Asian American Arts Zine - Volume 4

asianamericanartszine

Created by Katherine Leung, Grace Vo, Misha Patel, Sam Riedman, Jaden Chee, Baotran Truong, and many contributors! Cover by Jasmine Lee. The Asian American Arts Zine is a zine created by Asians In The Arts, celebrating stories surrounding Asian diasporic representation.

THE

ASIAN

AMERICAN

ARTS

ZINE

March 2021


P A G E 1

C O V E R A R T

A A P I F O R C E

Jasmine Lee is a community artist local to Boston, MA. Her political

activism has expanded through her work in different Asian American

organizations at the local and national level such as Project ADAPT,

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Asian Pacific American Labor

Alliance and Asian American Women’s Political Initiative. She is

passionate about combatting Asian American women’s issues, domestic

violence, health inequities and racism through visual arts, public health,

positive youth development and community organizing.


J A S M I N E L E E

P A G E 2

Her art is a space to combat issues with her community. As the Art

Director of R Visions for Chinatown and lead artist, she has worked

with community members, local artists, nonprofit organizations,

institutions and the Boston Art Commission to raise awareness and

organized collective actions around the affordable housing crisis in

Boston Chinatown. As one of the few Asian American women artists

featured in the nation's first gallery for Artists Against Police Brutality,

her "Asians4BlackLives" piece raises questions about where Asian

America stands in the conversations about race and Black Lives.

Through her own artwork, she continues to draw inspiration from her

experiences, communities of color, conversations and representations

involving Asian American women issues, racism and health inequities.

A A P I F O R C E - E F G O T V

J a s m i n e L e e

@ j u s t f l y p r o j e c t


P A G E 3

F R O M T H E E D I T O R

F R O M T H E

E D I T O R

B y K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

E d i t o r - I n - C h i e f

The last seven months spent getting to

know Baotran, Sam, Jaden, Misha, and

Grace have been an incredible experience.

We started out as strangers and now we’ve

put together three volumes of the Asian

American Arts Zine and supported over two

hundred artists from all around the world

in that time. The zine has always been free

for artists to submit and get published. The

zine has always uplifted the voices of artists

and writers who are marginalized from the

dominant culture. These principles have

rooted us as both our zine and social media

presence grew!

Along with staff editor Baotran Truong,

who has done a lot of work editing page

spreads and putting final touches on the

last three issues of the zine, I have stepped

down from Editor-in-Chief of the Asian

American Arts Zine.

It is bittersweet to say goodbye but the

staff is in good hands. Sam Riedman will be

taking over as Editor-in-Chief and I know

she will do an amazing job. Sam’s

background is in organic farming and

writing. Her nature-based found art

collages in this volume are a delight. Her

eye for design and passion for all things

natural and sustainable will be a great

direction for the zine. We could all do with

a little plant medicine. She will make a

great leader because she is varied in

experience and genuinely intuitive. Her

past interviews for the Asian American Arts

Zine have shown just how Sammie listens in

an authentic way, which I know will serve

her well as the next Editor-in-Chief!


K A T H E R I N E L E U N G

P A G E 4

In this issue, here are some highlights:

Interview with Koy Suntichotiun, the

unofficial inventor of the emoji collage,

an artist I was absolutely starstruck to

get to interview

Misha’s story about her father, a fine

artist, turning the stereotype of “Asian

parent” on its head!

Jasmine Li’s wonderful cover image and

activism-based works

The entire food section was edited by

Grace - and Cole Chang, Jamie Mah,

Ethel Martinez, Brianna Mitjans’ works

are all wonderful! Food in the Asian

community plays such a nostalgic and

powerful role.

I hope you enjoy Volume IV. I can’t wait to

see what Sammie cooks up for Volume V.

Katherine

P.S. I won’t be gone from self and indie

publishing and I will certainly see you at

zine fests. You can keep up with my other

zines Canto Cutie (cantocutie.com) and

Dead Dads Club (deaddads.club).

Sam Riedman will be

taking over as Editor-in-

Chief and I know she will

do an amazing job.



T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S

P A G E 6

C U L T U R E ,

T R A D I T I O N , A N D

N E W Y E A R S 5 7

5 9

F o o d i m a g e s

J a m i e M a h

6 1

G o o d L u c k 福

A n n i k a C h e n g

6 3

C h i l d h o o d D r e a m s o f C h i n e s e N e w Y e a r

W e n c h i n g i n W o n d e r l a n d

S P I R I T U A L I T Y 9 9

1 0 1

C o l l e g e w i t h f o u n d

m a t e r i a l s

S a m R i e d m a n

1 0 2

H e r b a l M e d i c i n e i s a l l

w e h a v e

K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

1 0 3

C o l l e g e w i t h f o u n d

m a t e r i a l s

S a m R i e d m a n

1 0 9

S i n g k i l

E t h e l M a r t i n e z

1 1 1

I n t e r v i e w

A S p i r i t u a l C o n n e c t i o n t h r o u g h

C o l o r : I n t e r v i e w w i t h H i n d u

A r t i s t V i j a y a l a x m i

K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

1 2 3

F o u r S e a s o n s

K a n a T a k a g i

1 2 5

G u a n Y i n

E v e T o n g o n o n

1 2 7

G u a n Y i n M e d i t a t i o n

K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

A C T I V I S M 6 7

6 9

I A M A M E R I C A N

T O O

J a s m i n e L e e

7 0

T h e C o m m u n i t y o f

C h i n a t o w n

J a s m i n e L e e

7 1

C h i n a t o w n

B r i a n n a M i t j a n s

7 3

I n t e r v i e w

C o m m u n i t y D r i v e n

A r t : I n t e r v i e w w i t h

K o y S u n t i c h o t i n u n

K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

9 3

S o c i a l J u s t i c e

R e a d i n g G u i d e

S a m R i e d m a n

9 5

F l o w e r B o y

L a u r a J e w

9 6

U n t i t l e d

L a u r a J e w

9 7

S a f e

L a u r a J e w

9 8

U n t i t l e d

L a u r a J e w


P A G E 7

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

F A M I L Y A N D

I D E N T I T Y


F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

P A G E 8


P A G E 9

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y


D E S S A E L Y

P A G E 1 0

"Being mixed is the

experience of not feeling

like you belong, which is

a very isolating and

lonely feeling."

D e s s a E l y

@ d e s s a . e l y


P A G E 1 1

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

This series is about my experience being mixed asian. I’ve always found myself feeling

disconnected to my Chinese side, but also not feeling fully white. Being mixed is the

experience of not feeling like you belong, which is a very isolating and lonely feeling.

This work is a series made up of emulsion lifts of different mixed asian people layered

on top of their grandparents. My grandparents are people I’ve always felt distant from,

and my distance from them represents the distance I feel from Chinese culture. My

process uses emulsion lifts, which involves taking a polaroid image, cutting it up and

soaking it in water. The emulsion, the part that contains the actual image, floats off of

the polaroid and then will stick to whatever surface you put it on. The emulsion is

vulnerable, and will cling to whatever surface it first touches. This is a parallel to the

experience of being a person of colour in today’s world. You are isolated from your

culture and forced to cling to whatever is closest. This makes us distant from our

culture and our families, especially among the children who were born here. Through

creating this series, I documented various mixed asian people, and through my

documentation, I had conversations, we shared stories, and I was able to create a sense

of community between us all. Now I feel less alone and less isolated and I was able to

create a culture of my own.

B y D e s s a E l y

@ d e s s a . e l y


D E S S A E L Y

P A G E 1 2


P A G E 1 3

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

D I A S P O R A O F

E M O T I O N S

B y T a s h i D o l m a

@ k h u r t s a n g _ t


T A S H I D O L M A

P A G E 1 4


P A G E 1 5

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

D i a s p o r a o f E m o t i o n s

T a s h i D o l m a

@ k h u r t s a n g _ t

"My art

represents

subdued emotions

that seem to rise

and speak

vibrantly through

my paintings."


T A S H I D O L M A

P A G E 1 6


P A G E 1 7

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

A S I A N

P A R E N T S

B y M i s h a P a t e l

If you were to be a guest in my home, take

a tour of each corner, each room, each wall,

my dad’s art would be there. Since I was

little, my dad has been an artist. What

started as a small hobby, has now become a

craft each of my friends knows about, and

each of his friends knows about. Now, each

wall in my home seems to be adorned by

his work, all except for his own bedroom.

He started painting with oil but has since

branched out into acrylic, laying colors so

skillfully onto a canvas but still remains

humble regarding his talent and never

brags about his ability. I never seemed to

understand the importance of my dad

being an artist until quite recently.

Contrary to the art thrown across the

pages of Asians in the Arts, my dad’s work

isn’t inherently “Asian.” Here, however, is

where I find meaning in his work.


