Hawaii-raised, Long Beach-based artist with a passion for storytelling in the form of visual arts and songwriting. She took some time to share with us her work and what Support means to her.
As a BIPOC creative, what does “support” mean to you?
Support presents itself in so many different ways. Personally, I tend to have a difficult time asking for help; I often have the mentality that it would be easier if I just did everything on my own. Support can look like asking how you can be of help instead of waiting to be asked.
Support also looks like education. In my own life, I’ve been fortunate to have met individuals who made themselves available for questions. So many of my questions! I know that is not always a given, especially in the creative space. Being able to connect with people/groups willing to share their wisdom with me has been invaluable; it has also taught me to do the same.
Who has supported you and why was it meaningful?
So many people in my life have supported me in my creative endeavors but ones that stands out to me are my teachers. Make no mistake, I’ve had some awful ones growing up but I’ve also had some really incredible ones. The kind that pay attention to and understand the influence they have on their students. I can vividly remember times in my youth when the encouragement of a teacher changed everything for me.
What is a big challenge being a BIPOC creative in your industry?
Visibility. A friend and I were just talking about how, as visual learners, it can be so discouraging when we are trying to step into a role that we can’t even imagine ourselves in. So many times, I have talked myself out of doing things because I simply could not see it.
Any words of advice or encouragement to BIPOC creatives just starting out?
Know that there is a place for you, even if you can’t see it. Even if others can’t see it. You belong there.
What is your cultural heritage and how has it influenced your work?
The Hawai’i sugar cane plantations brought over many of my ancestors in the 1800s—Chinese and Portuguese. My parents are Kānaka 'Ōiwi (native Hawaiian). I do not take for granted the gift of growing up in the Hawaiian islands—where the AAPI community was the majority and not the minority. Although I rarely saw myself represented in mainstream media, I was fortunate to grow up in a place that celebrated many cultures. It’s not perfect here but the impact is undeniable. Hawai’i taught me the value of highlighting all cultures and all stories—even if it is not my own.