"I grew up in Malaysia, Singapore and Canada, and currently live in Los Angeles. My art reflects my international upbringing and experiences growing up as an immigrant, as well as explorations in family and gender dynamics. I often interject subversive meanings into seemingly innocent, nostalgic scenarios."
Ong is one of the participating artists for the ON/OFF Grid art exhibition (April 6 - June 2) at the Gene Siskel Film Center in conjunction with the FAAIM 23rd Annual Asian American Showcase which runs April 6 through April 18th, 2018. We asked her a few questions about her work and artistic practice!
1. Does your identity or personal story inform your work? Who/what inspires you?
My identity as Chinese, as an immigrant, and as a woman, informs my art. For most of my life, I never truly felt like I belonged anywhere, and the simultaneous need to conform to my surroundings, and desire to rebel, bring conflicts that are fascinating to explore. Themes of kin and cultural traditions and confusions weave through my work as well. My grandmother, a strong, fearless and well-respected matriarch of the family who succeeded despite having only a third grade education, has always been a huge inspiration to me.
2. How has technology affected your creative process?
Technology has definitely given me amazing tools and resources for making art. My creative workflow is so much more efficient – from finding image references, to digital sketching and artwork revision, to material and technique research to sharing my art and upcoming shows through social media –I can’t imagine working any other way. At the moment I am immersed in the more tactile and action-oriented methods of actually making my art, but I keep my eyes peeled to new digital or technology-based ideas. There’s a lot of places to explore in this exciting space where art meets technology.
3. How do you think digital formats impact your field and your audience?
Digital formats can never substitute for experiencing art in real life – we lose the nuances, the details, the dimensional impact. That said, digital formats bring the art to more viewers globally and speedily. I have sold my art directly to buyers through social media – it is nice having that immediacy of connecting with someone interested in your work.
4. What do you think about AI?
We have an incredible reliance on our smart devices and the internet. The more we use these technologies, the more data they are compiling about us. I don’t know if we have fully appreciated the consequences of allowing these technologies to follow and track our every move. Certain powerful entities will eventually (or perhaps already do) know more about ourselves than we do. The world benefits greatly from these technologies, however, we need to question and hold them to task when it comes to the information that is collected and used about us.
5. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a series of paintings in bright, simplistic paint strokes based on family vacation photos, exploring family tensions and the pains of growing up.