Hello. I’m the artist behind Atsui Cards. Some of you may know me through my cards, maybe you’ve received one, or supported this passion project of mine at one point or another. I’m here to to let you know I’m grateful my art has been a part of your life, and am here to share how my cards are a blessing in mine.
This is a living project that has changed my life. The birth of my cards started with the death of my father. When I lost him, I found myself looking for more in my life — more meaning, more love, more everything, but I didn’t know what that was or looked like. At the same time, I felt like retreating from life.
When my family and I returned to Hong Kong to tie up loose ends, a family friend surprised us with a box of letters from my Dad. My sister and I lit up and excitedly leafed through the box to read about his journey to America, his hopes, his dreams, and his struggle to pay his own way through college. The letters felt precious even though they were just handwritten pieces of paper. There’s something about a handwritten note that is so full of life and personality, and this thought stayed with me.
Loss is weird and numbing. Sometimes, after I came back home, I pretended it never happened. I missed him most when I wanted to share something, but couldn’t. I started writing little notes and single words and thought about their meaning in my life. I focused on my expression of each word and felt a deep sense of calmness that came over me and found joy and delight in writing them.
When I was finished, I took one word and made it into cards and gave them away. In the process, I found that people loved it. It was a card, but not just a card. I met people from all walks of life and had honest and soulful conversations that changed me. I heard their dreams, heartaches, love, losses, regrets, and appreciation. It didn’t matter that we would probably never see each other again, but those conversations helped me feel that I wasn’t alone.
Sharing my cards meant I was entering the world again, except I didn’t know anyone. I trusted the process though and ended up finding people who believed in what I was doing and gave me a chance to share my cards with more people. These were signs for me to keep going.
Today, my cards have gotten better — my calligraphy, paper, printing, and designs for the backside of my cards. I even redesigned the envelope because I wanted it to complete my work. This never-ending quest to create and improve my work has helped me get better as an artist and designer. This project is my tiny contribution to the world. I answered the call and I have to honor it.
There’s a Swedish proverb that says, “Those who wish to sing always find a song.” This proverb reminds me that life is mysterious and what I seek, I will find. My cards are a gift. The words were always in me. To all the people who heard my song, I feel your love. Thank you.