In this episode we get into conversation with queer Asian-American artist, filmmaker and poet JESS X SNOW. She speaks on her migration story and how imposed borders have shaped her art and perspective on place. She touches on how her work has allowed for collaborations with a global community of artists and activists and she speaks on balancing work as a freelance artist with self care and making space to focus on projects that are important to her personal artistic growth. It is an honor to share this conversation to celebrate Broken Boxes Podcast 3 years of programming!
Unbroken By Bars is a public art and storytelling project that brings the love previously incarcerated mothers of color share with their children out from behind the bars and into public space. JESS X SNOW.Here is the conversation with JESS X SNOW:
JESS X SNOW is a queer Asian-American artist, filmmaker and poet. After the Cultural Revolution, her parents immigrated from Nanchang, China to Canada, which she shortly left at the age of 7 to migrate to the US with her mother. After the splitting of her parents, she developed a stutter which she overcame through her discovery of art, poetry and film.
The Artwork of JESS X CHEN has appeared in the The LA Times, NBC Asian America, The Huffington Post, The UN Human Rights Council and on indoor and outdoor walls in Manhattan and throughout the US. Her films have screened at the Asian Cinevision Diversity Screening at the New York Times. Her poetry has taken her to stages such as TEDx CUNY, the US Institute for Peace, backyards, universities and rooftops nation wide, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology. She is a member of the Justseeds Artists Co-operative and a teaching artist who has worked with previously incarcerated families, migrant and indigenous youth communities to speak their truth and transcend trauma with art. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a recipient of a grant from The Canada Council For The Arts. She recently wrote and provided creative direction for Migration Is Natural, a short animation with Adobe Project 1324, about her experience of creating home in her art after the hardships of her family's migration.
Through film, mural-making, poetry and youth art education, she is working toward a future where migrant and indigenous youth of color see themselves whole and heroic, on the big screen and the city walls & then grow up to create their own.
“Jess X. Chen leaves us with much work to do but also with a spirit at once fierce and tender, and undefeatable, the optimism of finitude, and the comfort of the stardust that we will someday become.” — Chad Shomura, Political Theorist
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