M I S H A P A T E L

P A G E 1 8

My parents, though Asian, have never been

the stereotype, and it isn’t often that you

find the older generations of Asian parents

partaking in art, simply to create and delve

deeper into their hobby. But my home isn’t

that. Both my brother and myself have

never been forced to be exemplary Asians

so many kids are still forced to be, but

instead, individuals with passions and

hobbies. To put it simply, my dad’s art

doesn’t need to be Asian, because while

that connection to culture and family is

important, it isn’t the only thing he is.

Amongst Asian families, there is this notion

that art is a hobby, and never something

you actually carry into adulthood, but my

parents couldn’t be further from the

opposite. Since I was little, art has been

encouraged, and true creativity has been

the goal. This has made me the person I am

and creates the meaning that I can see

within my dad’s art. My dad has proven that

you can be an Asian artist, even if your art

isn’t “Asian.” Even if art doesn’t have much

meaning, I see so much more within each

painting he creates – it is a symbol of the

parenting my parents raised me with, and

the parenting I am so grateful for each day.


P A G E 1 9

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

B y D h a r m e s h P a t e l

@ d s p _ a r t 7 8


D H A R M E S H P A T E L

P A G E 2 0


P A G E 2 1

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

D E A R M O M

In August 2020, I created this work

B y P a m o n o l o g u e s

@ P a m o n o l o g u e s

explores my racial and ethnic identity in

America and my relationship with my

mother. This work reflects upon how I saw

myself in the past. I let a White person tell

my story which really isn't my story any

way. I am white washed at some points and

I have this need to connect and talk with

my mother, but it can be difficult and tiring.

Next is the letter I wrote along with the

blindfolded Mulan Barbie doll in the white

washed box.

————

Dear mom,

I don’t hate you. I just disagree with you. I

am trying to build a bridge to you, but

every time I try to do so, you burn it. How

can I get to you on the other side?P.S.

Maybe we don’t need a bridge to disrupt

the canvas called Sky. Maybe we just need

to travel to each other and meet halfway.

Will we understand each other by then?


P A M O N O L O G U E S

P A G E 2 2


P A G E 2 3

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

Below are the thoughts I had along with the time I created this artwork: I’ve lost count

on how may days I cried after an argument, stemming from a conversation about

racism. About noticing our implicit and explicit biases. About the history we don’t

know. Her questions made me realize I only knew half of the story. I had to go back,

reflect and educate myself. I needed to look at myself, too. My mind flashes back to an

old memory, practicing in front of the mirror to look like Mulan. The image of her on

the cover of the cassette tape case was implanted in my head. I told my mom I was

Mulan and I slanted my eyes in front of my mom. She quickly told me not to do that. I

was confused…at how I look. A deja vu moment. I believed the birth story my third

grade classmates fabricated for me. My mom had to correct me again when she read

my timeline project.

————

One morning my mom woke up from a nightmare and expressed feelings of frustration,

confusion, guilt and shame to my dad. She didn’t understand why I pointed out her

racist remark the evening before. I told myself not to cave into her feelings. I learned

not to surf along the waves of her emotions. After all, they come and go. I learned to cut

the invisible umbilical cord that still connected me to her. Beyoncé’s words ring in my

head, “Let this moment push you in all areas of your life.”

————

Last week, I explained to her about my racial/ethnic identity and she opens up and

asks more questions. The discussion leads to the history of the Native Americans and

about how we stand on, specifically, the land of the Matinecock tribe. American history

doesn’t start with the thirteen colonies. I try to convey to her that a country is just an

idea, a concept. I’m learning. I’m expressing. I tell myself that I am not having trouble

expressing myself in Cantonese. I’m finally stating my true thoughts and feelings in

Cantonese. I’m learning.


P A M O N O L O G U E S

P A G E 2 4

S H A P I N G U P

B y P a m o n o l o g u e s

@ P a m o n o l o g u e s

In August 2020, I created this work explores my racial and

ethnic identity in America and my relationship with my

mother. This work reflects upon how I saw myself in the past. I

let a White person tell my story which really isn't my story any

way. I am white washed at some points and I have this need to

connect and talk with my mother, but it can be difficult and

tiring. Next is the letter I wrote along with the blindfolded

Mulan Barbie doll in the white washed box.

————

Dear mom,

I don’t hate you. I just disagree with you. I am trying to build a

bridge to you, but every time I try to do so, you burn it. How

can I get to you on the other side?P.S. Maybe we don’t need a

bridge to disrupt the canvas called Sky. Maybe we just need to

travel to each other and meet halfway. Will we understand

each other by then?


P A G E 2 5

F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y


P A M O N O L O G U E S

P A G E 2 6

S h a p i n g U p

P a m o n o l o g u e s

@ P a m o n o l o g u e s


P A G E 2 7

F O O D

F O O D


F O O D

P A G E 2 8


P A G E 2 9

F O O D


E T H E L M A R T I N E Z

P A G E 3 0

H A L O H A L O

S I S T E R S

B y E t h e l M a r t i n e z

@ a t e . e t h e l s . f o n d . m e m o r i e s

w w w . a t e e s f o n d m e m o r i e s

"The Halo Halo, which is one of the most popular desserts from

the Philippines is probably its most colorful food, as well. I

wanted to play into that. Each lady represents most of the flavors

in this dessert: Ube, mango/langka, Milk, and sweet red beans. I

wanted to have them dancing and circling on shaved ice to

represent the “mix”, or the "halo", of all those ingredients."


P A G E 3 1

F O O D

S I B E R I A N

P E L M E N I

B y K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

I created these Siberian dumplings out of

whole wheat flour from a recipe by Darra

Goldstein from Beyond the North Wind.

Many Asian cultures have their own

methods of making dumplings and many

are embedded in family and holiday

celebration practices. Buryat and Tuvans

make buuzi, steam dumplings filled with

meat during Lunar New Year. Many Turkic

peoples such as Central Asians, Afganis,

Uyghurs, and Bukharian Jews make manti,

often stuffed with lamb. My family loves

dim sum dumplings like har gow and

shumai. When we get together, we always

make sure we get one dim sum meal in,

whatever city we are in.


K A T H E R I N E L E U N G

P A G E 3 2

I remember family vacations as a child with

my family, stuffed in a car for hours, to find

wonton noodles in San Francisco

Chinatown streets. Now that I'm older, I'm

deciding which cuisines and traditions to

bring into my family. I love eating Siberian

pelmeni because typically, it is eaten with

sour creme and dill - what's not to love?

This familiar food was always there for me

when I studied abroad and lived in Russia

from 2011 to 2015. Some may argue the best

dumplings are made from scratch, but

Siberian pelmeni is made to be frozen. Not

only that, it's meant to be kept outdoors,

such as outside a kitchen window in the

snow! Regardless of your background, you

can't deny that eating dough-wrapped

steam foods have an interesting history and

profound impact on Asian cuisine. It even

unites us, in a way. Wherever you are in the

diaspora, you have a home in dumplings.



C O L E C H A N G

P A G E 3 4

"Much of my poetry and visual

work contemplate my

relationships with my father and

family in terms of our cultural

heritage and identity. I explore

what traditions or objects have

survived assimilation, and what

things have been lost. Through my

poetry, I attempt to reconnect and

heal with my father and his scars."


P A G E 3 5

F O O D

"This Painting ["City Snacks"] is part of my "Love Letter Los Angeles" series and pairs

with my other painting "Grandpa". I wanted to share part of my childhood. One of my

favorite activities as a kid was going to the Filipinx grocery store with my

grandparents. And once I learned how to drive my grandparents asked me to drive

them to Seafood city weekly until they passed."

C i t y S n a c k s

B r i a n n a M i t j a n s

@ b r i a n n a m i t j a n s


B R I A N N A M I T J A N S

P A G E 3 6

B y B r i a n n a M i t j a n s

@ b r i a n n a m i t j a n s

G R A N D P A


P A G E 3 7

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

ENTERTAINMENT

AND

REPRESENTATION


F A M I L Y A N D I D E N T I T Y

P A G E 3 8


P A G E 3 9

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

D E M Y S T I F Y I N G

M U S I C W I T H

N I K O M H A L L

B y S a m R i e d m a n

Nikom is the assistant general manager (GM) at Virgin Music (previously Caroline

Records), which is “an artist-development focused, full label services and distribution

company, providing commercial, radio promotion, marketing, synch, branding,

licensing and digital marketing services.” Virgin Music is one of the largest independent

record labels and distribution companies in the world, representing over sixty labels.

Their catalog is varied, “from ATO who have Black Pumas and Alabama Shakes to

Mexican Summer who are psych rock... 10k Projects who are like SoundCloud Rap, like

Trippy Red, ...Motown and Quality Control which is like Migos and Lil Baby, ...Astral

Works and a lot of electronic labels.”

At Virgin, Nikom is the follow-through guy, ensuring that projects stay on track. For

example, he handles reissues and compiles labels that can perform the reissuing.” His

responsibilities span company-wide from organizing showcases, to ensuring

merchandise orders are fulfilled, which allow him to learn how the company as a whole

operates; “The bright side is that I get to learn so much about everything we do.

