We had the good fortune of connecting with Kylie Luong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kylie, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I grew up in a military household and so as a kid I was uprooted and moved across the country regularly. My parents instilled independence and adaptability as early values; my mother always encouraging us to “Bloom where we’re planted.’’ Because of these constant transitions to new spaces I have always felt that I exist in a world of in-between: floating right on the outskirts of friend groups and communities, always able to interact but never truly belonging in any one group or experience. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I latched on to art and music as a way to escape from or explore these complex feelings and this in-between world that I inhabited. My parents recognized and nurtured this love of art. They supported me despite it being vastly different from their own experiences. Looking back, the deep love and support of my family and the constant change in my surroundings gave me the priceless gift of resiliency and allowed me to truly find my place in the world: in my work as an artist. The women I paint and draw exist in and explore these in-between worlds. Sometimes their gazes are commanding, positioned as masters of their surroundings. Sometimes they are floating through, vision obstructed, barely maintaining control. They all have bits and pieces of me, my experiences, and the love of my spouse, family and friends, themes that I hope to draw from for the rest of my career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my art practice I’ve always been interested in painting or drawing the female figure and in exploring the theme of inner versus outer. A lot of the women I paint or draw lately are in positions that echo older work painted by male artists throughout history, and I repeat these to reclaim the pose and in a small way, reclaim power. I use the women’s surroundings, physical objects, and the color palette to convey the thin boundary line between inner thoughts and emotions and the outer world we live in. In April of 2020 I started working part time so I could launch my brand The Good Toaster Creative alongside my art practice, which I filter commissions through as well as more commercial work. It was always a big dream of mine to create full time, and I’m working everyday towards that goal! I currently have an in home studio with great lighting and plenty of space for my business to grow, and now have my first representation at Etico, a local Fort Worth boutique! Launching a brand and working as an artist is hard, and I wouldn’t have been able to take the leap without the support of my spouse. Since the business is very young I’m still learning quite a bit. If any readers are passionate about art and itching to do this, I would definitely recommend building a solid business plan and having a body of work already made before you launch!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many great areas to go to in the DFW metroplex! We moved to Carrollton recently and love taking friends and family to K-town to eat all of the awesome authentic Korean restaurants off of Old Denton Highway, as well as doing a day trip to King Spa. If we’re in Fort Worth the near Southside area is a must for cool local shopping and awesome restaurants, (Sprial Diner, Melt Ice Cream, Shinjuku Station to name a few). One of my favorite restaurants in Fort Worth is a hidden gem on Camp Bowie Blvd called Little Lily Sushi—a tiny family run restaurant that feels like a piece of Japan. I also enjoy afternoons at the Kimbell and Modern Art Museums, and if we’re looking for outdoor fun the Trinity Trails and Klyde Warren Park are great as well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a LOT of my artistic development to Susan Harrington and Adam Fung, and the TCU School of Art in general. They imparted an incredible amount of knowledge and skills during my time at TCU, and also modeled what it looks like being a successful artist working in the community, which was so important for me to see. Their mentorship, encouragement, and no nonsense approach transformed my work and me as a person. I will always be indebted to them and my time there. I also want to recognize that I have an incredibly supportive community around me, especially my husband Ken and our close friends and family. They have celebrated with me during the highs and sat with me through the lows and I’m always so thankful to have the privilege of living our lives alongside each other.
Headshot was taken by Ola Bodurka, all other photos taken by me and Ken Luong.