Artist Statement

I represent the third generation of my family having been raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Growing up “California-born Chinese” meant receiving Christmas money in red envelopes and ordering dim sum in broken Cantonese. While I still hold these memories close to my heart, unfortunately, much of my childhood was spent trying to ignore my Chinese heritage.

In college, I had a deeper desire to reconnect with my cultural identity and made it my mission to better understand my familial history. From my Pau Pau (maternal grandmother) teaching my mother English as her first language to my parents raising me in a predominantly white suburb to access a better education — I realized that my family had to make sacrifices in order to survive.

Frustrated with the generational impact of assimilation, I was determined to challenge the paradoxes that the Western world had convinced me to be true. My journey of cultural reconnection influenced this pursuit of curating an aesthetic sensibility that transcends the oriental gaze enforced throughout Western society.

Taking inspiration from material culture found throughout Asia, I incorporate traditional crafts and textiles into my designs. Whether it be transforming bamboo beaded netting into the silhouette of my favorite slip dress or translating the curves of my Pau Pau’s cheongsam to the waistband of a pair of jeans, I am deeply inspired by connecting the personal with the traditional. 

As queer people, we are often told that our identities are “too contemporary” for the non-Western world but my art serves as a reminder that I am a product of artifacts and ancestors that came before me. People ask how I can express the narrative of my modern identity through this language of tradition . . . but I hope to convince the world that what makes up my identity is not modern at all.