The most important thing about me as an artist is that I am a first generation Chinese-American, although I had never thought about myself as a “hyphen-American” or a hyphen anything before. However, that all changed a few years ago when I realized that I am not an “American.” That I can never be simply “American.” I came to the realization that no matter how much I tried, the general population will see me as an Asian man. While that was not a crushing blow to my sense of identity, it did make me curious about where I came from and what it means to be Asian in a White world.
This all came to a head last winter when I attended the Carleton Art Program in the South Pacific. I realized there that I have a completely different way of viewing the world, one that is a hybrid of being both Asian and American, and that made me want to explore what it means to be a “hyphen-American.”
This body of work will hopefully be recognizable to both Asians and Americans. I plan on using Western company logos in jewelry that is modeled after traditional Chinese designs. I have to walk a fine line between having the logos be recognizable and having the logos be too blatant. I want the viewer to look at a piece and have it look familiar, and upon closer inspection realize that the image they are seeing is actually a logo.