Downside of it is that I don’t get the depth of knowledge to specialize in one particular

aspect of the industry.”


N I K O M H A L L

P A G E 4 0

exhausting.” Because he worked in an

environment saturated with whiteness, out

of necessity “all the PoC’s there banded

together a bit. In the LA office, there was

one Asian American guy who took me

under his wing; he reached out for me to

come chat with him.” Working in such a

white, male-dominated space reinforced

the importance of diversity and solidarity

within a company.

Prior to working at Virgin, Nikom honed his

chops in the music department of one of

the largest talent agencies in the world.

“Working there felt like a big investment

bank on Wall St. but in the entertainment

world. All the agents there thought they

were the shit, and made a ton of money,

and screamed at their assistants. It was

super cut-throat. It was a lot of white

dudes helping out white dudes.” Nikom

stayed with the company for four years,

where he felt like he was “constantly

bombarded with white dudes. That energy

compounded and was mentally exhausting."

The draining nature of being a part of an

ethnic minority in a white majority space

made his transition to his current position

at Virgin a breath of fresh air. “Then I come

over to a record label, and it’s like night and

day. There are so many more women, there

are so many more PoC’s, and we are

representing other labels like Motown,

which is an almost entirely Black company.

It was just amazing to see. The reason is

that these people aren’t here to be all cutthroat,

and they’re not there for the money.

They’re there because they are involved in

the culture of the music.” Noting that “the

staffing at record labels and management

companies tend to be from where artists

are coming from. It’s much more in tune

with the artist that you're


P A G E 4 1

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

you’re working with.” Reinforcing the

importance of working with people who are

able to understand where you're coming

from.

Similarly, to myself, Nikom is a biracial

Asian American (and a fellow Taurus) as his

mother is Thai and his father is white.

Describing his upbringing as a “stricter

Asian upbringing, I played piano from a

young age, but it wasn’t something for me

to be a creative person. It was more of

something to instill regiment in my life and

help me be better and sharper. Looking

back on it I’m glad I learned to play, but I

don’t think my parents intended for me to

be a musician— they wanted me to be a

doctor or a lawyer, something like that.”

Like many Asian Americans, Nikom felt the

pull of filial piety, urging him to pursue a

career that would make his family proud.

“It’s hard when you were raised like that, to

transition out of that mode of thinking.

Naturally, I feel more comfortable with a 9

to 5 kind of job, and to have a regiment.” He

was able to carve out a middle path where

his work could be centered around music,

while also having the stability of a more

structural role. “For

me, working in the music industry, I get to

be creative in certain ways, be around

artists, and be in the music scene, but at

the end of the day I have the security of a

full-time job, and my parents aren’t worried

about me.” He found a way to still follow his

aspirations while ensuring financial and

career security for his parents.Nikom posits

that the more regimented upbringing that a

lot of Asian American kids experience

contributes to the lack of Asian Americans

in the music industry. “We get pushed

towards more objective careers— doctors,

lawyers, engineers, for example. Safe jobs

that make you a lot of money.” Additionally,

noting that “I think it’s hard to dive

headfirst into being an artist if you can’t

picture yourself as that. It’s hard to picture

yourself in those roles when you haven’t

seen yourself represented as some


N I K O M H A L L

P A G E 4 2

"Don’t get complacent with

things and really think about

what you want to be doing

and where you want to be

moving, and keep an eye out

for those kinds of

opportunities. It’s a hard

thing to do, but if you stick

with it. It does get better.”

somebody who could be a success [in the

music industry]. It puts it on youth to have

dreams to envision it on their own, because

they are not hearing it be reinforced in the

media.” Representation is an ongoing

struggle for artists of color, and it’s

managers like Nikom who have set out to

change that.

Nikom’s favorite Asian American musician

is Chad Hugo. Chad is “Pharell’s longtime

partner and they became The Neptunes

when they were kids. And then in the

20000

2000’s they were the biggest producers in

the world. They produced everyone from

Justin Timberlake to The Clips.” Growing

up, Chad Hugo was the only Asian person

Nikom could look up to in the music

industry, “I honestly think that he’s one of

the reasons why I wanted to work in music

in the first place.” This really illustrates the

importance of seeing yourself represented

in the fields you aspire to. “Now, there are

scenes that are starting to blow up. There’s

Rich Brian, who is a really big Asian

American Rapper. And the label, 88 Rising

which is an Asian hip-hop label. So, now

kids are able to see more Asian people

creating music and there are more ways to

see yourself as a musician.” While Nikom

wishes there were more Asian Americans

working in the industry, he also recognizes

the foothold Asian American artists have

gained over the course of his career.

Nikom has worn many hats in the music

industry throughout his career, giving him

a unique insight into how the industry

functions on a macro level. He’s created his

own music, worked closely with other

artists, and knows how the business side

back


P A G E 4 3

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

of the industry operates; making him an extremely insightful person for all the other

Asian kids (and adults) who want to be a part of the music industry. Looking back at

his younger self, Nikom’s message to young people who want to be in the industry is:

“you’re probably strongly opinionated about music and constantly looking for new

music, and in the loop about what’s happening in music. If you’re serious about wanting

to get into the industry, keep doing those things. Get more obsessed with the music

you like. Labels and management companies want to see that. The industry is full of

people that are really passionate about music, and you’re not going to get in if you can’t

demonstrate that you have some sort of passion. So just be yourself times 10 and go

further down that rabbit hole of loving music.” He also gave the more tangible advice to

“just try and get your foot in the door anywhere you can. Don’t be afraid to try and get

into it in any way you can, and try and move from there. It’s a hard industry to get into,

so whatever you have to do to get a foot in the door, do it. And it does get better, if you

stay with it. Don’t get complacent with things and really think about what you want to

be doing and where you want to be moving, and keep an eye out for those kinds of

opportunities. It’s a hard thing to do, but if you stick with it. It does get better.” From a

young age Nikom has been passionate about music and knew he wanted to work at a

record label, but didn’t have any connections there. He was able to get a foot in the

door “by working at a management company for screenwriters. Those guys had all been

agents at WME, so they were able to connect me though that company. I knew it would

be a few years of doing work that I ultimately didn’t want to do, but that it would

connect me to more people. I was able to learn so much about the industry.”

Connections made along the way made all the difference. People he met throughout

the course of his career led him to his current job at Virgin Music.


N I K O M H A L L

P A G E 4 4

While only in his late 20’s, Nikom has worked his way up the music industry to become

the assistant general manager at one of the largest record labels in the world. From a

young age, he knew what he wanted to do for a career, and propelled himself to a

position he aspired to through passion, persistence, and extensive music knowledge.

Nik’s story is an honest depiction of how difficult being Asian American in the industry

can be, while also encouraging people to pursue their passions— and that there are

experts like him that are excited to bring young people into the fold.

S t a y u p o n t h e l a t e s t r e l e a s e s

f r o m V i r g i n o n I n s t a g r a m

@ v i r g i n m u s i c

“I think it’s hard to dive head first into being an artist if you

can’t picture yourself as that. It’s hard to picture yourself in

those roles when you haven’t seen yourself represented as

somebody who could be a success."


P A G E 4 5

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

The Queen of Goguryeo depicts beautiful Asian women who could be Korean (or even

mixed with Chinese, Jurchen, or Mongolian blood) living in northern Manchuria, where

the kingdom of Goguryeo existed. I depicted the pinnacle of Asian beauty by being

faithful to the Asian genes and physical character and what it can result in without the

need to give them a westernized appearance like Japanese anime. I want every Asian

girl or woman to look at the painting and feel the immense beauty that is a reflection of

themselves, and I want every Asian boy and man to look at the baby tiger and feel the

raw power of the baby tiger, which is a reflection of their future selves. In all, The

Queen of Goguryeo is about equality and the pursuit of beauty and truth. I hope I have

been quite successful in this regard.


C H U N B U M P A R K

P A G E 4 6

T H E Q U E E N O F

G O G U R Y E O

B y C h u n b u m P a r k

I grew up in the American South and experienced racist

attitudes that belittled Asians and Asian women in particular

about their appearances and their lack of attractiveness

and/or sexual desirability. On one hand we had the European

paintings and fashion and swimsuit magazines that essentially

declared western beauty standards to be a pinnacle, while on

the other hand Japanese anime agreed by whitewashing its

characters to appear western, which was a form of selfhatred.

As a teen, I had such low self esteem about myself and

my race because of the constant belittling and derogatory

comments expressed by my classmates and the lack of

representation of Asians in the media, the arts, etc. The only

worthy Asians were the ones who could get into the Ivy

League schools or become a doctor or lawyer. It was only

through a decade of soul searching and my own exploration of

my artistic abilities and visions that I regained my sense of

self, self-esteem, and pride of being an Asian.


P A G E 4 7

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

"One of the themes

that continues in my

paintings is

representing the

underrepresented."

