Traces is a video interview series by Anda Zeng (interview editor) and Joseph Chung (videographer) delving into the creative worlds of Asian-identifying artists in Toronto beyond questions of race and representation. 

A maximalist painter moving toward the immaterial. A poet grounding new work in a single story. An experimental musician returning to what was unlearned. Traces was born of almost twenty hours in conversation with ten vastly different artists, of which you only see about forty tightly edited minutes. Through those twenty hours, a unified story began to emerge: many of these artists were undergoing transformation, finding new iterations of themselves and sometimes even shedding the very qualities that had come to define their bodies of work. Some were rekindling old loves with traditional mediums; others were finding new tools and ideas coming to life in their hands. It was an honour to be invited into their beautiful, fascinating minds.

Just like the powerful art they create, these artists are dynamic and profoundly complex, defying simplistic definitions with creative ambition, and we hope the questions we’ve asked and the portraits we’ve assembled here bear witness to that beautiful fact. Behold: the artist’s process and the artist in process.

– Anda Zeng

Click on the image below to view the video. New video released on YouTube biweekly on Tuesdays!

“Painting in black is taking away the light. I like how calm that is…I want you to think about the piece, I want you to feel it, think, and go deep within. I don’t want [colour] to be something distracting.”

“I lead with sound in a certain way. There’s a percussive place I go with…my measure? It’s very monosyllabic. And then I realized that Vietnamese is a monosyllabic language and I was like, ‘oh right!’ It’s almost like a literal ghost language that I’m using.”