Tell us about your practice.
My practice is an exploration of confusion. I am interested in confusion as a tense space for either radical thinking or complacency. I explore what this tension means to me, and what it could mean to my viewers, by creating stories realized in printmaking, painting, publishing, and happenings.
I usually create stories about subjects that I do not understand deeply, juxtaposing them with topics that I have not seen side-by-side regularly. In recent years, I have frequently depicted tropical landscapes in Southeast Asia, yellow-skinned bodies that are human and alien, and “exotic” flora and fauna. These subjects have been proxies for me to allude to various conflicts, from the South China Sea to environmental disasters. I also frequently fold Western classical myths and philosophies into my stories because I enjoy deeply reading the canon of Western ideology and finding subtleties and contradictions within it. Using these lesser-known moments of collision, I craft narratives that aim to expand agglomerate identities, such as my own Asian-American background.
When I choose to challenge myself, my probing puts me through an uncomfortable process of challenging what I thought I knew, my principles, and my ethics. When I choose to be complacent, I fall into a relaxing space where I feel safe. Confusion, therefore, creates an ethical dilemma suspended between difficult growth and comfortable ignorance. In my art, the seduction of comfort is reflected in my selection of materials and color play. When I construct, I strive to create an effortless appearance of technique, whether it is through sweeping mark-making or harmonious use of color. This pursuit of elegant form aims to be comfortable to one’s eyes so that the dissonance of my content is constantly under threat of finding its happy place.