Within our respective groups, we were assigned to introduce the class to an unsung hero in Asian American art and then present it through the use of a social media website. My partner, Alyse and I chose to showcase multimedia artist, Tam Van Tran. Tam Van Tran was born in the city of Kon Tum, Vietnam in 1966. Shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, he moved to the United States. He received a BFA in painting from Pratt Institute in 1990, and later completed the Graduate Film and Television Program at UCLA in 1996. He works with a variety of materials, many of them unconventional in nature. He uses common mediums such as clay and paper, but also atypical materials such as beet juice, chlorophyll, beer bottles, and algae. He has completed a wide range of projects and showcased numerous exhibitions. My favorite piece made by Tam Van Tran would have to be from his exhibition Adornment of Basic Space, called The Radiance of Awareness II. The Radiance of Awareness II is created from acrylic and staples on paper, linen, and canvas; it is 86” x 104” x 23” in size. The massive wall installations he created have the power to leave a lasting impact on the viewer; I would love to one day see his artwork in person and experience the sheer magnitude of these pieces myself. As an Asian American artist, Tam Van Tran does indeed draw inspiration from his Asian heritage. In his exhibition Leaves of Ore, Tran uses landscapes of his childhood in Vietnam as a foundation for his pieces. Tam Van Tran was truly an inspirational artist of unconventional mediums.
All the artists presented by the class were intriguing in their own aspects. Two that stood out to me were Isamu Noguchi and Just Kidding Films. Prior to the presentation, I had heard of Isamu Noguchi and had actually visited his California Scenario in Costa Mesa a few years ago. It was amazing to hear his story and the success he had with his artwork. Few Asian Americans during the early and middle 20th century were able to garner such popularity and attention to their work like Isamu Noguchi did. His artwork varies from things such as theater sets to sculpture gardens. During the Japanese internment, he willingly admitted himself into the camps although he was not required to stay because of his mixed race. He believed that he could inspire and help others inside the camps with his talent. He was truly an extraordinary man of his time. The other artists that caught my attention were the Just Kidding Films creators. Although not conventional artists, they seek to spread Asian American awareness and knowledge through the creation of comedic YouTube videos. With narratives subtly addressing racial issues, the duo strives to educate the masses with their satirically funny short clips. Both artist presentations were informative and insightful, and they also contributed to my Asian American artist awareness.
Evelyn Pei — #83257157