T h e C u t i n m y C u l t u r e s

N i c k L e e

@ s i r n i c k l e e


N I C K L E E

P A G E 4 8

N I C K L E E

This painting is about the conflicting nature of

being Japanese decent and being an American

citizen. The image of the Japanese in America is not

flattering and quite ignored today. Movies before

WWll and after depict white actors as Asian

characters, especially the Japanese in yellow-face.

These movies created horrible stereotypes that are

still present. Hollywood still casts white actors as

Asian and Japanese rolls.The arts have a similar

exclusion like the movies do today. There are not

too many contemporary Japanese Americans

painters that are show cased in America. It is so

important for me as a Japanese American to paint

myself for representation of real Japanese

Americans as the subject and of the artist. I hope

the viewer can see the cut in my cultures and strive

for representation for Japanese Americans, because

it takes everyone to fight for inclusion.


P A G E 4 9

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

" D i d y o u h e a r A m e r i c a i s

s u p p o s e d t o b e G r e a t

r i g h t n o w ? "

T h e E m b r a c e o f t h e

C l i c h e

"Stereotypes linger when

non-Asian people think of

the Asian community and I

believe that these

paintings can bridge the

gap between our

differences."


N I C K L E E

P A G E 5 0

B y N i c k L e e

@ s i r n i c k l e e

C l u b Q u e e n

A . K . A . P o i s o n I v y


P A G E 5 1

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

I N T E R L U D E :

S O U N T R A C K S

W I T H O S C A R

B A U M A N

B y K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

What are your current favorites?

One recent release I’ve had on repeat is “OK Human,” the new album by Weezer. It’s a fun,

introspective album that combines pop song structures with orchestral instrumentation. I’ve also

been listening to the EP “Dystopia: Road to Utopia” by Dreamcatcher. They’re a K-pop girl group

that take influence from metal, and blend that together with pop and EDM.

What songs would be in the “Soundtrack of Oscar’s Life”?

To get through the pandemic, I’ve been turning to a lot of the artists I liked back in middle and

high school, which is a lot of pop-punk and emo. Old Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Paramore, Bring Me

The Horizon, All Time Low, My Chemical Romance, that sort of thing. I’ve also, weirdly, been

listening to dance-pop and EDM. I guess, even though you can’t go out, you have to get that

energy out.

What music do you listen to when you’re working or writing?

I usually find music with lyrics to be distracting if I’m trying to seriously work, so I tend to listen to

film scores while I’m working. I really like some of the scores Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have

done for David Fincher’s movies, like “The Social Network,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,”

and “Gone Girl,” which all have this really dark ambient industrial mood that’s simultaneously

calming and energizing.


O S C A R B A U M A N

P A G E 5 2

What bands or artists do you think are underappreciated?

This is kind of hard, because I’m never sure what the right amount of appreciation is for an

artist. Like, is everyone below chart-topping pop stars underappreciated? Or are they

appropriately appreciated at a different level of success? That being said, I’ll say Pale Waves,

The Naked and Famous, and Nothing, Nowhere are artists I often find myself wishing more

people knew from, if for no other reason than to have someone to talk about their music

with.

What is the best live show you’ve ever attended?

Probably the first time I saw Twenty One Pilots, in 2016. They have an absurdly energetic

live show that really pulls out all the stops when it comes to putting on a massive spectacle,

and I think it’d convert even people who don’t like their music.

You’re down in the dumps. Everything is going wrong. What five songs do you listen to?

Tough question since I listen to so much angsty music, but here’s a few that sort of run the

range of angry sad to mellow and melancholy.

Bring Me The Horizon- Shadow Moses

Catherine Feeny- Mr. Blue

Mitski- Your Best American Girl

Fall Out Boy- Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today

Phoebe Bridgers- Motion Sickness

Quarantine’s over. You’re the DJ for a worldwide dance party. What are some songs you’d

have on that setlist?

Talking Heads- Once In A Lifetime

Far East Movement- Like A G6

The Naked and Famous- Young Blood

Gryffin- Body Back

Carly Rae Jepsen- Run Away With Me

New Order- Bizzare Love Triangle


P A G E 5 3

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

J A S M I N E


J A S M I N E L E E

P A G E 5 4

L E E

Jasmine Lee is an artist of multiple disciplines, which she focuses around her Asian

American identity. She uses photography, painting, and sewing to express her love for

her Chinese culture and her desire to take a stance on a plethora of social justice

issues. Most recently, Lee used the money made from her handmade masks to

purchase supplies for Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in her hometown of Boston, MA.

She has also been working together with the Asian Task Force Against Domestic

Violence (ATASK), also based in Boston.


P A G E 5 5

E N T E R T A I N M E N T A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N

D i s h o n o r a r y W h i t e n e s s

J a s m i n e L e e

@ j u s t f l y p r o j e c t


J A S M I N E L E E

P A G E 5 6

"I am not a full-time artist and it has

been difficult to practice art consistently.

However, when I do create, I made it my

responsibility to use my strengths and

skills as an artist to challenge, uplift and

heal... I continue to create because my

strong support systems mean

everything... I also want to transform my

own trauma and pain into justice

through artmaking."


P A G E 5 7

C U L T U R E , T R A D I T I O N , A N D N E W Y E A R ' S

C U L T U R E ,

T R A D I T I O N ,

A N D N E W

Y E A R ' S


C U L T U R E , T R A D I T I O N , A N D N E W Y E A R ' S

P A G E 5 8


P A G E 5 9

J A M I E M A H

P l a t e s f r o m L t o R : B a r b e c u e P o r k S l i c e s ( ' B a k

K u a ' ) , K u i h K a p i t , P i n e a p p l e T a r t s

Jamie Mah shares common Chinese

New Years Food from Malaysia in

English and local Malay language!


J A M I E M A H

P A G E 5 9

J A M I E

M A H

@ j a i m y g d a l a

E n l a r g e d S i n g l e

C o n t a i n e r : K u i h K a p i t

6 C o n t a i n e r s - B a c k R o w : P i n e a p p l e

T a r t s , K u i h K a p i t , A r r o w h e a d C r i s p s

F r o n t R o w : P e a n u t B u t t e r C o o k i e s , K u i h

B a n g k i t , a n d A l m o n d B u t t e r C o o k i e s


P A G E 6 1

C U L T U R E , T R A D I T I O N , A N D N E W Y E A R ' S

B y A n n i k a C h e n g

福 G O O D L U C K

This 福 decoration was always in my home growing up. Every year on Chinese New Year, my

parents would get a new one to put on our door and we would hang it up together. Since the

beginning of the pandemic, I've been stuck living away from home, away from my family, and

away from my culture. It comes with a lot of mixed feelings: it feels like I am growing up and

becoming more independent, but it also feels like I’m growing more distant from my community

and my culture. Making this piece was a small way of keeping Chinese culture close to me,

while also wishing myself good luck.

Recreating an object like this represents the labor of learning about heritage but also represents

the love and care that this decoration carries. In thinking about the medium of the work, it is

interesting to compare the bobbin lace process to the ink calligraphy process that these

decorations are typically executed in.


A N N I K A C H E N G

P A G E 6 2

They mirror each other in interesting

ways. Bobbin lace appears to be

extremely difficult and complicated, with

its seemingly infinite bobbins, but a signal

stitch is fairly easy to learn. Contrastingly,

calligraphy is deceptively simple, with

quick brushstrokes that actually take

years to fully master. They both function

on a 2D plane, creating a final work that is

thin and delicate.

This piece is made out of bobbin lace

instead of the traditional paper, so it

doesn’t hold its shape when hung on the

wall unless all four corners are pinned.

The lack of structure signifies the ability

for traditions to shift and change with

new generations. The portability of this

object also speaks towards the need for

traditions to move with people.


P A G E 6 3

C U L T U R E , T R A D I T I O N , A N D N E W Y E A R ' S

C H I L D H O O D

D R E A M S O F

C H I N E S E N E W

Y E A R

B y W e n c h i n g i n W o n d e r l a n d

@ w e n c h i n g i n w o n d e r l a n d


W E N C H I N G I N W O N D E R L A N D

P A G E 6 4

"What I wanted was to

feel a sense of belonging,

and to bond with friends

over our shared culture

as ethic Chinese.

I drew these costumes,

with traditional Chinese

motifs, but a touch of

modern design. These

are the traditional

costumes I had always

dreamed of wearing

from childhood."


P A G E 6 5

C U L T U R E , T R A D I T I O N , A N D N E W Y E A R ' S

C h i l d h o o d d r e a m s o f

C h i n e s e N e w Y e a r

W e n c h i n g i n W o n d e r l a n d

@ w e n c h i n g i n w o n d e r l a n d


W E N C H I N G I N W O N D E R L A N D

P A G E 6 6

I was raised in a Malaysian Chinese single parent family for most of my life after my

parents went through a messy divorce, which led to my mom rejecting anything to do

with my dad, who is from Hong Kong, and my heritage as a Hong Konger. I never felt

Malaysian, no matter how hard I tried.

My mom always rejected Chinese culture for as long as I could remember, and I've

never gotten the chance to wear traditional Chinese costumes at Chinese New Year.

