by Christine Jeong
Christine: Hi Angela! Thank you for taking the time out of your day for today's interview! Can you introduce yourself?
Angela: Hi Christine!! Thanks for having me! I’m Angela, and I’m a first-year planning to study Visual Arts and Engineering at Brown. It’s still tentative, though. I’ve been doing art for quite a while, and I submitted a piece to the Fall issue of VISIONS!
Christine: Can you tell us more about your art you submitted?
Angela: Sure! It’s made of mostly ink, which is my favorite medium, and watercolors, colored pencils, and dry pastel. It’s about the frustration of being surrounded by overwhelming influences, usually because of outside influences. I drew it so that it would have an almost dream-like quality to them. Not all of our obstacles are harmful, and they can become a part of who we are and help us grow. I really like how the piece uses a lot of red, because it’s not normally a color that I like to use.
Christine: When you say “overwhelming influences,” what are your thoughts on the Asian American representation on media and on struggles of the AAPI community?
Angela: A lot of my pieces, the narcissist that I am, are about me, and a lot of the things I experience are impacted by my identity as an Asian American. I think it’s the combination of the pressure that other people put on me, society puts on me, and the pressure that I put on myself. Growing up, I didn’t see people that looked like me on TV, unless I turned on reality tv shows, game shows, or singing shows from Korea. I’m really glad that kids growing up now are starting to see themselves in the entertainment spaces they consume, but it’s really only scratched the surface and we have so far to go. Especially with COVID, it’s become really apparent that racism against Asians and Asian Americans are normalized, and it’s definitely not mentioned enough in the media. Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot more Asian influence in American pop culture and music industry, and it makes me glad that people are finally recognizing our culture.
Christine: Yeah, I totally get that!! What do you think the final form of representing AAPI voice in the media looks like to you? Would it end in creating more “famous Asian Americans,” or would it end in creating more media that reflect Asian American experience?
Angela: I think there’s not really a final form, and if there is, it will probably take a long time to get there, which is really sad. Maybe, if there is, probably having something to do with accepting and normalizing the whole of Asian Americans as an integral part of American culture. A lot of the AAPI representation we see in the media today are stereotypes, and I think the final form would be representing, on a bigger level, that we are complex human beings, too.
Christine: Awesome! Thank you so much for the time, Angela.
Angela: No, thank YOU!