Segmented Real[ISM] represents bits and pieces of my childhood experience. I am interested in reinterpreting the past as an attempt to document my history. The paintings are derived from personal and found photographs representing a pivotal time and place in my life. I grew up in a very diverse immigrant community in Chicago. At home, I was raised with traditional Lao customs, but actively engaged in hip-hop culture outside my home. This body of work embodies a cultural hybridity; it blends my Laotian up bringing with urban American imagery.
With the guidance of photographs, I am re-experiencing familiar places and visiting familiar faces by the act of painting them. Through this process I am activating one experience to intensify another. These paintings are of children affected by cross-cultural conflicts and tensions that create issues of personal identity. They are of single and multiple standing figures and they are at times confrontational. I handle paint loosely, with a mix of soft and aggressive marks layered with lush drips of diluted paint. The intense, vibrant colors and broken, aggressive marks are used intentionally to disrupt the balance between normalcy and discomfort. The figures in the paintings are treated crudely. Their faces are melting, their mouths are crooked and their eyes are staring right into you. They are ugly, but they are only children.
In this body of work, I am pulling inspiration from my experience with graffiti, both as a spectator, and as a former participant. As a painter I am interested in decaying surfaces that are activated with graffiti. I am intrigued by its complex layers and textures. In these paintings I am reaching for the same effect, a palimpsest of marks on top of marks that build up a history, leaving residues and memories of the past.