There is a kid in all of us, but you most probably won’t have to look hard to see the kid in this lovely woman of God.
Sheena Kristen Lim Sy is a Management graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. This 21-year-old blogger, the eldest of three children, is currently the chief graphic artist of Summatrade International Corporation. Her most memorable job experience speaks so much about her passion for what she’s doing (and the existence of a kid in her)—drawing on the office walls.
She started drawing when she was 16, but started earning money from it by the time she was already 17. Her room and sunsets inspire her to draw, as well as other things lovely: sad songs, rainy days, summer skies, kites, subways, memories, circus shows, travel books, vintage travel ads, old photos, old and pretty things, cemeteries, the smell of vanilla, and love.
Kids—girls, especially—of every generation love playing the classic Filipino game bahay-bahayan, and Sheena is no exception. She recalled her childhood by the times when she used to make fortresses with pillows in their living room couch.
She has been a firm believer of God for two years now and she described her journey as a Christian as “the absolute best”. Sheena’s love for God is effortlessly seen in her drawings, and while she can draw almost anything you ask her to, she admits that she won’t ever try drawing herself with God. “I couldn’t ever do justice so I won’t ever try. It will probably just be full of blinding light though!”
Her blog receives a lot of attention even across the globe, and she described the experience as “very humbling”. “It is only through God’s grace and nothing else.” Sheena humbly expressed. Like all her fellow artists, Sheena also dealt with other people stealing her drawings by removing her watermarks. “Whenever I catch someone stealing my artworks, [it] usually ruins my day.”
Sheena loves traveling. She’s been to Israel, Singapore and Korea to name a few. Sheena’s list of 100 Things To Do Before I’m 100 posted on her room and in her blog includes her wish to visit at least 100 countries. So far, she’s visited around 20 countries, which leaves her with 80 more countries to travel to. With her inexhaustible passion for traveling, there is no doubt that she would get to visit more countries in the near future. “I’ll be going to Vietnam this September! [I am] really excited!”
Being a natural kid-at-heart, Sheena is very proud of her original Disney DVDs collection. She also “collects” travel books. “I don’t really collect them,” she explained, “more like I enjoy having a lot!” In her travels, she makes sure to bring home wooden handicraft dolls from every country she visits. “I love handicraft dolls so I try to buy those when they sell it in that country. If not, just some random souvenirs, mostly things I can display or use in my room.”
If there is one person she looks up to the most, that would be, not surprisingly, Walt Disney. “Because he had a dream and he followed it even when the world said he was crazy!” Sheena explained. “Gosh, that sounds so cheesy!”
Pia Inserto, Sheena’s friend and co-disciple, described her well within her roles as an artist, a sister in Christ and a friend. “Sheena’s positivity is infectious,” she said. “Let me try to describe how she is by describing her art: The whimsical and hopeful themes shown in her art are reflections of Sheena’s personality. Her art is never pretentious, and is distinctly her own. I am inspired by her courage to share to the world something as personal as her art. Her art reflects her faith, dreams and life experiences. Sheena is humble and unassuming. She believes in the good of people, and that kind of belief makes her very accepting of everyone. I am beyond glad to be her friend. It may seem like a cliché to say all those things, but one can’t ever treat a friend like Sheena with a lie.”
“Sheena is one of those people I find to be a blessing,” Pia continued. “I am not making a half-assed remark. She deserves that description. You can see her faith in every act, word and piece of art she makes. She does not compartmentalize her spirituality with any other part of her life. She is gentle in nature, but she has the strength of character.”
A quote that Sheena lives by—a quote by Anna Quindlen—may be the reason why she remains humble despite how far her talent has brought her: But if success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your soul, it is not success at all.
Sheena always makes sure that God gets the credit for her success as an artist and an entrepreneur. “I really am so thankful to God that He gives me such a great opportunity.” She shared one principle in life that she strongly upholds. “Follow your heart, which is very Disney, if I may add, because God placed those desires in your heart for a reason,” she shared. “And give Him back all the glory!”
With her faith like that of a child, Sheena will surely find herself visiting more places than she ever imagined. She is a living testimony of how we should never hesitate on reaching for the stars, so long as we keep our feet planted on the ground.
Visit her blog and online store! www.sheenalovessunsets.tumblr.com