My exposure to art started when I was a little girl. My parents would occupy me with crayons so I wouldn’t make too much fuss at the dinner table when they were out with friends. Since then, in my 19 years of life I’ve been exposed and intrigued by Visual Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography, Fashion, and Music. I’ve been influenced by my travels around the globe but especially Hong Kong, where my parents are born.
I was born in Mississauga, Ontario. A friend recently asked me if I was white washed, and in that moment I said no. I was brought up knowing how to speak Cantonese, I can read and write basic words I learned in Chinese school. On the other hand, I am influenced by the immersive western culture we live in. I remember saying once that I wanted to move to Hong Kong based on my experiences there every summer, but my mother said I wouldn’t survive the education system.
As I grew older, I understood what my mother was saying. It’s competitive. To get into a good kindergarten school in Hong Kong, you apply to have interviews. This continues all the way up till university and that’s if you get accepted. There aren’t many universities in Hong Kong in comparison to the Greater Toronto Area, so competition is fierce. The competitiveness in academics carries on to their lifestyle it’s a fast paced environment. Despite the drastic differences in culture and lifestyle though, I think I’d still like to try to stay in Hong Kong for a long period of time and if I end up loving Hong Kong more, I’d stay if there are opportunities.
Being a Canadian Chinese, I remember aunties and uncles asking what kind of career I’d like to pursue. I knew for sure I wouldn’t be pursuing a career as a scientist, lawyer or doctor. In fact I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a career in the arts of some sort. My parents have been supportive of me, even choosing college over university for my post-secondary studies.
Another influence for my parents supporting my art journey is my uncle, who is an interior designer. I think his success reassures my parents that there could be a chance for me for me as well. I want to be happy and passionate about the things in life I do, rather than making lots of money, but not being content with my life.
Art is a way of expressing the self, and growing up my art teachers said we’d find a certain style as an artist. However, I have not found my style yet.
I enjoy learning different mediums and styles, being influenced by, and exploring the world. After I graduate my studies of Graphic Design at Humber I want to travel the world and capture stories of people: meet people and hear their stories of how they came to be who they are today. Hong Kong is a destination on my list. I want to find the areas with the retro neon signs, where locals hang out.
A lot of cities (not just Hong Kong) are being modernized but their unique, beautiful arts and trades are also being demolished because of the modernized directions cities are moving towards. More condominiums and malls are being built, so corporations can make more money but rare beauty is disappearing. I yearn to learn more about people, cultures, nature, food, and fashion, and have a life with lots of differing perspectives.
These plans for the future are just plans until I act on them, and just like art sometimes I lose inspiration and motivation, not knowing what to do or where to go next. The uncertainty of the future is scary, but it’s okay. Learning to be okay with not always being uncomfortable is better than being in a safe bubble of certainty and not living life. On this journey of life, hopefully I will find my artistic style(s) along the way.
– amanda yeung
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