Born in a rice paddy.
Growed in Texas.
Harvesting art by a Yankee moon.
I first started thinking about storytelling and its rippling impact on our selves when I was young, watching my mother develop film in her darkroom. Now, remembering those primordial impressions, I am also an artist whose priority is to be a storyteller. My studio practice uses the narrative traditions of woodblock printing, shadow puppetry, animation, and crankie theater to perform scenes within a personal mythology. My imagery is fluid and migrates with the events in my life, often lingering on passages of belonging, escaping, and grieving. Metamorphosis is a major theme throughout my work, conversant with other thoughts on how we view ourselves as both agents and products of our environments. Having recently found a home in communicating through shadow puppetry, I am looking to adapt and honor this long-standing, often spiritual, tradition of theatrical storytelling by drawing on my visual arts background in printmaking and stop motion animation. For me, it is becoming a process of hidden mechanisms and the transformation of everyday materials into illuminated essences, which is a magic that I feel is endlessly explorable and compatible with my creative voice. In designing a sustainable profession that shares as many stories as it absorbs, I am pursuing a balance between performing and workshopping my practice, as well as becoming an instrument for others to narrate their stories through me. I look forward to frequently collaborating with musicians, dancers, and singers.
I could have sprouted out of the ground from Southern China — that’s about all that anyone knows before I was adopted from Jiujiang and raised in the prairie oasis of Dallas, TX. As the daughter of a film photographer, I sympathized early with the need to frame the world in a soft and sinister Noir.
My first flirtations with art were through printmaking and stop-motion animation. While still in school my most impactful experience was in receiving a travel scholarship that I used to study folk art and puppetry across Europe and the United Kingdom. After graduating from PAFA’ s Certificate Program in 2016, I took an additional year to complete my BFA at the University of Pennsylvania where I piqued my interests in folklore, anthropology, and Earth science. Around this time my studio interests expanded more officially to global folk rituals and theatrical traditions, and their vital role in strengthening or protesting society. These broad interests led me directly to the field of puppetry and especially shadow theater. Seeking the time and community to offer my art more as a part of puppetry’s legacy, I have had the honor of learning from a variety of classes, workshops, residencies, and performances. My experience so far has taken me from Spiral Q in Philadelphia to Bread & Puppet Theater in Vermont, virtual puppet slams with Great Small Works and Puppet Showplace Theater, and classrooms settings at the University of Connecticut, the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, and the Chicago International Puppet Festival. I am also so pleased to share that I am currently an invited collaborator with ongoing art projects in Canada and Germany.
Just as important to me as making art is also teaching art. I am a part-time arts educator in Philadelphia, you may have seen me around helping uplift the importance of art in community through Spiral Q Puppet Theater, Asian Arts Initiative, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Philadelphia's Arts and Education Program STEAM.
Me helping paint a flag at Spiral Q headquarters for their 2021 SparQ in Schools Residency with Blankenburg Elementary. Photo by Rob Seitz