Being a huge fan of Japan, my mom always made me wear a kimono at Chinese New

Year.

When there were school parties where we had to wear traditional costumes

representing our culture, I dreaded going to school because I knew that I would have to

wear a kimono. I was constantly bullied by the other kids for pretending to be Japanese,

and I was always excluded. I never got a chance to feel like I belonged.

"You should be thankful that I bought you this kimono to make you special. Everyone

else will be wearing the same cheongsam and you can stand out. Nobody will wear the

same dress as you" She always said.

But what I wanted was to feel a sense of belonging, and to bond with friends over our

shared culture as ethic Chinese.

I drew these costumes, with traditional Chinese motifs, but a touch of modern design.

These are the traditional costumes I had always dreamed of wearing from childhood.


P A G E 6 7

A C T I V I S M

A C T I V I S M


A C T I V I S M

P A G E 6 8


P A G E 6 9

A C T I V I S M

I A M A M E R I C A N

T O O

B y J a s m i n e L e e

@ j u s t f l y p r o j e c t


A C T I V I S M

P A G E 7 0

T h e C o m m u n i t y o f

C h i n a t o w n

J a s m i n e L e e

@ j u s t f l y p r o j e c t


P A G E 7 1

A C T I V I S M

C H I N A T O W N

B y B r i a n n a M i t j a n s

@ b r i a n n a m i t j a n s


A C T I V I S M

P A G E 7 2

L O S A N G E L E S

H U S T L E

This painting is part of my "Love letter Los

Angeles" series. I wanted to depict

important everyday scenes that represent

Los Angeles to me. There's no hustle like a

LA hustle. Chinatown has always reminded

me of 7 am dim sum and taking home pink

pastry boxes with my grandparents.


P A G E 7 3

A C T I V I S M

C O M M U N I T Y

D R I V E N A R T :

I N T E R V I E W

W I T H K O Y

S U N T I C H O T I N U N

B y K a t h e r i n e L e u n g


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 7 4

Isara "Koy" Suntichotinun is a multi–disciplinary, Asian American artist born in

Bangkok, Thailand, raised in South Carolina, and currently based in San Diego. He's

studied at SC Governor's School for The A&H, School of The Art Institute of Chicago,

and Grossmont College. His passion started with sculpture & kinetic art then

transitioned to lettering and illustration where he honed in on perspective and

letterforms. Presently, Koy works as a Creative Associate for Passion Planner, works

freelance for clients such as Noname and Adobe, and is revisiting observational drawing

as a personal journey. Koy is also a practicing rock climber currently projecting V3s in

the gym and 5.6 outdoors because he's afraid of getting hurt outside.

Koy’s online shop, can be found at Koysun.fun, is appropriately named the World

Famous Curiosity and Oddities store, and features wearable merchandise with his

digital designs. He caught my eye on Instagram almost four years ago and I was

honored to sit down with him and get insight into the Southern Thai-American artist

experience.


P A G E 7 5

A C T I V I S M

You’re the king of the emoji collage. You

have so many poignant vignettes told

through emojis on your Twitter. It’s

twenty-first century poetry, after all. Tell

us the inspiration behind them.

My obsession with making emoji collages

began when I was texting my friends and I

made a creepy face with the eye, nose, ear,

and mouth emoji. From there, I was

experimenting with coding a Twitter bot

and I realized that the Tweet format allows

for multiple spacebars (outside of the first

line) and the leading between sentences are

really tight through profile view, giving the

perfect digital canvas for collages.

I like doing Twitter collages because there's

no pressure for me to do a "good job."

Having art be both a hobby and a career

makes it so that I don't really get a chance

to make things purely for fun; with emoji

collages, I can just experiment and be

present.

The aesthetics of emojis can also be a little

uncanny especially when diverse glyphs are

placed together. Whether I do something

representational like making a chess board

or something abstract like color organizing,

they all seem to match within the same

family but also completely contrast one

another. There are so many variations of

faces and proportions for just the human

figures alone that if you stare at them too

long, it can start to feel a little jarring. I

enjoy exploring the font because there's

always something new to discover.


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 7 6

I like doing

Twitter collages

because there's no

pressure for me to

do a "good job."

Having art be

both a hobby and

a career makes it

so that I don't

really get a

chance to make

things purely for

fun; with emoji

collages, I can

just experiment

and be present.


P A G E 7 7

A C T I V I S M

You say that the best art is made with self love and honesty. Your artwork is filled with

positivity and supportive slogans like “I love myself!” and “Just start!” that are not only

encouraging, but profoundly and personally relevant. Can you talk about the process of

creating honest work?

I was fortunate enough as a teen to be

admitted into an art high school called

South Carolina Governor's School for the

Arts and Humanities. From there I stuck

with art making and attended two years at

School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I

spent four years in total of my life

immersed within art academia before I was

even 21. I've slogged through arduous

critiques made up of overly-privileged

students putting together last minute

pieces usually with expanding foam and

two by fours, hearing them stumble over

their words about trite concepts. I

understood that art is subjective and that

anything could be considered art. Whether

it's the topological patterns in nature or a

banana with duct tape, there will always be

someone who admires the aesthetics of any

piece.

When you start realizing that art doesn't

conform within museum walls, nor do

pieces require any skill to be considered

art, what foundation is there to continue

making work without getting lost and

senile? For me, I just promised myself that

whatever I made, I wanted to make with

honesty. Honesty and intention was my

foundation. This perspective made it so

that I wasn't limiting my view of art to just

hard skills. I became accepting of many

different forms of art because I cared more

about what the artist wanted to convey

more than the time it takes or the practice

it required, though I admire those traits

too. I learned to respect artists like John

Baldessari who made work with just

colored sticker dots as well as artists like

Kehinde Wiley who I consider one of the

best contemporary painters alive.


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 7 8


P A G E 7 9

A C T I V I S M

I didn't dislike a student's work because it didn't take much time, I disliked it because I

knew the piece was rushed and the intention was to complete an assignment, not to

make art. If a person makes art with the intention for greed, that aura will exude out of

the piece. If the artist doesn't care about the work they made, why should anyone else?

To add on to making art with honesty, I don't consider myself naturally gifted. I grew up

encouraged to strive for great things but there was never a time where I was the best in

any class. There was always someone technically better than me. But I used the tools

that I did have to make work that meant something personal to me. For example, when

I first started illustrating, I was really insecure about color theory, thus I invested all my

time in perspective with pen and ink. Drawing with a pen forced me to find a way to

make comprehensible drawings with just negative space. I then colored everything

digitally so I had more room to make mistakes. I may not be the best illustrator, but the

things I made, I invested my whole self into because I cared about them. That was

enough for me, this ideology helped me be less hard on myself because I am very

insecure about my lack of technical skills.


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 8 0

You share that when you first dropped out

of college and had no name for yourself,

you would spend your days doing

perspective drawings of visual motifs

found when exploring Thailand through

Google maps. Can you talk more about the

concept of Thailand streets in your work?

Who are the Thai street vendors of your

mind’s imagination? Where is “home”?

I was born in Bangkok, Thailand but I was

raised in a bakery store in a small town

called Suphan Buri. I would wake up to the

sounds of people shopping because I was

living in the middle of a market. I remember

remember when I was 16 and visited my

hometown again, I had street vendors

recognize me and tell me about how they

would see me when I was 3. I didn't

remember them but the thought of how

street vendors raised me made a huge

impact on my identity. I became enamored

with drawing the streets of Thailand

because I wanted to learn more about the

culture that I lived in but forgotten.

I never lived in one place for too long so

Home for me is defined by a Jack Johnson

lyric where he sings, "Home is wherever we

are if there's love there too." If I feel loved,

then I am home.


P A G E 8 1

A C T I V I S M

Thai Americans are underrepresented in

the media and arts. Your work certainly

combats that, while creating a uniquely

you. Not Thai, not American, but you. Can

you talk more about your upbringing -

from the Cambodian community in South

Carolina you grew up in, then the Filipinx

community you attended college around -

and how that plays a role in your art

practice?

Not many people talk about Asian

communities in the deep south. There is a

Chinatown in Mississippi composed of

Chinese families with Southern accents.

Their ancestors moved to Mississippi to

pick cotton and eventually became farmers

and grocery store owners in Black

communities. I grew up in Boiling Springs,

South Carolina which consisted of Lao,

Cambodian, and Thai families living in the

deep south. Most of the community was

Cambodian or half Thai.

I didn't get a chance to interact much

within the culture outside of school

because my parents didn't let me out often

but I did celebrate Khmer New Year. I was

lucky to live in the South and still feel

represented. Though I wa

feel represented. Though I was

discriminated against by White people, I

grew up during the "AZN" surge coinciding

with Tumblr so we all were pretty

empowered about being Southeast Asian.

