliefs about money is different. However, what definitely supported me is embracing a simpler way of living - going minimalist. 

Specific tips to Artpreneurs are probably to understand and accept that managing finances and seeing NUMBERS are not something intimidating. I usually heard artists (and lawyers too) say - "I am not good with Math". Whether we realized it or not, this is the statement that may have formed limiting money beliefs that may have caused resistance to managing money with some Artpreneurs. 

So, if you are reading this and you could feel the resistance that I mentioned above, then perhaps to be supportive is to change that statement to - "I enjoy managing money, and I am good at that!" Math and art are highly compatible, like what Leonardo da Vinci said. Something like these 2 statements can be your affirmation and support you. It will take consistency and practice, but I personally believe that once this part is handled, the mechanism of handling one's finances will come naturally. 

On the other hand, if you have identified the above belief to be true for you, then it may be better to outsource the management of your art business finances to a third party, such as an independent accountant. 

What are your tips for artists who are starting out?
For artists who are starting out, my advice is to continue to explore, practice your art and grow. With technology and easy access to knowledge, there are a lot of ways to grow your art, yourself and to be connected to various other artists, galleries, agencies, etc. all over the world. 

However, what keeps an artist on the path is the fundamental of knowing of your Why's:- these are your essentials, and will be your driving force and passion to carry on and grow. 

Ask yourself these questions by writing down your answers in a notebook, journal or anywhere that you can easily refer to and reflect:

1. Know your Why's - eg. Why do you paint, draw or make art?
2. Why do you want to pursue an artistic career?
3. Imagine this: You are a successful artist. What does life look like to you when you are older or in your old age?
4. What specific artistic achievements have you accomplished?
5. Whose lives have you impacted?
6. Who are with you?

Compare your answers for no.3 & 4 with where you are now and adjust your sails towards that. 

Pursuing an artistic career requires clarity of intention and focus. If you have the above clear, that's great and you can continue to work on no.3 & 4 from time to time as you grow. If you are still at a stage that you are unable to answer the above, that's fine too.

Dymphna's Seven Artful Business Tips for Artpreneurs:
  1. Go with the flow and be open to any opportunities that present themselves to you. 
  2. Explore what feels good to you, follow that, expand and grow. 
  3. Be active in social media - engage with your friends and followers in social media. 
  4. Take care of yourself - self-love is a must. 
  5. Have the courage to be your unique individual self and showcase that uniqueness in your art too. 
  6. Have integrity at all times. INTEGRITY is very important. Words matter, so keep your words and be respectful to everyone.
  7. DON'T Lie to yourself and to others. Don't break words or promises made to clients, artist friends, anyone. Dishonesty is a trait that lowers down trust and harms your reputation. 

Do you feel Dymphna speaks to you? Follow Dymphna's work as an Artist-Curator and Gallerist here at Inner Joy Art | Follow her Artpreneur journey here Dymphna.Art and website About Dymphna


Q&A with Creatives is an interview topic by The Artsy Craftsy to empower fellow artists, crafters and makers with artful life and business tips and advice.

The Artsy Craftsy by Shia Lynn documents her journey on exploring life through art, crafts, creativity and creative mindful living. She also covers mainly creative arts and handmade community related stories. We welcome content collaboration with creatives, creative lifestyle event invites, including sponsored content and brand partnerships. Request for our rate card or speak to us about our creative service. Email theartsycraftsy@gmail.com

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