Explorasian consists of work from four different periods of racial realizations in my life. My perspective has grown from a Canadian Chinese American woman obsessed with anger and bigotry to an Asian American person trying to find peace while appreciating what different cultures and spiritualities have to offer.

Generalizasian (2011)


College is a time for finding yourself. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, I realized that for the first 20 years of my life, I had hated myself for being Asian. What followed was a sort of second puberty. I was angry, really angry. And a little naïve. My unfiltered rage was unleashed upon stereotype criticisms, white people, and all forms of oppression that I was aware of at the time.

I was mad not only at the sexualization and objectification of women but the additional layer of exoticization applied to Asian women. 

I was mad at the model minority stereotypes, the tokenization, and the one dimensional portrayals. (I’ll always love Surf Ninjas, but it hits a little different now.)

I was mad at myself for my delayed realization.

I made a lot of mistakes fumbling through 2011. I was your classic right-wing stereotype of a social justice warrior. I was learning. I was mad about what I was learning. I had a lot of misplaced aggressions. But it was also a great time to channel those emotions into my artwork. And thus, Generalizasian was born. 

I still continue to make mistakes. But it’s all part of the learning process, and I appreciate everyone who sticks through it with me (and I don’t blame anyone who didn’t). Nowadays, I think I know how to laugh again. 

Generalizasian Group Exhibit (2012)



In 2012, I collaborated with Trina Fernandez and Jamil Ortañez on a group exhibit at the R.W. Witt Gallery on the Sacramento State University campus called Generalizasian: Stuck in Racist and Feminist Art. It was a show about navigating what is home, what is our identity, and navigating between and beyond our hang-ups.

Below are photos from the exhibit. You can also read what Bobby Edwards had to say about it here on page 8. When you entered, you were greeted with Jamil’s delicate sense of home and memory, which was a mixture of visual, olfactory, and auditory immersion. You walked past home and settled into Trina’s sculpture and photographs of tragic and desperate dolls, trying to exist and be seen, feeling lonelier than ever even with all eyes upon them.

Then you bumped into some stacked cardboard boxes, painted on all sides by yours truly. In combination with the large scale mixed media drawings on the wall, you felt a sense of rising emotion, crumpling paper into a ball and throwing it down, but it doesn’t satisfy you. There’s nothing you can do but regurgitate and play along. Finally, you sit down on the couch, near a pile of discarded Barbie dolls in the corner, to watch the video of Alexandra Wallace’s racist rant against Asians on campus

Frustrasian (2012 – 2013)


After Generalizasian, the initial stage of anger and outrage at the world and myself, I submitted to grief and depression. White people were telling me how to feel and it didn’t matter whether they were right or not. There were a lot of emotions stirring, but how to organize, prioritize, and ultimately sort them out? What is it to be privileged? What is it to be Han Chinese, the white people of the largest continent in the world, but also to be Americanized and living in America as a person of color?

Motifs of body parts were meant to represent the naivety of young girls – the naivety being something to envy, to miss. Other graphical elements I added to the mix were the void and satisfaction of space, pattern, and abstraction.

On the technical side, I wanted to explore flatness and depth. I didn’t push it too much, but I enjoyed making my pieces look a little bit like collages or puzzle pieces that haven’t quite found their place.

God Girl (2014 – 2023)

God Girl watches
but she doesn’t need to care.
Sometimes you’ll look up and
see nothing there.

But look closer and you’ll see
Skeleton Space Man – a trickster! Tweedle-dee-dee!
Then there’s the Sleep Walker. Poor comatose kid.
He can possess you, God Girl forbid.

God Girl is a powerful god, usually disembodied, omnipresent, intrigued, bored… tl;dr: Girls just want to have fun! She hangs out with Skeleton Space Man (SSM) and the Sleep Walker. SSM and God Girl are the same being. SSM is a trickster. Sleep Walker is the spirit of a young boy who serves as a bridge to the mortal world.

