I’m just your average Chinese-American girl from Dallas, Texas creating textiles and illustrations reflecting on my experience of culture and race through identity. I enjoy creating artwork that not only reflect my personal experiences, but also love illustrating people of color in order to push for more representation in a positive, bold, and powerful perspective. I also have an obsession with all types of house plants - specifically cacti and succulents - which is a common motif you can find throughout my work.
Could you describe your path to becoming a textile designer/illustrator?
I’ve loved drawing before I could remember. My favorite things to draw were Pokemon. My brother used to have a huge collection of Pokemon cards and I remember I would just draw them for ages! Although art and design have always been a keen interest of mine since a young age, coming from a Chinese background, it wasn’t entirely encouraged to be pursued as a profession. It was encouraged as a hobby, but nothing more. When I was 17, I decided I wanted to pursue design even more after not doing too well in biology classes (I convinced myself I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time). I joined a sewing club and learned from the most badass 60 year old women for a year and half, created 2 small fashion collections for local charity fashion shows and then moved to London for university. Initially, I was convinced I was going to study womenswear, but thankfully I had tutors who directed me in the direction of textile design - allowing me to have the best of both worlds through being able to illustrate both patterns and clothing.
How does identity impact our lives as creative people and how does yours impact your creative work?
Identity is essential for creatives - it is the essence of individuality! Identity for me has shaped my understanding for myself not only as a creative, but also as a person - it has shown me how powerful I can be through my artwork by having a “second” voice of expression. To be a creative is extremely competitive, therefore, understanding your identity and individuality is every creative’s secret weapon.
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is a release - a form of expression that can be used without words. It is an amazing tool that has allowed me to understand and accept myself over the years. It has moulded me to not only become the person I am today, but the truest version of myself I can be.
How do you nurture your creativity?
Trying to catch up on sleep constantly (because brain power is definitely needed) but in all honesty - trying to constantly learn and surround myself with inspiration whether it be articles, zines, music, gallery visits, collaborations, or even just surrounding myself with people that I love and I am inspired by. Inspiration and creativity go hand in hand, and there is nothing better than surrounding yourself with vibes that will help push and nurture you to be the best you.
What cultural barriers have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I could honestly write a dissertation of barriers solely based on my looks and ethnicity, but I have overcome them by letting these experiences empower me rather than disappoint me. Yes, sometimes a good cry is needed, but unfortunately, negative experiences are the best way to grow and fuel the fire within you to fight back for everything you believe in and to prove others wrong.
What has been an important lesson you’ve learned so far?
To never censor yourself and to continuously learn. I create art because I want to make an impact and change the imbalances that still exist in our society, and the best way to implement change is to speak your mind. Be bold, be brilliant, but always be humble.
How has social media and the internet helped you as a creative?
Social media has been a great tool to connect with other artists/individuals around the world. It has helped me to find like-minded people to learn from them, create with them, but also to create a community of support with them. It has helped me gain experience in the design industry and also create relationships with others I would’ve never thought was possible.
What kind of projects are you working on now?
I’m currently in my final year studying textile design, so a majority of my time is devoted to producing my final collection for the graduate show. My final collection is a reflection of experiences as a person of colour - illustrating racist experiences, stereotypes, and microaggressions people of color experience daily. On top of that, I am currently collaborating with a friend of mine in uni to publish a illustrated zine/cookbook with the yummiest of Chinese/Taiwanese cuisine my mum has taught me over the years.
How would you describe your artistic style in three words?
cute, colorful, graphic