Contemplative Girls and the Importance of Teen Vogue

Image Descriptions: Three scanned collages of purple-skinned girls. The first collage is a person against a backdrop of black and white writing with five yellow star shapes floating above. They wear a boat neck shirt made of an aerial view of people on the beach. Their eyes are cast downward and they have a short black hair. The second collage is a girl against a starry sky with a shooting star above and cut out pink and blue stars floating next to her. She wears a blue boat neck shirt. She smiles with eyes closed and has pink shoulder length hair. The third collage is a femme against a backdrop of daisies. She is wearing a pink and blue patchwork dress. Her eyes are cast downward and her black hair is in a tight bun.

This series of purple-skinned, collaged girls share a contemplative quality. They are all considering who they are and their place in the world. They aren’t necessarily burdened  by the weight of these thoughts, simply reflecting. Using different backdrops and facial expressions I show that each of them represents a unique spot on the journey toward self love, self care, and self determination.

These collages were all hand cut from various found magazines. Many of the soft pink and blue hues and the daisy background were from photo spreads in years old Teen Vogue magazines saved by one of my studio mates. I was subscribed to Teen Vogue during high school. I really liked the smaller size and shape of the publication and was excited about its content. I was interested in fashion design and drew inspiration from their spreads. I used write ups on different designers, film makers, and actors as well as the photos as research for my own art. I think I even did some collages from those pages back then (note to self to go find them in my mom’s garage).

In the past year or so Teen Vogue has become a beacon of hope in the journalism world. They publish forthright and radical articles about politics, art, media, and fashion. I think that they are doing important work to support teenagers, especially girls, young women, and femmes by publishing honest, feminist content that openly questions systems of oppression. They are also spotlighting musicians, actors, and other artists who are making political work in mainstream Hollywood settings. It is exciting to see and I am so glad for this generation of young people who get to receive their issue in the mail each month or use them as a news source online.

While I wish that their content was as radical during my teenage years, I think that even then Teen Vogue and a few other art and media publications helped me cultivate a sense of who I was and what I wanted to do and be in the world. Using pieces of Teen Vogue in these collages brought the theme of self determination full circle for me. In a world that is still designed to tell girls, women, and femmes that their expressions and experiences are frivolous or unimportant, I wanted to celebrate the process of finding one’s way and place in the world.


Read more about Teen Vogue becoming a truly AMAZING publication here.


Mixed Feelings


color- mandu + tamales - mika

Image Description: A title reads “Mandu + Tamales, Cooking Rituals” at the top center of the piece. It has four watercolors, including one tamal, three mandu, and illustrations of how to make both tamales and mandu. There is text between the watercolors which read “making tamales alongside great aunties + mi bisabuela at christmastime, bridging the gap created by my inability to speak spanish.” and “making mandu with my mama’s fam for the new year, bridging the gap between us diasporic, mixed koreans and the homeland left generations ago.”

I have a longstanding appreciation for the humble dumpling. While ingredients and appearance may change, the dumpling is one of the most simple and ubiquitous food forms across the globe: a flavorful filling enveloped by a warm dough.

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Interviewing Award-Winning Journalist Maria Hinojosa

I had the opportunity to interview award-winning journalist, Maria Hinojosa about the newest episode of the PBS series America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa. The special, titled “The New Deciders,” introduces viewers to some of the voters who may profoundly impact this impending election.

Read the interview on the Center for Asian American Media Blog.

More information on America By The Numbers and “The New Deciders” can be found here.


“The multi-media exhibition Take This Hammer: Art and Media Activism from the Bay Area on view at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) draws attention to the creative ways that people are demanding justice, shattering the image of a utopian Bay Area, and building a more equitable one. The title is a nod to the quoted KQED documentary, which followed Baldwin, a born and bred New Yorker, on his 1963 trip to San Francisco. Baldwin took the trip in an effort to expose the truths and realities of Black life in the supposedly liberal city of the American North. The film, which screens in YBCA’s main lobby as part of the exhibit, exposes experiences of violence and discrimination endemic to the social and political fabric of early 1960’s San Francisco. Baldwin spoke to Black residents who were under no delusion that San Francisco was a fair and progressive place. The film’s deconstruction of San Francisco carries through to the work of today’s artist activists, and the work shown throughout the exhibit.”

Read the full article on the Center for Asian American Media blog

Originally Published June 2016


“Origami cranes hang overhead in loose playful rows along the right wall of the art studio. Standing beneath the canopy of their carefully folded wings, I felt welcomed to the exhibit currently on view there called When She Rises. Co-presented by Galería de la Raza and supported by the Akonadi Foundation’s Beloved Community Fund, the show features work from three artists: Cece Carpio, Erin Yoshi and Nisha Sembi. When She Rises is the latest show to go up at Studio Grand along Oakland’s Lake Merritt neighborhood that raises conversations about significant issues in our current social and political climate.”

Read the full article on the The Center for Asian American Media blog

Originally Published April 2016

Losing More Than Just a Bike


I took this photo exactly one week ago. Mid-bike ride, on my way to meet a close friend across town, I felt the need to stop and capture the moment. I didn’t care if it was a great photograph or not. Oakland was just so warm and sunny and beautiful and riding my bike made me feel warm and sunny and beautiful. On that day, in that moment, I felt so purely good. If you’ve spoken with me at some level of depth in the past four years you’ve probably heard me talk about my deep love and respect for Oakland and for how much life and history its streets hold. In the past two years if we’ve spent time together you have probably seen or know about my bike, Giovanni. These two consistent pillars of my life are very linked.

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Google, Sisterhood, and International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. I’ve seen articles, comics, and personal expressions appreciating women popping up on my feed for many hours now. Even Google greeted me with recognition of the holiday. The home page doodle is transformed in to a minute and half long video with clips of women and girls of diverse generations and ethnicities, all speaking different languages, in different countries, expressing their dreams, goals, and aspirations. Watching it, I have to admit that I teared up a bit (or maybe more than a bit). Witnessing snippets of stories from women who are working, living, loving, taking up space and making noise all across the globe is pretty beautiful.

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