My God Girl series focused on highlighting the Asian woman as powerful instead of submissive, but also bored and useless (a reference to all my academic circle jerking in the past several years). In this series, I worked through some negative feelings about my bizarre evangelical Christian upbringing and my mother’s continued devotion to the religion, which has caused rifts between us. As I write this in late 2023, I realize that this series ended earlier this year thanks to actual therapy, learning more about different religions and spiritualities (the good and the bad), and accepting my mother where she is in life. It’s not a perfect world, but we can strive to do our best to improve the environment, ourselves, and our relationships with others.

The aZn Room (2018)

In 2018, Trina Fernandez and I collaborated once more to create The aZn Room exhibit during the Verge Studio Art Tours. It was a whirlwind of work, fun, and dumb. Trina focused on their Filipino heritage and mythology. I focused on my relationship with my mother and her relationship with a Christian God.

You walked down memory lane, a driveway filled with some of our art from the 2012 Generalizasian group exhibit. As you entered the main exhibit, you found a karaoke station playing hits from Trina’s life. After singing a song or four, you bumped through a series of my hanging lanterns, covered with uncomfortably passive aggressive religious stories, poems, and drawings. Beyond that, you found a shrine to God Girl. You were given a chance to create your own tile and offer it to her shrine, praying for blessings that would never come to fruition because she isn’t your God. She’s no one’s God. She is her own.

After weeping deeply in religious fervor, you turned around in horror to see a manananggal of Filipino myth. As you turned yet again to run for an escape, you found yourself suspended in time and space by boxes typically used by Filipino Americans to send food, miss-you’s, and other gifts back home. 

Thank you to the friends who documented the show. I would have nothing without you.

Shrekisattva: Shrek is Compassion (2023)

Shrek characters in place of traditional Padmasambhava religious illustration

Shrek is love. Shrek is life. Shrek is compassion and kindness. 

I did not originally consider this as part of my other three series, but realized that it is deeply connected, especially through God Girl, my relationship with my mother, her relationship with her religion, and my relationship with religion and spirituality.


Once upon a time near the beginning of 2023, I started reading the “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche*. What most intrigued me were three things:

  1. This line from the book, “Only by going over this book and reading it again and again, I suggest, can its many layers of meaning be revealed.” 🧅
  2. The concept that there is a Buddha within all of us and we need simply unpeel the layers.
  3. There’s a part in the book that suggests looking at an inspiring visual when meditating, such as the image of Padmasambhava. I looked up images of this practitioner. I came across this specific thangka of Padmasambhava via Thangka Mandala Buddhist Art Gallery and knew this had to be done. The holy image of Shrek (Padmashrekhava? Shrekisattva?) had to be made.+

This particular holy illustration is a reproduction (reincarnation?) of the one referenced above. I’ve never felt closer to having a religious experience until this piece. I’m not a Buddhist, and I’m not a fan of organized religion in general, so my intention is not to spread religion, but rather to encourage people to learn more about other cultures and beliefs (the good and the bad).

On that note, I think it’s particularly important for me, as a Chinese person, to mention the brutal colonization of Tibet by the Chinese government and its people. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Tibet. Compared to visiting China, we didn’t have to worry about wearing our backpacks in front of us to avoid theft. In Tibet, the people were extremely kind (that’s not to say that all Tibetans are saints, but overall it was a completely different vibe than in overcrowded, cutthroat China). I felt that they fully embodied the compassionate spirit of Tibetan Buddhism. There were always huge crowds of people doing circumambulations around the temples. The temples themselves were extremely intimate and I have never felt religious awe (and a little fear, to be honest) until then. Some of the statues really felt like they were alive. But walking through the city, we saw several heavily armed Chinese government checkpoints. On the road to the capital city of Lhasa, the Chinese government was building a new residential area along with an amusement park. I had never thought about amusement parks and housing developments as extremely oppressive methods of colonization – methods to wipe out an entire community. Nowadays, in America, we see fancy housing developments doing exactly the same thing, except we are wiping out our own citizens (and veterans). You can help Tibetans by donating to Free Tibet. Or you can find a local unhoused organization or mutual aid organization, like NorCal Resist, which simply sees people struggling as people struggling and aims to help them in any way possible. 

Everyone has the Buddha potential, even people like Farquaad have the capacity to change. It may take lifetimes, but it can happen. There are problems with every organized religion, but what interests me most about Tibetan Buddhism is its hopefulness and determination to continually try to be better. I hope that you will look upon this image and feel the same.

+ For those who are not familiar with Shrek, it was and continues to be a popular animated film from the early 2000s about an ogre who goes on a mission to save a princess for the local tyrannical ruler, Lord Farquaad. Spoiler alert: Princess Fiona is cursed to be an ogre at night and ultimately chooses to stay in ogre form and live happily ever after with Shrek in his boggy swamp. There are references to onions in the movie and, well, you really have to watch it if you haven’t seen it. It is silly fun, but has become internet meme legend in the same inexplicable way other things have become internet memes. 

* Side note: I saw online that he passed away, but that some time before he passed away, he was also accused of sexual assault. I respect the writings, and I hope he will continue the path to betterment and enlightenment in any future lives. 

Additional thoughts about the illustration

There is a grey cloud among blue ones. I think this was an error on my part. It would be easy to fix. But the more I think about it, the more I like the presence of this imperfection. It bothers me personally. That’s because I am grasping at an unrealistic perfectionism. For me, this cloud represents the assessment of priorities. What is really important in this life? Who or what is it important for? 

I love the idea that everyone can reach enlightenment. Even if I may not personally believe in reincarnation or enlightenment, I like the concept that we can make positive change. I also like the concept that our actions have consequences and we must work to improve our understanding of those relationships. Fiona can be happy in her human form, and she can be happy in her ogre form. Farquaad can be happy as a tyrant, but to be a tyrant has consequences. 

In 2023 I started going to therapy. It was a lot more helpful than I thought it would be. Now I have lots of tools to help me heal. One tool is the loving and kindness meditation. It’s a common Buddhist meditation. You direct love and kindness towards yourself, to someone you really love or respect, to someone you’re neutral about, and then to someone you might have very negative feelings towards. After that, you send love and kindness out towards something bigger, like all living things. It sounds mushy, but for me it’s pretty confrontational and aggressive (with myself). I have a wall tapestry print of this Shrek image, and when I look at it, I feel the love, kindness, and compassion directed towards myself, and out from myself to the world. I’m serious lol Shrek has become like a religious cult figure for my generation. With Shrek, anything is possible (and everything is absurd). I think this image also resonates with me because it is based on the image of Padmasambhava, but is more relatable to me (“A fictional ogre is more relatable to you?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). 

Thanks to DreamWorks, William Steig, Vicky Jenson, Andrew Adamson, Mike Myers and everyone else involved in the making of Shrek for inspiring a generation of memes. 

Additional notes

Here are a few key motifs of this illustration:

  • Shrek, the misanthropic ogre in the middle as Padmasambhava, reborn as Shrekisattva, sitting atop a blooming onion (the deep fried kind). The three blind mice are holding on to his staff, and Shrekisattva himself holds a forest mushroom in one hand and burns sage in another.
  • Donkey, self-declared and proven worthy as Shrek’s bff, at middle right. 
  • The Gingerbread Man, at middle left. There are some great characters in the film (satire on fairytales), but I especially love this one. He’s a hero among the people for the people (and fairytale creatures).
  • Puss in Boots at bottom left as a deity filled with vengeance.
  • Duloc castle at bottom right (Lord Farquaad’s sinister Facebook-esque residence).
  • Shrek’s swamp at bottom middle.
  • The tower where Fiona was kept prisoner, guarded by a dragon at top left (spoiler alert: The dragon is female and lives happily ever after with Donkey. Just two of their children can be seen swimming below Shrekisattva).
  • Princess Fiona in human form, also at top left.
  • Princess Fiona in ogre form at top right (the duality of human/ogre/female?), with children that appear in later sequels.
  • Lord Farquaad at top middle, proving that even the worst being can eventually strive towards enlightenment.