My friends were either B–boys or really

into cars driving Honda Integras. It was a

really fun time forsure! Though I have lived

in a lot of places, I tell people I'm from

South Carolina because that's where I

mainly grew up. I'm proud of my upbringing

and I find myself more grounded than most

Asian Americans living in California. I had

friends who would go "muddin" and I

remember the most exciting thing to ever

happen in my hometown was the first

Quiktrip gas station opening up down the

street, and a burger joint called Cookout. I

didn't catch the Southern accent outside of

saying "y'all" unfortunately.

When I moved to Chicago, I was introduced

to more Asian cultures with a lot of

international Korean and Chinese students.

One of the most disappointing experiences

in my life was when I met another Thai

artist that was my age for the first time, but

they hated the idea of being Thai. Thus I

found myself enveloped


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 8 2

being Thai. Thus I found myself enveloped within the FilipinX community. I was friends

with people who worked in the Field Museum, who specifically overlooked the

Philippines collection. I attended events introducing FilipinX culture and met

traditional tattoo artist/historian Lane Wilcken. I knew pride when I lived in South

Carolina but for some reason, FilipinX pride in Chicago was powerful. I felt accepted

within the FIlipinX community but I was still just an observer, but being within this

community I was inspired to build my own and share my identity as a Southern Chinese

Thai American in hopes of finding others who yearn for the same communal pride as I

was. So I started making art about Thai culture and the language which led to me

meeting a small community on Instagram called "ThaisTogether." It's a slow build but

I'm enjoying the process.




P A G E 8 5

A C T I V I S M

You frequently make a small run of your

designs and donate much of the proceeds to

local organizations. Tell us about some

organizations you have worked with and how

we can support them.

I've worked with large companies like Adobe

and Amplifier but the most rewarding gigs are

the small local ones that support my

communities. I've worked to donate money to

SDBail Fund, a non–profit composed of

lawyers helping to free San Diegans held

captive by our bail system. The best way to

help them is to continue to donate money,

especially during "unpopular" times when

fighting racism isn't a "trend."

I designed a t–shirt for Support Essential

Heroes which is a non–profit made where

they collaborate with freelance artists to sell

garments and all the money is then invested

into local struggling restaurants where the

meals made are then donated to essential

workers. I've also worked with Rice Bowls for

All where every bowl purchased, another meal

is given to a person in need during the

pandemic. You can support by of course

purchasing a meal.


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 8 6

I haven't personally worked with

ThaisTogether but I'd like to give them a

shoutout for continuing to be an epicenter

for Thai pride! Giving their Instagram

follow would be a huge support for them.

You are not just surviving, you are

thriving with bipolar disorder. Can you

talk about how this plays a role in your

work?

The hardest thing about being an artist

with bi–polar disorder is that I go through

phases where when I am manic, I get so

much work done and reach so close to my

personal goals, only for me to have to

completely reset after I experience a

"down." During my depressive episodes I

can sleep for more than 11 hours in a day

and I completely give up on myself. It's

difficult to work because I have little to no

hope for myself. I get really self conscious

and bitter too and my world can get really

dark especially within a pandemic.

With this though, I feel so accomplished

when I push myself to work during a

depressive episode because I have

practiuced

practiced a way to coerce myself to focus.

This usually comprises of a lot of small

victories such as working out mid day,

cooking, and listening to hours of music. I

get a lot of support from friends too. My

love language is verbal affirmation so when

I'm in a bad headspace, my friends are

always there to reaffirm that I'm doing

okay.

I also learned about forcing my body into a

parasympathetic nervous system, also

known as "rest and digest." When people

are anxious, they force their bodies into a

sympathetic nervous system which is "fight

or flight."

Your body feels like it's in danger thus it

conserves energy and can lead to physical

ailments like IBS. When I have a panic

attack, I do a breathing technique I learned

from grad students to help put my body

back in a parasympathetic nervous system.

I also take probiotic supplements to help

with my IBS and also ensure that I fully

digest everything I eat since 90% of

serotonin is produced within the gut.

In order for me to make the best work, I

have


P A G E 8 7

A C T I V I S M

have to have a lot of discipline to make sure my body and mind is as

stable as possible. I rarely miss taking my medications anymore because

of how easy it is to relapse with mental illness.

I used to make a lot of work about mental illness but I've shifted my

perspective to making art more about identity while being transparent

about being an artist with bi–polar disorder. I'm never afraid to open up

myself to people because I think I have a responsibility to show my

imperfections since my social media presence can be impressionable. A

lot of people with mental illness have reached out to me, it's reaffirming

to know that I'm not alone, and that I am helping people by being honest.


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 8 8

What advice do you have for other artists who are

working with mental illness?

Be patient with yourself, focus less on finding a cure

for your illness and focus more on finding ways to

work with yourself. Be responsible and go to your

psychiatric and therapy appointments on time. Be

serious about taking your medications and don't skip

a day. Improving your mental health is a long term

journey so make every day count and don't take your

doctors for granted. Self care isn't always going to be

pretty, sometimes it involves forcing yourself to fill

out overdue paperwork or going on a jog when you

don't want to; be able to differentiate between

treating yourself and self care.

Something that I need to tell myself all the time is that

everyone is on their own path to success. Everyone is

on a different chapter in their lives and you just need

to focus on yours and don't get discouraged when it

feels like everyone else is ahead. Being a person with

mental illness is similar to being a person with a

broken arm, the only difference is that mental illness

is invisible. Be kind to yourself and support others on

their success. Your time will come, continue to

believe in yourself and work hard and know you're not

alone. The fight can sometimes be hard but know you

are more than capable of handling anything that

comes your way but don't be afraid to ask for help.


P A G E 8 9

A C T I V I S M

"I feel so

accomplished when I

push myself to work

during a depressive

episode because I

have practiced a

way to coerce myself

to focus. This

usually comprises of

a lot of small

victories."


K O Y S U N T I C H O T I N U N

P A G E 9 0

Plug some Asian American artists

we can support!

Some Asian American fine artists

that inspire me everyday are Mel

Chin, Ray Yoshida, Yayoi Kusama,

Cao Fei, Sharina Shahrin, Maya Lin,

and Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.

@ k o y s u n

K o y s u n . f u n




P A G E 9 3

A C T I V I S M

A S O C I A L

J U S T I C E

R E A D I N G

G U I D E

C u r a t e d b y

S a m R i e d m a n


S A M R I E D M A N

P A G E 9 4

P r i s o n b y A n y O t h e r N a m e

b y M a y a S c h e n w a r & V i c t o r i a L a w

T h e K a r m a o f B r o w n F o l k s

b y V i j a y P r a s h a d

C a n t h e S u b a l t e r n S p e a k ?

E d i t e d b y R o s a l i n d C . M o r r i

H a m m e r a n d H o e

b y R o b i n D . G . K e l l y

F r o m # B l a c k l i v e s m a t t e r t o B l a c k L i b e r a t i o n

b y K e e a n g a - Y a m a h t t a T a y l o r


P A G E 9 5

A C T I V I S M

F L O W E R B O Y


L A U R A J E W

P A G E 9 6

B y L a u r a J e w

@ t h e _ l 0 s t _ a r t i s t


P A G E 9 7

A C T I V I S M

S A F E

As a Chinese American artist, these works seek to explore the stigma

around expressiveness, dreaming, and voice. It is often the case that the

stories of Asian Americans go untold, and yet there is both richness and

adversity in our histories that is asking to be spoken and reimagined.


L A U R A J E W

P A G E 9 8

U n t i t l e d

L a u r a J e w

@ t h e _ l 0 s t _ a r t i s t


P A G E 9 9

S P I R I T U A L I T Y

S P I R I T U A L I T Y


S P I R I T U A L I T Y

P A G E 1 0 0


P A G E 1 0 1

S P I R I T U A L I T Y


K A T H E R I N E L E U N G

P A G E 1 0 2

H E R B A L

M E D I C I N E I S

A L L W E H A V E

B y K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

Asian plant medicine is something our

ancestors relied on centuries before the

advent of Western medicine. In this article,

I will talk about some of the ways young

people, including myself, have been

conditioned to balance modern healthcare

with ancestral wisdom. At the core of it, is

recognizing that relief comes with

appreciating and valuing (without

extracting or exploiting) the natural life

around us.

Devoid of ancestral medicine, lacking of

wisdom outside of commodified

pharmaceutical company advertising and

corporate farming - many young people

have turned inward for medical advice.

Young people in the United States are

taught to seek Indigenous plant medicine

for hope outside of health systems. But

there are other ways of coping with the

failed American health care system.

Perhaps your family has already passed this

knowledge onto you.

Relationship with health practitioners

Americans are less like to go to doctors and

perform preventative care than any other

of the developed nations. We also have a

low supply of physicians, as the gap is

exacerbated by a privatized higher

education system and predatory student

loan industry. My family did not always rely

on a doctor, but drew from a couple of

experts in making informed decisions.


