35 episodes

Seeing Color is a podcast that talks with cultural workers and artists of color in order to expand the area of what is a predominantly white space in the arts. With discussions shifting between art and race, Zhiwan Cheung hashes out with guests a range of topics about the creative process in a white-dominated art world.

Seeing Color Zhiwan Cheung

    • Visual Arts

Seeing Color is a podcast that talks with cultural workers and artists of color in order to expand the area of what is a predominantly white space in the arts. With discussions shifting between art and race, Zhiwan Cheung hashes out with guests a range of topics about the creative process in a white-dominated art world.

    Episode 35: Asian Masculities (w/ Sarnt Utamachote)

    Episode 35: Asian Masculities (w/ Sarnt Utamachote)

    Hey everyone. I hope you are doing well. The weather has changed slightly here in Zhuahi...it feels like LA at the moment, although not a dry. I've been recently falling in love with the tropical breeze here. I am still coming to terms with living in a tropical place as opposed to visiting it temporarily. The past weekend I traveled to Xi'an and learned a great deal of Chinese history given the city's long geographic and historic importance. The silk road starts there and many of China's leader came from or went through Xi'an in their beginnings. I got to see the Terracota Army, which is an 8,000 life-sized army recreated to guard the Qin Dynasty's first Emperor in the afterlife. It was massive and I temporarily made me rethink my own art.

    Anyway. Today, I am speaking with Sarnt Utamachote. Born in Thailand, Sarnt moved to Berlin in 2014 where he has been rediscovered himself and his ‘essence’ of Asianness within a European culture ever since. He describes himself as a filmmaker-photographer-artist-poet-writer-clubkid-culture enthusiast. Sarnt also organizes Thai film festivals around Berlin and our circles overlapped during my time there. I got to catch Sarnt before I left for China and we talked about navigating cities, k-pop, white queer German filmmakers, and Asian masculinities. I hope you enjoy this.

    Photo Credit: Jessica Sattabongkot

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Episode 34: Movies and Zines (w/ Sophia Zarders)

    Episode 34: Movies and Zines (w/ Sophia Zarders)

    Hey everyone. Another two weeks has gone by and a new episode is here for you. I don't have too much new going on at the moment. Next week I'll be going on a trip to Xi'an with my Chinese class. I'm excited to see the Terracotta Army there and try northern Chinese food. I applied to a few residencies around China for the summer and I'm hoping to be able to continue to travel while making art. I'll keep you updated.

    For today, I am interviewing Sophia Zarders, an illustrator, comic artist, and educator from Long Beach, California. Their illustrations have been published in The Nation, Socialist Review, Shameless Magazine, and other independent publications. They graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Illustration and they currently work as a freelance artist and an art instructor for adults with disabilities.

    Sophia was one of the first artists I met and hung out with when I arrived in Berlin in 2018. I recorded this a year ago, so a few things we talk are clearly not up to date, such as our favorite summer movies. But overall, as I listened through it, our conversation had a relaxing feel as we discuss roller coasters, comics, and 2018's summer movies. I hope you enjoy it.

    • 50 min
    Episode 33: Information Is Liberation (w/ Femi Oyewole)

    Episode 33: Information Is Liberation (w/ Femi Oyewole)

    Hey everyone. I hope everyone is well. Classes are past the halfway point and I am starting to think about my winter plans. There are a few places I want to visit in China. This past weekend, I was happy to see my parents as they were visited Hong Kong. They came over to Zhuhai along with some relatives from Hong Kong and Shanghai. We rented a car and drove a few hours north to the Shunde District. I got to practice my terrible Mandarin and eat some amazing food. Since there were 10 of us, we got to order quite a bit and try a lot of different dishes. Some food highlights include sweet and sour shrimp and double layered milk dessert. Overall, it was a good weekend.

    Anyway, for this episode, I am speaking with Femi Oyewole, a multi disciplinary artist who uses any medium to create unique experiences and bring people together. Originally born in Nigeria, Femi moved to London where eventually lived and he grew up in. Femi studied at the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology before continuing his training at London Contemporary Dance School. Since graduating Femi has had the opportunity to work with a variety of choreographers and companies, including BlueMan Group, Will Tuckett’s Faeries, Simeon Qsyea, Ivan Blackstock, DV8 Physical Theatre, Protein Dance Company, The Ongoing Project and more. Femi is also the founder and CEO of Black Brown Berlin, a website that provides information of quality events and ‘safer’ spaces for black and brown people in Berlin. Black Brown Berlin started around the same time as this podcast and we found each other through Instagram so thank you internet! I reached out to Femi as I was curious to hear how Femi started his project and how his experiences in Berlin drove him to create Black Brown Berlin. We go over Femi’s early forays into dance, how he became a Blue Man, and the importance of information as liberation. It was a fun conversation and I hope you enjoy this.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 32: Failing Fast (w/ Natalia Gomez)

    Episode 32: Failing Fast (w/ Natalia Gomez)

    Hey everyone. I hope everyone is enjoying fall. The weather in Zhuhai is finally not unbearably hot and sticky. I have been trying my best to learn Chinese and it is kicking my ass, although I notice I am easing in it a bit better than others as I was lucky to grow up listening to Cantonese and being forced by my parents to take Saturday morning Mandarin classes as a child. Thanks mom and dad. I have also been traveling quite a bit on weekends. So far, I've been to Shenzhen, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. I hope to eventually make it more north to Shanghai and Beijing.

