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Meet Adrian Kay Wong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adrian Kay Wong.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
To be honest, I don’t think my creative journey really started until I went to art school.

When I was young, I drew a lot, took a couple of summer art classes here and there, but never considered it more than a hobby or past-time. It’s just what most kids did, right? It wasn’t until a couple of weeks before applications were due for some art colleges that I even considered pursuing it as a career.

After spending five years in Chicago, four of which were attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, it ultimately came to the decision of where I wanted to establish myself and, after much deliberation, I decided to move to Los Angeles.

From here, it’s been a gradual shift from a couple studio visits here and there to pop-ups where I could show my work, to representations reaching out to show my work, and finally to my current state where its everything together on the regular.

My studio practice is always my focus, with collaborative and project-specific work here and there.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not at all – but if the journey were any different, I wouldn’t be where I am now. If anything, the experience of struggle has been an opportunity to learn and be humbled.

It’s been a great privilege. Initially, art to me when I was younger like I mentioned before, just a past-time, a hobby. I didn’t realize how big the world was until I had my first critique at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

I still remember this very clearly: I was showing this graphite, photorealistic drawings and was asked by the professor, “So you can draw?”, which I first took as a compliment, and was immediately served a generous helping of reality that is best summarized by his words: “So what else can you do that’s actually interesting?” And for the next four years, it was a very intense journey of trial and error, reevaluation, and self-discovery. It was years before I found avenues to express my own visual identity.

After graduating, I moved to Los Angeles where for a time of maybe two years, I struggled a lot with self-worth and what “proper” steps to take. I didn’t have any friends or family here, have a job, or have an established practice in any sense of the word. It was one of the most challenging and difficult times in my life.

Ultimately, I knew the only way to find my solution was just to make a lot of work and that the only thing I had control of was how hard I could work. Whether it was pure stubbornness or discipline, I’ve been able to develop what felt like disorder into my work today.

To be fully transparent, it’s only recently that I’ve felt stability – maybe a couple of years ago. Of course, there is still self-doubt, stress, and frustration in my creative processes, but they are contained as a solvable and necessary part. I’ve come to really enjoy the stress that comes with work.

I believe that for many of us, creatives will always face some level of turmoil in their journey. Our work requires a sense of self that I don’t think other professions necessitate. Almost like a precondition of introspective laboring in order to thoroughly examine our self, passions, and intentions.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a visual artist working primarily with paint on canvas, while also experimenting in site-specific works involving digital processes, sculpture, murals, and installation. My practice involves a balancing of representation and abstraction, attentive construction of shapes and composition, utilization of duality and repeated forms, and the subversion of the surface that allows for a unique interaction between flatness and depth.

I believe there is a recognizable quality in how I translate my perception of settings to my artwork. My tendency to be obsessive, logical, and analytical in every part of my process is translated into purposeful, deliberate mark-making. I’ve developed a visual language that can be abstract enough not to specify an intentional narrative while allowing for enough detail to establish a coherent representation of a scene. I like to look at my work as images of things often overlooked, moments that are often silent, and still lives of my still life.

What were you like growing up?
I was a relatively introverted and quiet person. But socially engaged by playing basketball for my school teams, playing all kinds of sports recreationally – I was a very active kid. I didn’t especially have any interest in any form of academia, though my grades were consistently almost all A’s.

And like I said before, I participated in art classes, but never took it seriously. At the time, I don’t think I had the awareness of anything beyond a week to week perspective. I didn’t have any big aspirations or strong passions or desires. It was honestly a miracle that I pulled everything together in time before heading to Chicago for art school.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Janet Solval, YWYWMLT

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