YiFenn C. Strickland had an interest in art at an early age. However, she did not have the opportunity to study art until 2003.
As a Laotian native with Chinese heritage, YiFenn, along with her family, immigrated to Rochester NY in the early 1980’s as refugees escaping from the communist regime of Laos.
With the language barrier, strong math and science background and the American dream, YiFenn focused her early years preparing for an engineering career. After earning her engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, she, along with her husband, moved to the LA area where she started working as a software engineer. For ten years YiFenn pursued her software career; during this time the growing family had decided to move from LA to Raleigh NC.
Despite a successful career, in the spring of 2000 YiFenn decided to focus solely on her family.
In need of a creative outlet, YiFenn started studying oil painting under Barbara Dix in the fall of 2003. She then moved on to study the impressionistic paintings through many art books. YiFenn was so intrigued by all aspects of plein air painting. She attended multiple workshops from nationally acclaimed oil painter and plein air artist Rick McClure. For three years, YiFenn claimed her family’s dining room as her studio. She found time to paint at night and had produced a small body of work. Her paintings captured landscape, architecture, and human figures in an impressionistic manner.
Just when she thought she would continue to study painting for the rest of her life, YiFenn and her family moved to Kure Beach, NC in 2006. This move marked the turning point in her artistic pursuit. In search of an art community and studio space in Wilmington, YiFenn discovered the clay studio at Pancoe. Clay study has always been something YiFenn was hoping to explore one day. However, it was not until 2012 that she had the opportunity to study the art of ceramics under the direction of master potter Hiroshi Sueyoshi. YiFenn was immediately drawn to this tactile medium. Her introduction to clay had quickly become a new obsession. Now, YiFenn spends most of her time exploring the infinite possibilities of ceramics. Perhaps one day, clay will be in her paintings and paintings will be in her clay.