Sunday, March 8, 2015

Journey to the West [because that’s my flight route]

Me and the Big Buddha, 1996.

I’m going to Hong Kong today! (Ah, yes, my annual Art Basel VIP visit. You can read about last year’s in “Pearl.”) I look forward to these trips no matter what, but this one has particular resonance as it’ll be the first to H.K. since fall’s protests.

Follow along on Instagram and Twitter!

Friday, February 27, 2015

8 Chicago art gallery exhibitions to check out in March

Matissification by Richard Shipps. (Image courtesy of Elephant Room.)

My art picks for March are on Time Out Chicago. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

7 artists reveal what they love—or don’t love—about Chicago

Red Touching Yellow, Red Touching Black by James Jankowiak.

My second Time Out Chicago post is up. I asked seven local artists, “What’s your favorite part about Chicago’s art scene? How does this city inspire you?” Here’s what they had to say.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Time and Space

Hope you’re having a wonderful 2015 so far! (For the best of last year, check out the previous post.)

I’ve been invited to blog for Time Out Chicago. Thanks for the opportunity, TOC!

I’ve also started a series called Scribble Sunday; every Sunday I’ll post a doodle / drawing of mine—old or new—on Instagram. Follow along!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Not all those who wander are lost // All you have to decide is what to [read] with the [blogs] that [are] given to you

So I traveled to New Zealand. Photos are on Instagram, and I microblogged moments like these on Twitter and Facebook. I want / need to go back. [Turns into wailing bearded future Jack from Lost.]

Me in Hobbiton. #nerdtears #nerdblessed

Transitioning from Bag End to year’s end: Here are your top 15 most read posts of 2014:

15. “Passion
13. “Goosebumps
12. “Art Decade
10. “Get Your Kicks
9. “Dig Yourself
7. “State of Mind
5. “He[art]
4. “Forever Golden
3. “Pearl
1. “Of the Horse”                

This year was filled with firsts for me, whether it was jurying an exhibition for the first time, speaking on a panel for the first time, or being in an artist residency for the first timeThese upcoming months I’ll be treading familiar territory—revisiting my first love, traveling even more (I’ll once again be a VIP for Art Basel Hong Kong, which will be held in March instead of May)—but they’ll be no less exciting.

I’ve also started a Tumblr and Pinterest. I don’t quite understand them, but that’s what adventures are all about. Or something.

Thank you, as always. I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things. Happy New Year’s Eve and Day!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Passion, Pt. II

An announcement tied to the previous post:

This winter, I’m going to start creating my own children’s books. It’ll be a return to my roots; as detailed in the essay here, I used to write and illustrate stories all the time as a kid. (For me, this is the ultimate Throwback Thursday!) I have a ton of ideas already, and many of them will be based on my own life and the lives of my friends; you don’t often see a whole lot of people who look like us and do the things we do represented in children’s books. At least, I didn’t. So get excited! And if you know a thing or two about publishing picture books, let me know!

(And on a somewhat related note: Who else is completely against Pixar making Toy Story 4? Those movies were perfect as a trilogy.)


Last night I published my first piece on Medium, “How to write your way into the Ivy League: Tips for crafting a winning college essay, featuring an example that worked.” Although it’s framed by writing advice, the essay itself underlines my lifelong love affair with art and explains one of the most asked-about lines in my bio, so I’ll cross-post the article below, after the jump:

Columbia University.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Revolution Will Be Shared Online

As I type this in a part of the world where people are debating the legitimacy of pumpkin spice lattes (they’re nasty—you’re welcome), teen activists are waking up on highways in Hong Kong. The fifth day of the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests has begun. There, it’s the morning of October 1 (time zones? time travel) and mainland China’s National Day, which could spell a turning point for the Umbrella Revolution.

The protests hit close to home. Literally. You can read about my ties to H.K. in “King of Kowloon” and “Pearl,” but, in a nutshell (and in my bio), I am the American-born only child of Hong Kong immigrants. I often wonder what my life would be like—what I would be like—if my parents didn’t have to come to the U.S. (Perhaps I often hear Hong Kong calling to me because, in an infinite expanse of parallel universes, I am already there.)

One of my uncles in Hong Kong is a former schoolteacher. My cousins there are all students, much like the young revolutionaries galvanizing the movement. When I look at photos and watch videos of the protestors, I see brothers and sisters. I see myself.

Unsurprisingly, artists have been creating a lot of powerful images (a few of my favorites embedded above). Revolution inspires art, and art inspires revolution.

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