There's vi­brant life in death in Yeo Kaa's art

Yeo Kaa nar­rates her un­ex­pected turn to art, her mor­bid fas­ci­na­tion and the strug­gle in be­tween

Red Magazine - - Contents - NM

Yeo Kaa (a pseu­do­nym) is a per­son­al­ity as vi­brant as mul­ti­col­ored hues of her hair, com­ing alive through the dif­fer­ent col­ors it con­stantly changes into. A Palawan na­tive, she as­tounds with her story on how she first started her ca­reer in art as a pain­ter: A per­ceived fail­ure in aca­demics gave her a chance to redeem her­self through a com­pe­ti­tion that would even­tu­ally be the plat­form for her en­trance into the world of art. Af­ter fail­ing her paint­ing class not just once but five times, de­ter­mi­na­tion to prove her worth and hope­fully boost her grade won her the grand prize in a com­pe­ti­tion hosted by Univer­sity of Santo To­mas to the dis­be­lief of ev­ery­one, her­self in­cluded.

In a fam­ily of busi­ness-minded mem­bers, Yeo stands out with her heart set on the art world, dis­miss­ing any idea of fol­low­ing her brood’s line of work. Al­though sup­port has been hard to get by, she stands by her choice, ex­plain­ing res­o­lutely, “I don’t think there is any stu­dent in Fine Arts that have par­ents who were right away ac­cept­ing and sup­port­ive of their field. They think that be­cause it's Fine Arts, there isn’t any money in paint­ing; you will go hun­gry there. They don’t know that there are oth­ers who live with this, that its beau­ti­ful here, that you are more re­laxed here un­like the stress you get in busi­ness.”

Even at a young age, she could al­ready boast awards and stag­ing ex­hibits. Her art il­lus­trates em­pow­er­ment, a con­stant re­minder that even in youth, one can achieve many things. Her paint­ings are for those who are young and also for the young at heart. As Yeo goes deeper into her art, she grows to love it more, un­rav­el­ing new knowl­edge ev­ery­day, and will­fully sets her­self on un­known paths that are likely un­touched by any of her fam­ily. But with the art she so in­deli­bly cre­ates, it is no sur­prise that she stands strong de­spite her (as yet) short paint­ing ca­reer. She continues to take the art scene by storm with her con­stant par­tic­i­pa­tion in shows and through her role in Stu­dio 1616, a col­lab­o­ra­tive group of young painters she calls home.

Al­though her en­trance to the art scene has gar­nered less than hos­pitable re­sponses from on­look­ers and bash­ers alike, there is no deny­ing her talent. With a mor­bid cu­rios­ity about death and the many ways one can die, Yeo has shown po­ten­tial in con­cep­tual art. In talk­ing about her art’s genre, she ad­mits, “I ac­tu­ally don’t know still. My art is very pop, [yet] the theme is very dark. I don’t know what to call it. No one has told me what it is yet. “She continues, “The ex­pe­ri­ences of my friends that I hear about and can't get out of my head, I have to paint or else it will for­ever be stuck in my head. ” —

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: EATTHEOLDYOU, acryclic on can­vas, 24 x 24 inches, 2013; Kill Them­First, acryclic on can­vas, 5 x 7 feet, 2013; IDiedInAWash­ingMa­chine...AtLeast I'mClean, acrylic on paper, 4 x 11.8 inches; ThePro­ces­sofBe­com­ingNew, acrylic...

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