Learn more about Vanessa and her journey through this wonky space rock we call Earth.

Meet the Artist

About Vanessa

Hi! My name is Vanessa. I’m a first generation, Chinese American multidisciplinary artist, small business entrepreneur, information professional, and unapologetic nerd about a wide variety of things. I committed to becoming an artist when I turned thirteen, working a summer job in theater with Gallery 37. I spent subsequent seasons with Gallery 37 to hone skills in graphic design, photography, and animation. My immigrant parents rejected my dream of going to art school, so I bet on my own audacity and went anyway. After overcoming many tribulations of self-loathing and self-doubt, I graduated from SMFA@Tufts with a BFA and Studio Diploma in Fine Arts. 

Afterwards, I decided to bet on my audacity again and move to New York with nothing lined up. I have continued to make work over the last decade while juggling all sorts of jobs, including managing a Starbucks in Times Square. I took on additional gigs in libraries and museums over the years to make ends meet, often working seven days a week. Despite this, I have held onto my unyielding dream to create art in service of bringing more joy into the world. I draw from a diverse portfolio of experiences gained from working in the arts, higher education, social entrepreneurship, and community organizing. Living a full, curious life has deeply impacted the way I work and think about work and its impact on others. Drawing from observation allows us to really see each other as equal, as human, as unique, as beautiful. It’s taught me that we all have power if we choose to wield it. 

Today, I live and work in The Bronx, New York, NY with my partner, Peter, and our cat, Spring. I completed a MS in Nonprofit Management from the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University. My core values are rooted in innovation, courage, inclusion, purpose, and kindness.

Photo Credit: Constance Faulk

Behind the name resetreality

Artist Statement

As far as my art goes, I dabble in everything. I do know that my practice has roots in meditation and painting tends to quiet my mind of its constant hustling. Lately, my art serves to observe the world; one moment, one pose, one subject at a time. Throughout the pandemic, online life drawing helped anchor my practice. I’ve had the honor to draw all types of people with unique stories and backgrounds because people found new, novel ways to connect to each other through innovation and the willingness to go on. There’s a certain magic that comes from observational work that I link to hope. When I discovered Rebecca Solnit’s book, Hope in the Dark, this part struck me in particular: 

“The work of [hope] requires people who throw themselves actively into what is becoming, to which they themselves belong. To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.”

With all these thoughts of becoming, belonging, commitment, and power floating around in my subconscious, I approach my process a little bit braver and ready to face the rigorous work of creativity. That it’s the magic of all this I think; taking action helps us better understand the world around us. Going back to Solnit’s work, 

“All that these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.” 

I came up with the name resetreality when I decided to pursue my passion for creative endeavors at the age of 15. In my first artist statement, I wrote:

“Suddenly, a handful of hearts scream at the false dilemmas presented to us on a day-to-day basis. To do this, one must bring creativity back to its roots: as an idea that nags, riots, tickles and refuses to go away. This idea eventually evolves and shapes our dreams and ambitions; perhaps even something that can change the world. The least it can do, though, is briefly brush the soul of another with a new experience. By capturing these ideas, the shapes of emotion and life, my goal becomes to share these ideas with others: to start a cognitive exchange that transcends corporate binds, human nature and cultural barriers. Simply put, to reset reality.”

I hope my work adds to the expansiveness of your world, like looking up at the sky and witnessing its openness.

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