In a world that expects perfection, how can we embrace the chaos and uncontrolled nature of our lives? It was an incredible gift to share in conversation about this topic with artist, feminist and professor, Amy Wong. Amy’s art practice resides in this juxtaposition itself. Oscillating between different systems of representation to evoke non-linear, personal narratives, he often works with what she considers a bad idea or a cliché in order to redefine them on her own terms. Amy’s work defines ways in which acceptance of our imperfections can aspire towards feminist and decolonial ways of being.
Drawn conversations at the kitchen table with her Dad are one of Amy’s earliest memories. That experience of “conversing” through art is a thread Amy can pull that anchors her early interest in process, rather than drawing, as point of contemplation for her art. Her art identity blossomed as she initially launched herself as an experimental video artist. But Amy later came around to oil painting, surprising herself at her interest in a medium steeped in such a privileged and patriarchal history. Amy completed her BFA at Concordia University in Montreal, MFA at York University in Toronto and post-graduate studies at De Ateliers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is the founder of the Angry Asian Feminist Gang (AAFG), a collective of Diaspora cultural producers dedicated to dialogue centered on Asian feminist concerns.
One of my favorite parts of the episode is when Amy shares candidly about what she’s experiencing now, a slower season in her art practice. She candidly admits to website neglect, social media distancing, and a forgetfulness related to her art practice during this season of her life. Parenting a young child, moving back in with her parents, maintaining her professor role and surviving the pandemic have been prioritized. Survival, first. But Amy and I wonder about the sustainability of it all. How can we continue to keep so many balls in the air? Is the only possible way to maintain a life rooted in art, motherhood, careers and more to lower our expectations? To let a bit more leakiness, messiness, and grace for ourselves in?
We hope you find this episode full of inspiration and hope. Amy is such a gem and it was a great privilege to spend time talking with her and recording this conversation for you!
Biggest Art Crush: All Amy’s artist friends
Dream Trip: Thailand
Film or book: From Margin to Center by Bell Hooks
Favorite meal: “My Mom’s Cooking”
Shout-out: Too many people… agreed on her son, Rudy.
Find and follow Amy’s work on her website and instagram @amywinghannwong
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn