Artist Statement

My paintings and drawings explore my environment with as much immediacy as possible through haptics, and through the application of texture, color, and line in abstract work. My interest in haptics stems from a desire to be rooted in the body and its senses, where the drawn or painted line becomes empathic response of the body to phenomena that make up the environment (for example, sounds of traffic, machinery, music, water, movement of leaves, or wind) not unlike the way the needle on a Richter scale registers the movement of the earth. Haptic drawing and painting is also a meditative practice that stems from my experiences with vipassana and zen. I sometimes juxtapose the abstract and “feeling” quality of haptics with contrasting geometric elements that act as borders, containing or directing the energy of the line, seeking composure. In related, but not specifically “haptic” work, I play with color and the tactile qualities of paint, at times combining paper and other materials in collage. My use of line, color, and texture are ways to embody or “feel my way in” to an environment or object to understand its shape(s), movement, limitations, and even its destruction.

Artist Bio

Jean Vengua is an artist, writer, and poet. Her visual art often explores haptic perception, where the mind and body perceive and translate perceptions through the body and hands using pencil, paintbrush, pen. Her haptics relate to asemic writing, which is gestural and experimental as well as to the practice of zen meditation. Aside from haptics, she is currently working on a series of abstract, locally-based paintings that explore the experience of California’s recurring “fire season” in the Central Coast/Big Sur areas. Jean is returning to painting after a having spent several decades focusing on writing and teaching. Jean is the author of Prau, a collection of experimental poetry (for which she received the Filamore Tabios, Sr., Memorial Prize (2007, Meritage Press), and a chapbook, The Aching Vicinities (Otoliths Press). With Mark Young, she co-edited the First Hay(na)ku Anthology, and The Hay(na)ku Anthology Vol. II. In the mid 1990s, Elizabeth H. Pisares and Jean Vengua formed Tulitos Press and published and edited the Debut: the Making of a Filipino American Film by Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro, and The Flipside, by Rod Pulido. Her poetry and essays have been published in many journals and anthologies. She is editor of the literary/art journal, Local Nomad ( and lives in Monterey, CA.


  • Literature
  • Mixed Media
  • Visual Arts
  • Monterey, CA
  • Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian
  • Southeast Asian
  • Abstract
  • Drawing
  • Experimental
  • Landscape
  • Non-fiction
  • Painting
  • Poetry
  • Social Practice