Interview With Artist:


Part of the 2021 Billboard Art Project
April 5-30
Board Location: Santa Monica NS 100ft E/O Hollywood Frwy F/W

Khmerican: Drawing on Pink Donut Boxes and Tracing the Stories of Cambodian and Vietnamese Refugees. Informed by my family’s refugee history and inspired by personal research and interviews, my drawings on pink donut boxes and cross-stitched personalized California license plates unpack the complexities of immigration, displacement, and cultural assimilation. Each is meant to be a sensitive portrayal of a unique personal story. Close to 90% of California’s donut shops are mom-and-pop businesses run by Cambodian immigrants or Cambodian Americans (Khmericans). The trend that links pink boxes with donuts can be traced back to the Khmerican donut ecosystem. (source artist website)

The image of “Chef T” is provided courtesy of the art program of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, Pasadena, CA. The art program aims to inspire dialogue among all members of the school community.

Can you give an introduction to the ideas and process behind your current work? What made you choose Chef T and the other people whose portraits you drew in the donut box series?

Also Meet Chef T and hear his story.
How did you decide how you wanted to tell this Cambodian and Vietnamese refugee/ immigrant story? What is the significance of the pink donut boxes and the choice of people whose portraits you drew on them?

You’ve made several public art pieces for the Metro.  What excites you about public art, and how do you approach it differently than your other work?
What do you see as the significance of having this piece up on a billboard that is going to be seen by so many people?

Can you talk about this piece being part of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine’s art collection?
How do you see your work as a means of advancing all these sociopolitical ideas you bring up?