Thursday, August 30, 2012

Arrival in SeaTac Airport 1986

Arrival at Seatac Airport
This was the first picture of us taken in the US.  We just stepped out from INS/customs at SeaTac Airport. We came from Manila, Philippines to Seattle in August/1986.  We immigrated from Vietnam to the US as refugees in 85/86.  My uncles were smuggled out of Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and made their way to the US.  They later sponsored us to come, the process took about 6 years.  We flew from from Vietnam to Thailand and spent about a week there in a refugee processing facility.  Medical check ups and background checks were made.  It was very scary getting "processed", as a personal experience of a 6 year old, it felt dehumanizing.  People should never have medical checkups without having a native interpreter around.  Imagine a naked 6 year old standing in front of a nurse and doctor as they do their thing, without her mother by her side.  You wore an ID tag around your neck, there was little to no eye contact.  They spoke at you, not to you... half the time not in a language you understood.  I don't think things are like this anymore... hopefully they've changed.  For those of you who think English should be the only language (in the US) needs to realize that immigrants have made some of the BEST AMERICANS and there's always a transition time when both languages are necessary.

The Thailand refugee camp was an interesting experience.  The camp was built like a prison with barbed wire, tall fences and gates.  There was no privacy, but this was for temporary holding so they can verify who you were and made sure you didn't have any communicable diseases. People were denied entry to the US for being a communist or if they had Aids, TB etc.  There was a shop in the camp and peddlers could still sell you gum and candy through the camp's perimeter, if you had the money to buy.  I remember this was the first time I had Chicklets.  I was hooked, mmmm Chicklets!  I believe there were 2 meals a day and you slept on cots or on blankets in a big gymnasium type room next to your luggage.  We jokingly said the food was cabbage soup and rice or rice and cabbage soup.  To this day the smell of boiled cabbage brings me back to this place!  Despite everything it was a fond and exciting memory.

Arrival at Seatac Airport
We lived with my grandmother in Vietnam, extended family often live together.  We were split up for the first time in Thailand, my grandmother went directly to the US and we were diverted to the Philippines Refugee Processing Center in Bataan. We lived there for about 8 months.  We think it's because my mother was a native Vietnamese and she had tested positive for TB antibodies.  They worried my mother might be contagious.  She took care of an aunt with TB when she was younger and I guess got antibodies from that experience.  After leaving everyone I knew in Vietnam it was very hard leaving my grandmother too.  This was someone who've been with me my entire life, there everyday with me and ate every meal with me.  After 8 months apart this was the first time I saw her again.
Right to left: Dad (Ton Chau), mom (Hoa Nguyen), me, grandma (Hao Ly)

I just found this awesome blog about the PRPC!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tiny Things In Milan

The Delicacy of Tiny Things
I will be featured in a 2 person show at Galleria Patricia Armocida in Milan!  The show is titled The Delicacy of Tiny Things and I will show with Korean artist KAPPAO.  I'm very excited to show in Milan and to work with Patricia.  I think this is a great pairing.  I will exhibit a selection of my embroidery work as well as my carving work.  I have revisited my pencil carvings and made a lot of exciting new pieces for this show.  Please stop by if you're in Milan!

I had planned on being there for the opening, but we had an emergency repair bill last month that sucked $8K from our wallets.  It had to be done and so with a heavy heart I cancel my trip to Milan.  I'm so sorry I can't be there to meet everyone, but I have a feeling there will be plenty of opportunities in the future!

September 18th - November 10th, 2012
Opening Reception: September 18 at 7:00 PM

Via Lattanzio 77, 20131 Milano - IT
tel. +39 0236519304/ +39 3397291034

The Last Bear
The Last Bear 2012
Carved carpenter's pencil
I wanted you to know how lonely I feel. 

The Lone Deer (detail)
Lone Deer 2012
Carved carpenter's pencil

The Lone Deer
Another view of "Lone Deer".

DPi Magazine Interview #161

DPi Magazine Sept/2012 Cover!
I did an interview with Taiwanese magazine DPi Magazine and they've chosen my work to be on the cover of issue 161!  This is so cool!  I'm so happy I can show my grandmother this article, she'll finally understand what I do.  It's been so hard trying to translate English articles to her, grandma can read Chinese, but not English.  Thank you Jenny Chou from DPi Magazine for taking an interest in my work!
This issue will hit the stands September, 2012.

DPi Magazine Sept/2012 pg. 1&2
Pages 1 & 2

DPi Magazine Sept/2012 pg. 3 & 4
Pages 3 & 4

DPi Magazine Sept/2012 pg. 5 & 6
Pages 5 & 6

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fashion's Night Out with Saks & Crayola!

Crayola Explosion!
I just got a big box of goodies from Crayola today!  They contacted me a few weeks ago about doing a project with them and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Of course I did a happy little dance and promptly accepted the invitation!
I will be doing a crayon carving demo at Saks Fifth Avenue on September 6th for Fashion's Night Out 2012!!!  This will be a super fun event for everyone sponsored by the wonderful peeps at Crayola.  Besides for myself, Mr. Herb Williams will be there to construct a giant Crayola sculpture.  There will also be a interactive, life-size paint by number and airbrush graffiti wall!  Hope to see you there, please come by and say hi, don't be shy. :)

Fashion's Night Out NYC 2012
Saks Fifth Avenue
611 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Thursday, September 6th, 6-10pm
*I'm scheduled to be on the 6th floor.  I will keep this updated if there's a change in location within Saks.
I've set up a UStream channel w/ live feed from Saks for those of you who can't be there but want to check out the action:
It will go live between 6-9pm EST on 9/6/12.

15/365 Guy to Crayon Comparision
I will have a selection of carved crayons on display.  The Crayola lab has given me a few GIANT crayons to work with!  These are big!  Here's a shot with Guy for comparison.  I'm excited to work with these special crayons.  I'm not sure if they'll make these for the retail market, but I think it'd be fun to have a huge box of crayons in your playroom.  Watch out sidewalk chalk, you have some new competition in town!

Cinnabar Red
A test carving of a big 2 pound crayon.  I'm thinking of using textile design an patterns from various cultures for each crayon.  I will have 5 of these large crayons on display as well as some of my regular sized crayon carvings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Elvistravaganza @ Bumbershoot!

King's Helm
I've been working on a fun new piece for a special group show at this year's Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle!  I was asked by Jo David and Marlow Harris to create a piece in honor of Elvis for their ELVISTRAVAGANZA show!  I wanted to recreate something iconic, bright and flashy, but in my minimal aesthetic.  I had a coil of baling wire in the basement and did some playing!

King's Helm
I created an armature of Elvis's hair with bailing wire and 2 pairs of pliers.  The armature was spray sealed to prevent rusting and I wove copper and brass wire around the armature to give it form.  The brass wire is the gold/yellow color and the copper wire make up the other colors.  I really love working in this method, there are minimal tools and materials involved.  It was very time intensive though and many bruised finger tips!

King's Helm
King's Helm 2012
13 1/2"H x 10"W x 11"D
Steel, copper and brass wire

September 1st - 3rd, Seattle Center Pavilion

Come join me at the FREE preview: 
Friday August 31st, 2012
Noon to 9pm

This is going to be a really fun show PACKED with diverse artists!  A must see if you're in Seattle.  Come on down to Bumbershoot, listen to music, eat food and view art, what can be better?!  Check out the show's website for more info: