CANDY YU YEN KUO
Enter the vivid and intricate imagination of Candy Yu Yen Kuo
I have been drawing my entire life. I remember being really young and seeing my mom make these quick doodles of pretty ladies and thinking man, I want to be able to do that someday. From about the age of 5, I started to carry a sketchbook everywhere with me where I drew my own little ladies in different dress designs. Eventually, this turned into a more specific desire to pursue fashion design. However, when I started college, I quickly realized that it was not exactly what I thought it would be. After completing my degree in Fashion Marketing and while I was finishing with Graphic Design, it came to me that what really made me happiest was painting and illustrating a whole array of different things and ideas; I love the feeling of creating something out of nothing with my hands. While figure drawing is still a strong component of my pieces, my fashion ladies now wear no clothes at all. In short though, I usually just say I paint boobs and animals!
A lot of my work celebrates the female figure. I especially love portraying strong stories and personalities for these fictional ladies. A lot of the "do what I want", independent, don't care what you think attitudes are representative of a lot of the girl friends in my life who don't necessarily live by society's standards of what "a lady" should be. They are girls who are proud of being comfortable in their own skins, and won't let anybody dictate how they should live their lives; they simply do what they do best.. be themselves. Aside from that, I do draw a lot of references from pop culture as well as other artists, my favorites being Salvador Dali, Alphonse Mucha, and Audrey Kawasaki. Growing up, my biggest influences in my drawing style were from anime characters, namely Sailor Moon, though I tend to shy away from leaning too much on an existing style, since I do feel that I am still developing my own.
The most challenging aspect of being an artist came when I realized that I wanted to pursue art as a career. Painting was a hobby for most of my life, and when I realized that I could make something I truly loved into something I could possibly support myself doing, it was eye-opening for me. However, I had no idea where to start. The first step was putting myself out there; as an introvert, I was never very good at talking about myself, much less pitching my artwork to galleries and venues. I had no knowledge of etiquette, the art scene, the logistics of running my own business.. pricing in and of itself was a nightmare. It was very hard at the beginning to look at my own art (my babies) and put a monetary worth on it with an unbiased, objective eye. On top of that, I have extreme separation anxiety with certain pieces. There is a constant fear of rejection, but so far every "no" has been a happy learning experience, and I learn so much from being told why the answer was no; often times it would simply come down to my lack of experience with framing/display techniques.
There is a rhinoceros piece I made after I heard of the Western Black Rhino going extinct a couple years back. At the hands of poachers and lack of proper regulations to protect it, the only way we can see this magnificent animal now is through pictures and paintings immortalizing it. Often times, the titles of my pieces are intricately tied to the piece itself as a whole, and it is particularly so with this one, as I decided to title it "Fuck Poachers". It was the first piece that I shared with my friends that garnered significant attention. It was the first piece to really make me feel like I could be a real artist, and to this day it is still a piece that I would definitely have a hard time letting go of because it represents a pivotal moment in my developing perception of myself as an artist.
You can find me at Elysium for the Eros: Art of Love show on February 12 and the East Handmade Art Market at The Vortex on Valentine's Day!