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
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...