P A G E 1 0 3

S A M R I E D M A N

C o l l a g e w i t h f o u n d m a t e r i a l s

S a m R i e d m a n

@ s c a l d i n g w a r m


K A T H E R I N E L E U N G

P A G E 1 0 4

Do you have an “Asian doctor” and then your

“regular doctor”? Many people in the Asian

community do have two doctors. Growing up

in Texas, I had my Western medicine

practitioner who would give me yearly

vaccines and medicine for when I got sick. But

I also had an Asian doctor. This Asian doctor

had better “answers” than my Western doctor.

But they also have a different way of framing

issues. Instead of targeting problems issue by

issue, Asian doctors see your body as a

singular system with a clear input and output.


P A G E 1 0 5

S P I R I T U A L I T Y

In sino culture, which I am a part of, there

is a belief that in everyone is a “hot air” and

“cold air”. Everyone has an innate fire in

them, and when the fire is given too much

fuel, it rages through your body in the form

of acne, inflammation, cramps, distress in

the bathroom and more. Food is the main

determinant of how the fire would rage in

your body. Hot air foods include anything

that is fried, beef, and lychees. I remember

being told as a kid not to eat too many

lychees (not that it was a common problem,

they are hard to find in the US outside of

Asian grocery stores and even then are not

the best quality) as eating too much can

cause nightmares, also another element of

hot air, or “yeet hay”, as it is known in

Cantonese language.

These foods are more like guidelines,

rather than hard and fast rules. They’re

more commentary on newer, less

sustainable food sources. Beef certainly has

a large carbon footprint than chicken; fried

foods require an excess of oil in the

production with a large calorie intake and

low net nutrient count. With a sino doctor,

conversations about food are more

common than blind diagnosis

Sino medicine also warns against cold

beverages, which is almost a staple in

Western culture. Hot water with lemon to

start the day to get your digestion going.

Hot water matches your inner body

temperature which is why it’s better for

digestion overall.

My mom had a fridge full of plant

ingredients to make soup. While

Westerners may cite the restorative

properties of chicken noodle soup -

Cantonese soup making goes deeper than

that. When we had oily skin, we had

gingseng soup of Canadian and American

ginseng (not Korean, because that one is

too “yeet hay” for that purpose). Angelica

root for women’s health. Chinese barley for

all skin ailments. Dried cordyceps

mushroom for anti-aging but also better

digestion. My mom didn’t make soup to

target a singular problem though, they

were to treat the system as a whole,

primarily through digestion. On a similar

note, the Russian word for “body” is the

same word for “stomach”, which the word

“life” derives from, because many ancient

cultures agree that the stomach is where

your health is truly regulated, where your

life stems.


K A T H E R I N E L E U N G

P A G E 1 0 6

Food is accompanied by acupuncture and body work, when

needed. My Asian doctor never forced patients to use any of

these services, but they were available and “worked” for people

who “wanted” it to work. For example, in high school I

struggled with undiagnosed reactive hypoglycemia, coming

from a family of diabetics, and belly rubs from an acupuncture

practitioner in the clockwise direction aided digestion.

Regulating your breath and deep tissue acupressure massage in

the shoulders certainly help with stress and de-tensing your

body. Westerners are catching on with the popularity of asana

(body movements), mindfulness, and even acupuncture

cupping among celebrities.

Lastly, an Asian doctor is also one that could write scripts for

you. We had a local mom and friend in our neighborhood who

would write scripts for malaria pills when we would go abroad.

She’d write scripts for allergies when over-the-counter

medicine wasn’t cutting it. I wouldn’t bother our general

practitioner, as they had long wait times and their own

medication agreements with pharmaceutical companies. That

was sort of the secret genius of living in an immigrant

community. I never pushed the boundary to see what other

prescriptions she could write, but she certainly was part of

what I knew as health and staying healthy in my community.


P A G E 1 0 7

S P I R I T U A L I T Y

A refreshing scene in many Asian

communities across the diaspora is waking

up to elders performing tai chi, usually as a

group. When I stayed in Hanoi, Vietnam for

two weeks, I saw elderly performing tai chi

in large groups in city squares. When I

spent summers in Hong Kong, I saw elders

leaving their compact sky-scraper like

apartments to enjoy a breath of fresh air

and perform tai chi with friends at the park.

My mom continues this practice at her

home, in a different way. In quarantine, she

meets up on Zoom and performs Praise

Dance with her sisters in christ from her

evangelical church. These movements are

done following videos filmed with

Taiwanese religious leaders, championing

the christianization of Southeast Asia.

While I don’t agree with all the practices, I

recognize that movement is a part of our

culture and it seems like only at an elderly

age do we begin to slow down and find our

bliss. Elders in the Asian community really

personify this ideal. That’s probably why we

continue to look to elders for advice and

why parents and grandparents play such a

huge role in our upbringing.

Perhaps I’ve got you thinking about some

plant practices your family. Perhaps you

feel a sense of loss because you haven’t

“retained” any plant knowledge. That’s okay

because as more and more research is done

on Asian health practices, the more widely

it becomes available. Gogi berries,

mushrooms, and even black garlic are three

plants that are in vogue. Sustainable

farming is a new trend as more and more

people don’t see the need for corporate

mono-crop farms, toxic fertilizer, and

genetically modified food any more.

Capitalistic and imperialistic-style resource

extraction no longer serves us. It is not too

late to return to ancestral wisdom.


K A T H E R I N E L E U N G

P A G E 1 0 8

"Movement is a part of our

culture and it seems like only at

an elderly age do we begin to

slow down and find our bliss.

Elders in the Asian community

really personify this ideal.

That’s probably why we

continue to look to elders for

advice and why parents and

grandparents play such a huge

role in our upbringing."


P A G E 1 0 9

C O V E R A R T

S I N G K I L

B y E t h e l M a r t i n e z

Singkil is a dance that takes its name from the bells worn on the

ankles of the Muslim princess. It's one of the oldest of Filipino

dances. Singkil recounts the epic legend of the "Darangan" of the

Maranao people of Mindanao. The dancers wear straight, solemn

faces and maintain a dignified pose while dancing at a slow pace.

The music gradually progresses to a faster tempo while the

dancers skillfully manipulate their fans, representing winds. The

dancers weave expertly through criss-crossed bamboos.

S u n g k i l

E t h e l M a r t i n e z

a t e e s f o n d m e m o r i e s . c o m

@ a t e . e t h e l s . f o n d . m e m o r i e s


E T H E L M A R T I N E Z

P A G E 1 1 0


P A G E 1 1 1

C O V E R A R T

A S P I R I T U A L

C O N N E C T I O N

T H R O U G H

C O L O R :


V I J A Y A L A X M I

P A G E 1 1 2

I N T E R V I E W

W I T H H I N D U

A R T I S T

V I J A Y A L A X M I

B y K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

I first discovered Vijayalaxmi and her work

on Instagram. The focus on value on every

single one of her portraits is breathtaking.

Her use of shadow makes her figures and

faces come alive in all her canvases.

Vijayalaxmi is influenced by her faith and

divine femininity is a recurring theme in

her works. The Hindu faith offers truly

radical feminist take on feminine divinity,

something Western audiences are just take

beginning to explore. Vijayalaxmi's

paintings are a modern day conversation

between Shakti and Shiva.


P A G E 1 1 3

S P I R T U A L I T Y

Where are you currently based? What is

the art scene like there?

Describe your art style. What makes your

art uniquely yours?

I am based in MUMBAI, an art hub of India

where the Sir JJ School of Art is located -

the country's first and eminent art school.

The art scene in this major city has been in

an evolutionary flux and has been a home

to the noted artists, past and present - R

Raja Ravi Varma, Abanindranath Tagor,

Jamini Roy, Amrita Shergil, art movements

like the Progressive Art Group and many

individual artists and several art

communities of the like-minded. They have

played a role in enabling art to flourish. Not

a week passes without at least 2 or 3 major

one-person and group shows opened.

Galleries galore. It’s a place for artists to be.

To me art is just art. It could - and does -

sound clichéd but the reality is art has no

language, but has style variations which

individual artists develop. It is a constant

effort at strengthening your own style. It

reflects the painter's distinct personality

and patience, willingness to seek

perfection. It has not occurred to me that I

should, as a choice, follow any specific

style, but my present preference is a

combination of realism plus some

abstraction. Abstraction shouldn't be so

vague that the viewer is left to interpret it

in his or her own way. My rendering of a

subject or an idea should easily connect

with the viewer. Human forms, for

instance, have to be perfect but at the same

time should easily leave room for

interpretation that is instinctive for the

artist and be clear to the viewer. I just

follow my instinct and my heart.


V I J A Y A L A X M I

P A G E 1 1 4

S h i v a n a g i n i

D u r g a


P A G E 1 1 5

S P I R T U A L I T Y

K a l i

M a h i s h a s u r


V I J A Y A L A X M I

P A G E 1 1 6

Since my childhood I have been an ardent devotee of SHIVA, one of the deities in the

Indian pantheon. I am his devotee, and have a deep spiritual connection with Him. He

is traditionally described and later visually interpreted in the mythologies as having a

human form, well-built to the perfection of an athlete. He has long, even matted, hair,

is barely clad, and his abode is the Himalayas. My constant efforts are directed at

depicting His divinity on canvas. Within Him resides Shakti, his Consort. Shakti is the

power of the woman. Over incarnations, they pursue each other. Shakti in feminine

form speaks more about every woman as divine.

