Elderly Taiwanese man sitting at a wooden table smiling.

Grandpa

Grandpa, this is how I’ll always remember you, looking healthy, wise and curious. By the time I took this, you had already forgotten my name. You had already forgotten that I was your grandson. But of course, I remembered you, I remembered who you were to me. My grandfather taught high school physics in Taiwan for most of his life. But for me, he mostly just taught me about life. Some of my favorite lessons included: “Always strive to be #2. You get almost the same respect as #1, but with half the responsibility!” “You have to grasp the root …

Johnny Tang addressing the crowd at the opening for his show at Pearl River Mart, March 23, 2019.

Show Report: World of One @ Pearl River Mart

I’ve been a bad artist. My show came down at the beginning of May, but I am just posting this show report now. I’ve been procrastinating despite it perhaps being my greatest achievement. Because in order to tell the story of this exhibition, I have to talk about what it was like to prepare for it. Four weeks before the show was set to open, right around the time I should be kicking off preparations – my grandfather died. I flew to Taiwan two days after receiving the news, and stayed for a week to attend his funeral and see …

World of One OPENING RECEPTION

Announcing the opening of World of One my first solo show at Pearl River Mart in New York, NY’s Tribeca neighborhood!!! The show will be running from March 23 – May 5, with the opening reception on March 23, 2019 from 5-7PM. Come out and play!!! World of One is a surreal and cinematic exploration of how identity is developed through self-portraiture. By juxtaposing opposing actions within the same frame, Tang welcomes us to question our thoughts, actions and emotions that truly define us. Is it our habits, the things we do subconsciously? Or is it our spectacular one offs, …

Beautiful Meditations 2/3

Beautiful Meditations

Beautiful Meditations 2017 I’ve been trying to shoot a picture like this for years. In 2011, I tried to burn 1000 origami cranes in my parents’ backyard during a blizzard. Except they wouldn’t burn (they got too wet). Since then, my dreamed of making a picture containing these elements: fire, snow, and origami; have remained just that – a dream. Turns out I was missing a key ingredient – gasoline. Balancing Trauma and Catharsis This is my favorite kind of work to make, largely because I get to simultaneously create and destroy. I see this process as my way of …

Asian man in black standing on a stump in the middle of a pond, men in white reflected within the pond looking at him.

World of One: Narcissus II

Narcissus II 2017 Giclée Image size (HxW): 24″ x 48 1/8” | Paper Size (HxW): 30″ x 54 1/8” | Edition of 5 I’ve just completed a beautiful new addition to my World of One series, welcome to the world Narcissus II!!! The picture in my Beautiful Failures post and Narcissus II were shot on the same day. In fact, Narcissus II is much closer to the shot that I had originally planned for the day, and was actually shot first!!! But it was while we were shooting this angle, that I realized the Beautiful Failures angle would be more …

guy in a dark suit standing on a stump in the middle of a big puddle.

Beautiful Failures

This picture is a little painful for me to look at. It is just so close to being a fantastic new iteration in my WO1 series but it’s not. Instead I’m adding it to my pile of beautiful failures, images that almost succeed but stop just short of the finish line. I’ve been trying to do more WO1 images involving reflections (similar to what I did for Narcissus back in the day), and in particular, I’ve been trying to do a version of Narcissus that uses the reflections from puddles. So far however, I haven’t been lucky enough with things …

LGBTQ+ Make Out At Trump Tower

I went to the LGBTQ+ Make Out At Trump Tower this past Sunday to document the LGBTQ+ struggle. Having had numerous gay friends since college, I felt like it was my duty to go document this protest in particular. Even though it was much less popular than some of the previous protests I covered in the last few weeks. Plus, the image of a huge crowd of people making out at the same time while protesting Trump seemed like a sure win in my mind. It was a cold, slippery, and rainy afternoon which probably contributed to the low turnout …

Snow Days

When I was a kid, blizzards usually meant snow days i.e. day off from school to go sledding with my friends. So I have many fond memories associated with snow, and blizzards from when I was little. That’s probably why I try to get at least one snow shoot in every year. But shooting in a blizzard can be unpredictable because the weather might suddenly change on you. Basically I need to drop everything and pull together a shoot at the last minute to make it happen. This year, I went out during the blizzard last Thursday to photograph New …

Portrait of a Young Women, 2017 WMNYC

Street Photography Lately

#WMNYC With all the recent protests that have happened in the last week, I felt the need to do my part in documenting this moment in history. The last time I felt this way, and probably the last time I really shot straight photography, was when President Obama was first inaugurated in 2009. I was still a university student then, and I haven’t really thought about shooting street photography much since. Mary Ellen Mark used to describe street photography to me as like “Playing an instrument, if you don’t practice it, you’ll lose it.” So I was a little nervous …

An Asian man in a dark suit looking back into the camera while walking down a street. A group of the Asian man in white, walking the other way in the reflection.

Why I Make the Art I Do, and the Origins of the W.O.1

Reflection 2012 I’m part of a trend of young photographers such as: Brook Shaden, Erik Johansson and Casane, using photoshop to create surreal images. If I had to give myself a label, I’d call myself a “Neo-Photo Surrealist.” Because while I’m creating images in the tradition of the Surrealists photographers such as: Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Lee Miller and more recently Sandy Skoglund. I differ in my choice of tools, namely in my use of Photoshop. I strive to make work that strikes a delicate balance between beauty and heady. But I wasn’t always this way. To explain why, let …