For this week’s #BetterGirls feature, I am beyond grateful to introduce San Francisco based artist/activist Eryn Kimura. Last weekend, I was given the opportunity to catch up with Eryn, who is also an old childhood friend. I was inspired by the way she carried herself — the way she spoke, her strong sense of identity, and immense knowledge of her cultural background as a fifth-generation Asian-American, as well as being a fifth-generation San Franciscan. In the few hours I spent with Eryn, I grew even more motivated to learn about my own family history, and driven to inspire others through my own visual and literary art. Speaking with Eryn reminded me what it means to be a “#BetterGirl”, she epitomizes the definition beautifully.
This is one of my favorite pieces by Eryn Kimura, titled “Fuck You John Ledahl”.
This piece is my first piece I ever submitted to an art call, and the first piece I’ve ever had in an exhibition. It is titled, ‘Fuck You John Ledahl’ and I mean it with the utmost excitement and enthusiasm when I say that. It is on a picket sign board, it is featuring my signature illustration and icon that says, “I will not be OBJECTIFIED, STEREOTYPED, CONFINED, OR EXOTICIZED”. As an Asian-American woman, I navigate this space of grey, liminality — I’m neither fully Asian nor fully American, neither black nor white, I’m in between all these binaries that dominate our society today.
‘Fuck You John Ledahl’ is perhaps my favorite piece. It is not only an articulation and expression of my anger, but it’s also a coherent expression of my resistance and a re-imagination of what I think this world should be. A re-imagination of these images projected in mainstream media of Asian women. Now, this image is definitely a self portrait. It has a thick, black bun that I always rock, not exactly in that traditional fashion but kind-of. It has bamboo earnings that I always rock, an image to my poly-cultural upbringing, and it also has the bird — me flipping the bird. Which is, not what I do on a daily basis, but how I feel and how I verbally murk fools that try to step to me, in some sort of misogynistic patriarchal manner.