Visual Art

Emoji Trees

This “Emoji Trees” art proposal is inspired by beloved historic trees named Sunny, Aoyama, and El Pino. Jen Cheng and Nick Rodrigues are the artist team of this proposed sculpture for Little Tokyo.

Click here to see the proposal video which shares a bit of background of the community.


Each tile is infused with colors of the Eastern Five Elements (water, earth, metal, wood, fire) and the iterative design is a wink to Andy Warhol. References include ocean coral reefs, volcanic lava, painted desert, copper metal, redwood trees, and rainforests. “play” is part of the artist’s visual art collection of four-letter words from her poetry that have multiple meanings as both verb and noun.

four letter words collection

From poetry to visual art, this collection is inspired by four letter words that are both noun and verb. This piece was part of a group show in January 2020.

PREY is a collage made of latex hand-cut for the letters held by tacks to the yellow snake-skin leather, framed by a wreath of teal peacock feathers attached to foam. This piece was inspired by the idea that snake and peacock would be the opposite ends of the spectrum for prey. The boldness and the contrast of colors of the materials representing these two animals are striking.

PEEL is a collage made of typewriter art from a 1950’s Olympia typewriter with italic font, acid-free black paper, and a men’s unzipped black jeans. Imagine the slow seduction of unzipping someone’s pants to peel them. 

HEEL is a collage made of typewriter art from a 1950’s Olympia typewriter with italic font, with the “h” designed from the trace of the artist’s black heels, on a background of acid-free grey paper, and yellow snake-skin leather. 

FEEL is a collage made of burnt velvet black fabric with a chrysanthemum design, rope, wooden chopsticks, tacks, and glue. Inspired by poems written about shibari, the chrysanthemum background is reminiscent of the marks made by rope and the chopsticks are held in suspension by a tack.

“The Love Story of Butterfly and Snake” for Puppetzilla 2020, hosted by the LA Guild of Puppetry

My first puppet slam show is inspired by theme of forbidden love from “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” (David Sedaris) – love across animal species. Snake is first seen as a Caterpillar at the romantic lake and when Butterfly realizes the mistaken identity of Snake, she runs away. Through the chase and turmoil of the storm and the marketplace, they find refuge in a dressing room where Snake tries to win back the heart of Butterfly, wooing with wardrobe changes. With the soft pink outfit (colors inspired by Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Butterfly submits to their love.