It all started when…
As the youngest in a family of Filipino immigrants, I collected comics and magazines as a way for me to connect with my new home in Vancouver, BC. While in university I was compelled to use these materials in my artwork. Over the years, I played with different collage styles as a way to reflect my environment. When I started to do self-portraits entirely out of hand-cut collage, my perspective became clear: there was a sentimentality attached to these materials that had excluded me, and a new desire to reframe it on my terms.
Immigrants experience constant alienation. People are suspicious of outsiders and those who are different—it is what make us human. Growing up I turned to media to validate my existence, but I was left out of the things that gave me the most life. When I talk about the importance of diverse representation, I use the analogy of drawing. Most artists cannot draw a bowl of fruit in perfect detail without observing it in front of them. Similarly, it is much harder to create a truly empowered life without a reference.
Collage has taken different meanings over the course of my career. Now, collage is an exercise in taking pieces of a world that disappointed me and creating my own.