Locus: Community Abstractions

Locus: Community Abstractions is a social media mini-series where LA-based Chinese Americans discuss their artistry and alterations on tradition. The name “locus” is a combination of the words ‘local’ and ‘focus.’ On its own, it refers to the theoretical location of something abstract. One Instagram Reel and takeover per creative was the medium through which we explored our themes. 

From joy springs creation. It is this premise upon which we, Gabbi and Dahlia, cultivated Locus: Community Abstractions. The name “locus” is a combination of the words ‘local’ and ‘focus.’ On its own, it refers to the theoretical location of something abstract. Locus is designed to spotlight the creatives in LA Chinese American communities, particularly the ones who straddle the thin line separating innovation and tradition: equally important but best when balanced together. 

Jess Wang, owner of Gu Grocery and Pickle Pickle Co., has an eye for comfort. Beyond their clear drive for her business and accessibility, Jess is a talented baker and patient teacher. They are well-known for her year-round niango but even moreso for their well-earned status in her community as your “Aunty.” 

Ren Ye, one of the coolest people you will probably ever meet, is also one of the kindest. Their expressive work is inspired by traditional Chinese calligraphy and folk imagery. What puts Ren into focus, however, is their vocal advocacy for the restorative nature of art in relation to the body. 

Christina Chu, time and time again, has brought something new to the table with her GuZheng performances. This traditional Chinese string instrument has been beloved by audiences for centuries; Christina intends to continue drawing audiences close with her skill for transposing anything from film scores to anime title songs herself.  

Jess Wang (she/they) @gu_grocery, @picklepickleco

 

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Jess Wang, the founder of Gu Grocery and Pickle Pickle Co., is a second-generation Chinese American pastry chef, and fermentation educator based in Los Angeles. After years of training as an artist, working in kitchens and as a recipe developer, she has found her calling as your Aunty. She collaborates with her Taiwanese-born Wenzhounese mama, Peggy, to preserve old family recipes and develop new ways of making food to feed you and help you learn to cook and ferment! 

Jess does their takeover with a viewer Q&A on Monday, Aug. 15, 12 – 4 pm PDT! 

 

Ren Ye (they/them) @bratboybokchoy 

 

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Ren Ye (They/Them) is a Chinese American creative born and raised in Chicago. Ren now lives in Los Angeles and is a full-time tattoo artist, drag performer, student, filmmaker, and fashion designer. Raised from a young age by two groups; their chosen family, and their blood-related family, Ren’s experience mirrors the struggles of many QPOC. Their motivation to keep creating comes from the QPOC individuals they’ve met along the way, and their longing to find an answer to a longstanding question: can one find a balance between familial obligation and personal satisfaction? Ren hopes that through their art, they can find that middle ground, while also becoming more in tune with their Chinese heritage. 

Ren does their Takeover on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 12 – 4 pm PDT! 

Christina Chu (she/her) @bobina_chu

 

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Christina Chu has been playing GuZheng, a traditional Chinese string instrument, for over 10 years and recently began transcribing music from popular anime and games. She plays more casually now that she’s graduated college and working full-time, but enjoys the instrument and culture nonetheless. Christina has transcribed music from Spirited Away, Genshin Impact, The Untamed and more to come. 

Christina does her takeover with a viewer Q&A on Friday, Aug. 19, 12 – 4 pm PDT!