Alycea Tinoyan is a Los Angeles-based illustrator and designer, cat mom, and adventurer. Influenced by comics and cartoons growing up, her illustrations address raw emotion through expressive lines while using nature and animals as metaphors for the duality of man. Her works tend to be narrative-based and often focus on a wistful protagonist.
In God’s kingdom, as with all great gardeners, pruning is caring. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don’t want — an overgrown, prickly bush with no fruit to offer. In this challenging season, I’ve felt pruned and exposed of my misplaced hopes, and I am continuously reminded of a self-important agenda flowing in the undercurrents of my heart, rather than being drawn to relinquishing my own ways in surrender.
My religious life began with attending Buddhist temples in Singapore, but after my mother joined a Christian church, I entered a long period of searching for churches that aligned with my changing values, theological beliefs, and increasingly multi-layered background.
Back in the 1980s, my grandparents were not initially thrilled that my mom had married a Black man. My mother is Chinese American, born and raised in Pasadena, California, by parents who emigrated from China in their late 20s, and my parents’ relationship with my grandparents was tense, to put it lightly.
In the midst of my tears, the image of the patriarch sitting in the clouds peering down and handing me an F flips to another image.
Two pastors whom I trusted decided to leave my church five years ago, and I found myself caught in the crossfire between two groups that formed in the fallout of their decision — my beloved church and a house of prayer — that separately asserted they were truly following God.
Two years ago, after 14 years as a college professor, I took some time to reflect on the highs and lows of my career thus far, and how to build on some hard learned lessons.
She was a Nobody, a woman of little or no face. We don’t know her name, just a Woman of the City, a Sinner — of probably sexual sin because women who lie or are envious aren’t called sinners in the same way.