We had the good fortune of connecting with EWANG and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi EWANG, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born and raised in Duluth, Georgia and my family is from Taiwan. My upbringing looked like a middle class suburb encased within Chinese supermarkets, Mexican plazas, soul food restaurants and Korean karaoke bars. Though the houses looked identical from the outside, each front door served as a portal into another culture. I would walk to Hina’s house and get handed a cup of Pakistani-style chai from Nani, then make our rounds to Melody’s Dominican family restaurant to eat Mama Cruz’s empanadas, and finally cap the day off with a Taiwanese hot pot dinner at my house. It was a gentle, swaying balance between being American teens and keeping our home cultures vibrant and breathing. While we didn’t understand each other’s home languages, we understood the importance of family, community and sharing a meal. My mother made a point to teach me and my siblings that we are no better or worse than those around us because everyone bleeds the same color. I was lucky enough to put that to practice from a very young age. Only until I went to UGA for my BFA did I realize how significant it was to be brought up in a community that wasn’t “either/or.” Everyone I met spoke of horror stories from their grade school experience, comparing their experiences from the likes of American lunch room scenes on the big screen. I also began to realize that my reality wasn’t being portrayed in the art and media I was learning about and consuming. There’s a sense of camaraderie that’s included with being a minority in this country, especially for first generation Americans as we become full-blown members of society. I think it’s important for me as an artist to simply make sure that the work reflects the world I’m in. Atlanta provides such an array of complexity with its history, terrain and mixed demographic. It makes it a really honest space to live and photograph in.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started by just documenting everything and everyone around me at a really young age. I got my Bachelors in Fine Arts in Photography in 2015 and started to really think about what lens I wanted to make my work through. I started a 9-5 job while filling up my weekend with shooting gigs. It’s definitely a tiring route, but investing in my creative world is a definite motivator. It’s easy to feel burned out with a full-time job and a side hustle! I’ve finally learned to say ‘no’ to opportunities that may not serve my craft, since it’s really important to understand our own boundaries creatively, professionally and personally. Though, saying ‘yes’ to everything early on did provide the shooting practice I needed to discover my own shooting and editing style. I’m interested in framing soft moments in a monumental way, and often times, capturing a moment in its truest form is as monumental as it gets. Natural lighting is my best friend, and I pull a lot of inspiration from fine art and cinema. With my style, combined with different assignments that incorporate fashion or music, I believe my subjects can have their own voice within my frame. I think it feels honest and soft.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whew, it’s been a while since I’ve been out. East Atlanta Village will always stay close to my heart. Flatiron, Gaja, 529, Midway, Wing Bar, and The Earl are always great spots. I would probably visit some friends at Wish Gallery and check out their new featured artist. Take them to Aluma Farm’s pop up market stand on a nice day. Spoon Eastside for dinner. For nights in, we would have to drop by Citi Wine and Spirits to stock up. And that’s just on the east side!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My creative community! It started with my art school friends in Athens, but since moving to Atlanta, it’s been amazing to work and collaborate with so many other artists. From quiet sketchbook doodling sessions to collaborating on full photography sets, I’m here for it. Atlanta supports Atlanta.
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