    Anyway, today I have a fun episode to share as I am speaking with Natalia Gomez. Natalia was born in Columbia before her parents moved to Virginia. Natalia completed her BFA at Carnegie Mellon University right before I began my graduate program, but Natalia stuck around and continued working with and within the Pittsburgh arts community. Natalia is a visual artist working primarily in sculpture and photography. Much of her work uses the visual language of basic contemporary building materials - sheetrock and pine 2x4s - to explore form, labor, and the body’s relationship to space.

    I've known Natalia for quite a while as she was my neighbor the whole time I lived in Pittsburgh. I still remember fondly of spending many evenings with Natalia on our buildings rooftop talking and drinking the night away. At the time of our interview, Natalia was working for the outreach and education program at the Carnegie Museum of Art but has since made a shift towards a few other areas. She recently told me she finally came to terms with keeping her day time job separate from her practice. For our conversation, we delve into what failure and success means to us individually, how one comes to accept a name, outreach in art institutions, and weddings. Our conversation goes all over the place and it reminded me of our rooftop conversations. I hope you enjoy it.

    • 1 hr 28 min
    Episode 31: So, Barack Obama (w/ Yvette Robertson)

    Episode 31: So, Barack Obama (w/ Yvette Robertson)

    Hey everyone. Time is flying by and at the same time, I no longer have a good grasp of how long I've been in China. Last week was a haze as I flew out to Chicago to see my brother get married. I got to see my family which is always a good thing. I didn't think so when I was younger but I feel I'm getting more sentimental as I get older. My internal clock got all wonky as I had to switch 13 hours backwards for a few days and then immediately switch again. The flight was 15 hours there and 17 hours back. On the way out to Chicago, I made a quick trip to Hong Kong and saw my cousin. I ate some amazing food and saw a funny exhibition about Studio Ghibli, although the entire time I was there, the city felt very tense there with smaller protests happening on the streets and flyers posted all over.

    Anyway, for today, I'm interviewing my very good friend, Yvette Robertson. I met Yvette through some combination of Nine Yamamoto-Masson, who I previously interviewed, and Lavender Wolf, an American artist currently living in Belgium who I never got a chance to interview before I left Europe. Yvette and I continued to run into each other and we started hanging out a lot, especially towards the end of my stay in Berlin. Nine described what Yvette does as doing the hard work few people want to do, which is to say she teaches about race and intersectionality to business professionals who largely do not have the language or, often times, interest to engage with the topic. These classes tend to be mandatory set by the administrators who want their institution to look socially aware without really understanding what that means. I attended a few of Yvettes classes to see how such a dynamic would play out and found the whole experience spooky, tiring, and fascinating. I was really happy to record our mildly drunken conversation after a very delightful Sri Lankan breakfast Yvette cooked up. We talk about power dynamics, processing white guilt, and the failure of true objectivity. I hope you enjoy this episode.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Episode 30: Speaking to the Gaps aka One Year Anniversary Edition (w/ Billie Lee)

    Episode 30: Speaking to the Gaps aka One Year Anniversary Edition (w/ Billie Lee)

    Hello everyone. Wow...so it's been a year since I launched this podcast. I am a bit shocked the podcast lasted this long. I still remember releasing my first episode with Justin Favela. I had just moved to Berlin and didn't quite know the identity of my show. I worried endlessly about how I sounded, whether I made any sense, and what the intro music will be. A year later, I'm now in China. A few things that I've noticed is my intros have gotten longer and better. I think I have a clearer idea of what it means to be a podcaster, along with the sheer amount of work that goes into it. I still wonder about the reach of this project based on the analytics of the site, although here and there I find that a few people are indeed listening and contributing to my Patreon. So again, thank you to all the listeners who have supported this podcast and everyone who has been interviewed. If you want to show your support, you can subscribe, tweet about the show using hashtag #podin, or donate to my Patreon for $2 a month. I will love you all the same no matter which is easier for you at the current moment. Again, huge thanks to you, my listeners.

    So today, I will be interviewing Billie Lee. Billie works at the intersection of art, pedagogy, and social change. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Yale University. Billie contacted me as a listener of the podcast and wanted to talk to me for her dissertation, which examines the intersection of race, identity, and cultural politics in contemporary art and education. Billie sent me an essay to give further context on her work, which I thoroughly enjoyed and have linked that essay in the show notes. We had a preliminary chat via Skype before this actual interview to get to know each other better. I didn't quite know what to expect or whether our talk would meander toward an interesting path, but I recorded it nonetheless just in case (with Billie's consent of course).

    We chatted while Billie was completing a residency at Mass MOCA and as I was about to leave Berlin. The following interview delves quite a bit into my own reflections about the podcast and what I have learned from the process. We talk about our shared experiences going to art school as Asian-Americans, the politics of a model minority, and how white spaces want an endless explanation of certain types of non-white otherness. In editing the audio, I thought this would be a nice discussion to release on the anniversary of this show, given the reflective nature of Billie interviewing me. I still have a lot to learn and things I want to do and people I want to interview. Hopefully this will be one of many anniversaries. In any case, I hope you enjoy it.

    • 1 hr 16 min

Customer Reviews

Mmmmmnop ,

Thoughtful and reflective!

Great host and interviewees!

VMOZ Arte ,

Great work Zhiwan!! Thank you!

From conversations that this artist has with other artists of color I learned that the challenges and the lack of representation I encountered in college, I did not actually face alone, and although unfortunate, it is very powerful. Zhiwan exposes his audience to artists, curators, and art producers who are paving the WAYS for artist minorities and for that I’m very grateful. Shoutout to episode 26, 18, and 12! After picking a couple of favorites I’m excited to listen to a couple of opuses I haven’t heard in a while!

Curadora505 ,

Thoughtful and engaging!

Zhiwan's powerful and unique perspective is a welcomed addition to the podcast arena. I'm already hooked! FIVE stars all the way!

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