Q: Why did you become an artist? When, where, and how did you get your start?
A: I moved to New York City from Hong Kong with my family when I was 13. Being thrown into a new culture with a new
language and a new school made me look at everything in a new way. I had done some drawing and liked my art class. I thought of
art as another language. I went to the High School of Music and Art and was offered a full scholarship to Rhode Island School of
Design. It was at RISD that I felt I found what I wanted to pursue. I then went on to graduate school at Tyler School of Art with an
assistantship.

Q: What challenges does an artist face here in the Cleveland area? What challenges have you yourself faced?
A: Most people would think that a large city like Cleveland would have a more active art scene, with more galleries and more patrons.
I think in comparison what a huge scene it is in Portland, Oregon, with 10 times more galleries and packed openings. It is tough to
survive only on your artwork for a lot of the artists here. The toughest challenge for me is to have the time and space to make all the
work that I have in my head. It is tough to juggle all my roles and continue to push new work.

Q: What are the positive aspects to being an artist in the northeast Ohio area?
A: The good things about living in Ohio are our Ohio Arts Council and the Cleveland Museum and SPACES and, of course, Zygote.

Q: What is the thrust of your work? How would you characterize your work?
A: Most of my work is based on my wonderment of the world around us. My work draws you in through its sensuous color and
surfaces. I like to think of it as a “slow burn.”

Q: Which creative forces have influenced your work? Any one particular person?
A: My work often starts with a question, an observation or revelation about myself and my world. Some of my work has dealt with
the elegance and diversity of natural forms, mortality, relationships, loss, my place in this world, etc. In undergrad school, I had done
work-study 20 hours a week for 1 year in Ms. Edna Lawrence's Nature Lab at RISD. This intense and prolonged exposure gave me
a life-long resource and continued interest in the natural world. In grad school, my mentor was Rudi Staffel. He gave me the
courage, understanding, and confidence to follow my own work.

Q: What other outside elements form and inform your work?
A: All the stuff that I had experienced, seen, touched, and felt informs my work.

Q: What advice would you give to an artist just getting established in the Cleveland area?
A: Work hard and show all around the country.

Q: Do you have a favorite work at the Cleveland Museum of Art or elsewhere in the city? Why?
A: My favorites are in the superb Asian Collection at the Cleveland Museum. I have been going there for over 20 years, and I am still
thrilled by the excellent pieces in the collection.

Q: What is one of your all-time favorite prints? Why?
A: My first interest in prints came from looking at the Japanese prints of Utamaro, Hiroshige, etc. I was interested in their use of
color and line and their insightful depiction of people and landscape.

Q: What is the most surprising revelation about the printmaking process?
A: I found the printmaking process akin to the ceramic process. They are both slow and laborious and can yield unexpected results.

Q: What is the most difficult printmaking aspect to get accustomed to?
A: The most difficult part is learning how to ink a plate properly.

Q: What are the direct links to how you usually approach your work (in your traditional medium)?
A: I have always been interested in the interconnection between color and image.

Q: What question do you yourself have for the art community here in the Cleveland area?
A: Just come and see the show and tell us your response.

Q: How have you benefited from working at Zygote Press and from being involved in the artist-in-residence program?
A: It has been an intensive hands-on learning about the printmaking process. I have also learned a great deal from my mentor, Liz
Maugans, and my partner in this residence, Laila Voss. I got to know them deeply, both personally as well artistically. This
opportunity has allowed me to generate new images and new ideas.

an interview
                   with Eva  Kwong

The following interview was first published
in the Fall 2002 issue of
Fresh Ink, the Zygote Press newsletter.
Known primarily for her ceramic work, Eva teaches at Kent State University.
During the Summer of 2002, she was one of the Zygote Press Artists-in-Residence.
Quinta Essentia: East & West, an exhibition of work produced during her Zygote residency,
was presented at the Zygote gallery from September 13 through October 12, 2002.

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Interview © Zygote Press, Eva Kwong, and Christian-Albrecht Gollub


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