Lucy Liu, from Charlie's Angel to inspired artist

Thu Nov 3, 2011 3:29pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress and film producer Lucy Liu is expanding her talents into the art world with a new book of illustrations that explores Kabbalah and meditation.

Liu, 42, best known for roles in television series "Ally McBeal" and in the "Charlie's Angels" movies, worked out of her Chelsea studio in Manhattan to create a series of abstract black-and-white illustrations using ink and acrylic paint on watercolor paper that were compiled into a book, "Lucy Liu: Seventy Two," released last month.

The series of paintings was based on a chart of 72 names of God in the Kabbalah, a mystical branch of Judaism. While not a practitioner of Kabbalah, Liu was inspired by the names.

"I felt drawn to the chart because I thought it was so fascinating," Liu told Reuters. "I love the way they categorize everything into boxes, I love the organization of that."

The Kabbalah chart aims to help people with healing, prosperity and fertility, among other pursuits.

"They believe that if you meditate on the letters, you can manifest the energy," said Liu.

While the actress is not a trained artist -- she refers to her work as 'outsider art' -- she was inspired by people such as painter and printmaker Robert Motherwell and also drew from her own Chinese heritage, specifically calligraphy.

"It's a special thing to be able to come from another place and retain that culture," said Liu of her ethnicity. "It's so fascinating to see the progression of how China is becoming more connected to the U.S."   Continued...

<p>A series of illustrations by actress Lucy Liu entitled "Seventy Two Series". REUTERS/Handout</p>