San Francisco, USA
Too Asian to be American – too American to be Asian. That’s what Jessica So Ren Tang, the San Francisco born and raised artist have been told her entire childhood.
In her work, she explores her identity and the experiences that followed of being caught in limbo between the two cultures that raised her.
She often portrays objects with visual roots that seemingly stem from Asian culture but has more of an American or western spread – like the Chinese take-out box … visually you would guess it’s Chinese, but, it’s an entirely American invention that has significant presence in American culture.
For the girl pieces, she replaces their skin with Asian textile patterns to mimic the duality of the above cultural identities. The patterns suggest Asian ethnicity but are culturally vague.
She creates her juxtaposing pieces with fabric and fiber – a technique she fell in love with during her studying stint in Seoul. It gives her pieces a soft and tactile feel – because they are, you could touch them. They look alive. Almost like they’re ready to jump away from the wall and run away, never to be seen again.