My medium is oil and acrylic on canvas though I occasionally do handle charcoal and

watercolour. I also love to dabble with clay as well to understand the threedimensional

forms. It is educative when translating on to the canvas.

The anatomical perfections I try to depict is because of the benign supervision of my

guru, Aditya Chari, a concept artist, illustrator, animator, and a great teacher of

anatomy – there isn’t a medium he is not comfortable with. For years I had struggled

learning, including formal art school, but found my later self-exploration incomplete.

And Aditya helped me open my mind’s eyes first. With his help I learnt that beauty, the

essence of every idea I tried to think of. He has this uncanny way of correlating colour

and a theme. My association as a student of this teacher began when he was one of the

random invitees to one of the early group shows and began to share his knowledge. If

he is known, it is for his work. He has much more to offer than one can learn in a

lifetime. He is so devoted to the idea of perfection…one has to constantly strive

towards the next level of perfection is how he puts it. I think such gurus alone can lift

a student from the ordinary to a higher plane.


P A G E 1 1 7

S P I R T U A L I T Y

What message do you have for international audiences about

your work?

I am blessed to be born in a country like India which has a vast

cultural history and tradition to learn from. I love to travel and

explore the rich heritage places, ancient architecture, and

sculptures which inspire me. It is miraculous how the old master

sculptors and painters worked with their limited resources. It is

now difficult to get that beauty in one’s work even with all the

aids available. I'm enriched by the past even as I explore it for the

present. I am intrigued by these beauties and try to portray

through my brush.

I feel artists always depict their suppressed (I must say) feelings

through various forms of art. In search of my own identity as a

woman my exploration led me to my subject of "shakti" or "Devi"

you might call or in other words every woman being a symbol of

benevolence,strength, wisdom, and abundance. My quest for

connecting to higher self and discovering the real purpose of my

life, awakened me to a different form of spirituality in this

creative process. I tend to communicate and meditate through

my works, even through my swirl and chaos of day to day

life..Spirituality which is not bound to specific religion, helps me

to transcend myself to different realms and connect to more

profound levels of consciousness and self awareness. The same

spiritual connection when I depict through brush and colours,

resonates with the viewer universally as well.


V I J A Y A L A X M I

P A G E 1 1 8

S h i v g a m i

S a r a s w a t i i

I attempt to show that the divine feminine is

hidden in every woman who just needs to be

respected and regarded if not revered, worshiped

like goddesses and to celebrate womanhood.


P A G E 1 1 9

S P I R T U A L I T Y

What message do you have for international audiences about your work?

I am blessed to be born in a country like India which has a vast cultural history and

tradition to learn from. I love to travel and explore the rich heritage places, ancient

architecture, and sculptures which inspire me. It is miraculous how the old master

sculptors and painters worked with their limited resources. It is now difficult to get

that beauty in one’s work even with all the aids available. I'm enriched by the past even

as I explore it for the present. I am intrigued by these beauties and try to portray

through my brush.

I feel artists always depict their suppressed (I must say) feelings through various forms

of art. In search of my own identity as a woman my exploration led me to my subject of

"shakti" or "Devi" you might call or in other words every woman being a symbol of

benevolence,strength, wisdom, and abundance. My quest for connecting to higher self

and discovering the real purpose of my life, awakened me to a different form of

spirituality in this creative process. I tend to communicate and meditate through my

works, even through my swirl and chaos of day to day life..Spirituality which is not

bound to specific religion, helps me to transcend myself to different realms and

connect to more profound levels of consciousness and self awareness. The same

spiritual connection when I depict through brush and colours, resonates with the

viewer universally as well.


V I J A Y A L A X M I

P A G E 1 2 0

In spite of all the struggles, the efforts that

go into creating, composing, and executing

the paintings, feel worth it when my art is

appreciated and goes viral crossing

boundaries, in every way. While it is

disheartening to see how enthusiasts

misuse it to recreate under their signature,

it also gives me inner joy of how it has

managed to impact and connect with

people across the globe.

myself through art, and feel content to

pursue it as a career. Just like I followed my

passion I would highly encourage every

creative soul to follow their dreams and do

what they love to do, no matter the

conventions.

No matter the struggle, I love expressing

my

S h i v s h a k t i

S h i v a l a n k a r


P A G E 1 2 1

S P I R T U A L I T Y


V I J A Y A L A X M I

P A G E 1 2 2

Artstation: artistvijayalaxmi.artstation.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/artist-vijayalaxmi-3a9851185/

Instagram: @artistvijayalaxmi

Art magazine: creativegaga.com/who-do-you-see-devata-or-devi/amp/

Facebook: facebook.com/artistvijayalaxmi


P A G E 1 2 3

S P I R T U A L I T Y

F O U R S E A S O N S

B y K a n a T a k a g i


F O U R S E A S O N S

P A G E 1 2 4

We can experience all four

seasons in Japan because of

its geography. It is an

important part of our

culture to enjoy what the

nature has to offer in each

season because change is

part of its beauty.



F O U R S E A S O N S

P A G E 1 2 6

This piece is displays the Chinese goddess, Guan Yin,

the goddess of compassion and mercy. I used many

references of traditional Chinese tapestries and

Chinese cultural symbols to create the piece.

B y E v a T o g o n o n

I am for what I know 100%

biologically Chinese, but I was

adopted at 9 months old and

raised in America ever since.

Culturally, I am predominantly

American, but I am trying to learn

more about my culture form

where I originate.


P A G E 1 2 7

S P I R T U A L I T Y

G U A N Y I N

M E D I T A T I O N

"The body is a temple.

You are a projection

of love. Love the

Earth, love the air,

love the water, love

the fire. Love the part

of self that is of the

ethers."


F O U R S E A S O N S

P A G E 1 2 8

C o m p i l e d b y

K a t h e r i n e L e u n g

The name Guan Yin is a short form for Kuanshi

Yin, meaning "Observing the Sounds (or

Cries) of the (human) World". Originating in

India and brought to China in the fifth

century, Guan Yin was first worshiped as an

androgynous figure known as Avalokitesvara.

Guan Yin is the pinnacle of mercy,

compassion, kindness, and love.

Many believe that her purpose is to help

people, and that by attuning to her, she will

grace you with her compassion.


P A G E 2 9

Z I N E S T A F F

KATHERINE LEUNG

ABOUT

I'm Katherine and I'm an art teacher and artist in California. I curate two

other zines - Canto Cutie and Dead Dads Club. My favorite places to in Asia

are Kyzyl, Taipei, and of course Hong Kong! I could eat Hong Kong-style egg

waffle for days.

Canto Cutie zine: CantoCutie.com

Dead Dads Club zine: DeadDads.Club

Art: leungart.com

GRACE VO

Hey! I'm Grace and I am a working artist based in Massachusetts. I like to

paint abstractly but I am also into mixed media. I also just launched my own

scrunchie shop called Up&Down where I sell handmade vinatge/thirfted

scrunchies! In my free time, I like to pay animal crossing and cook. I'm a big

fan of a good rainbow roll and a crunchy banh xeo :)

Art: gracenvo.net

Art Insta: @gracevoart

Scrunchie Shop: gracenvo.net/shop

MISHA PATEL

Hey there! I'm Misha and I'm a high-school student based in Tampa. I'm

passionate about the humanities and I've picked up writing over the past few

years! I'm also very passionate about music, and I play violin, along with

snare drum for my school's pipe band. In my free time I love to write, bake,

and play a few good video games.

Instagram: @misha.0811


A B O U T T H E E D I T O R S

P A G E 3 0

THE EDITORS

I’m Sam and I’m a writer, farmer and social activist based in Seattle, WA. I

graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2019 with a BAS in Ecological

Agriculture and Sociology. My love language is leading seminar and gift

giving; and I am permanently craving a taro milk tea. If you can’t tell, I’m a

Taurus.

Instagram: @scaldingwarm

SAM RIEDMAN

I'm Jaden and I'm a high school student based in Massachusetts. I'm a

photographer and musician who occasionally writes poetry and feels

strongly about too many humanitarian issues. I sell handmade earrings and

knit hats when I have time to make them to raise money for various

charities, and I read an alarming number of Webtoons and drink way too

many matcha lattes.

Photography Instagram: @jadenc.photos

JADEN CHEE

hi i'm baotran and i am a linguistics major and film/tv minor at ucla! i am

usually sipping milk tea that i made myself while watching a show or movie

i've already seen 17 times. i can be found with my australian shepherd at dog

parks throughout los angeles. i am always looking to consume more books,

preferably while under a fuzzy blanket as one of my spotify playlists is on in

the background.

BAOTRAN TRUONG

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