Books for Burning

I tend to think of my work as fitting into one of three categories: Eye Candy, Mind Candy, or a mix of the two. Most of the work I’ve made in the past decade I think belong in the Eye Candy/mixed camp. This is largely driven by practical considerations, as beauty tends to be an easier sell. However, the Mind Candy side is where I think I make my most compelling, and thought provoking work. This summer I started my first long term Mind Candy project in ten years. I am hand binding 451 little red books, and when I …

Muses and Mystery

Ann is one of my closest friends in New York. Although she might look like a kpop star, she’s actually a doctor finishing her residency. So I basically never see her, because she’s usually too busy saving us from ourselves. So when she asked me to take her picture at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last weekend, I jumped at the chance. It’s been awhile since I’ve shot any portraiture – surreal or otherwise. Because I started a new labor intensive project in July that I’ve been too busy procrastinating on. So I haven’t been shooting all that much, and when …

World of One: Lost and Found

Lost and Found 2018GicléeImage size (HxW): 24” x 40” | Paper Size (HxW): 30″ x 6″ | Edn 5 While it’s a bit late, today I’m happy to unveil my first World of One entry for 2020 – Lost and Found. This was originally shot in November 2018, but I didn’t finish the composite till just last week. As for the reason why, it’s really quite simple.  I’m an idiot.  I somehow managed to misplace the files for half the rolls I took. Seeing as how I only took two rolls, I couldn’t see how I’d finish the image when …

Seeing the Same but Different

I was hanging out with a couple art friends one night last October, and I mentioned (as an aside to our conversation) that “I know a lot of doctors because you know, I’m Asian.” To which one of them replied “You’re talking to a couple Jews here Johnny.” It’s amazing how our perception of things changes with time. We can look at the exact same picture, and see and feel something completely different depending on our circumstances. When I initially finished Diligentia, I hated it. I felt like it lacked all the technical hallmarks that made a successful World of …

Making Art During a Pandemic – How it Feels to be an Artist on Lockdown

I really don’t want to write about this, because it generally makes me uncomfortable to talk about my money. My father always told me “Never let other people know how much you make or how much you have.” Plus as a single guy, it’s a bad look to admit you’re broke. But I want people to understand, because as a freelancer I know my story isn’t unique. Even before the pandemic cancelled everything, I was already at the end of my rope. I had about $300 to my name coming into March, and many times that in debt. I have …

Solitarius

Solitarius – This seems like an appropriate share for today. Shot in April 2017 featuring the beautiful Nadia, who you might recognize from some of my other photos. This image plays on the same themes as the Stranger (my first Cherry Blossom portrait) such as the line between loneliness and solitude. Around this time every year, I start to get really anxious when the Cherry Blossoms start to bloom. Because every year, I know I have a narrow window to shoot a piece that includes them. These portraits are always challenging, because I essentially have to balance two to three …

World of One: Death of Narcissus

Death of Narcissus is a homage to Hippolyte Bayard’s Self-Portrait as a Drowned Man, one of my favorite early photographs (and one of the world’s first selfies!). While the technical setup for this image has been floating around in my head for years. It wasn’t until I saw this Vox video reminding me of Bayard’s picture, that the inspiration for the narrative came to me. Hippolyte Bayard is a pioneer and inventor of photography in who lived in 19th century France. But he was was overlooked by the French Academy of Sciences in favor of his rival Louis Daguerre, who …

BBoy Monster: Kilo

Kilo and I used to hit the same practice spot until it got closed down. He’s always had an interesting and original style incorporating lots of flexible movements. In short, his style is perfect for the strengths of this series. Kilo was a dream to work with. He came with a bunch of ideas having been exposed to the work previously. The multiple heads/faces was actually his idea. He wanted them “like those Hindu sculptures” he said. I think one of the faces ones works much more seamlessly than others. But overall I’m content with how these came out. Another …

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 …

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 …