About the Artist
Hi, I'm Christina! I'm a 4th-generation Cantonese/Toisanese American from Queens, NYC. I'm a 2D & 3D illustrator, freelance designer, and creator of The Bao Bae, a brand dedicated to sharing and embracing culture.
I have a very special diabetic furball named Kitty Cat. When I’m not working, I’m taking ceramic classes, picking up litter around my neighborhood, or bingewatching anime. My favorite movie is Kung Fu Mahjong 2 and highly recommend it if you like HK comedy.
Growing up Asian (outside of Asia)
While language is a big part of culture, it's not the only part. I can't speak Chinese but I grew up with the culture and I'm proud of it. Growing up in NYC, I wasn't bullied for being Asian. I was looked down on for being "whitewashed". I’d get excited for a Chinese holiday or going to the Buddhist temple with my Ngin (grandma in Toisan) and they would say "but you're not really Asian."
It didn't matter that I ate Chinese home cooked meals, or celebrated every Lunar New Year with my giant extended family, or wore $1 mesh slippers at home. I was judged solely on my inability to speak a language that was not spoken at home — often the reality of being 3rd+ gen.
This is important to talk about because I'm not alone. There are so many people who can be 100% something and not speak the language, or maybe you're mixed or adopted. But that doesn't mean you're any "less Asian" and it doesn't mean you have any less right to have cultural pride.
I'm not glorifying losing your ancestors' language. Rather I want to encourage others like me to still be proud and never feel like they don't deserve to embrace their heritage, whether you grew up immersed in it, or are just starting to discover its beauty.
Why I started The Bao Bae
In 2019, I started posting my art inspired by "growing up Asian". I wanted to prove that I could embody Asian culture despite my lack of language. Because of this project, I've gained an even deeper respect. It pushes me to learn more Cantonese, learn more about Chinese customs, and have conversations about this unique experience that is being Asian outside of Asia.
My passion project turned into a brand and since starting this journey, I've gotten so many heart warming messages saying how great it feels to be represented. That's why it's so important to be proud of our culture and share our own stories, because there is someone out there who resonates and needs to hear it.