Kayan Cheung-Miaw


San Francisco, California, USA


Comics, Social movement art, Artivism


biqueer, working-class, immigrant, cisgender, Asian Chinese American, woman of color

How do you define art?

Art is creativity. Surviving on minimum wage in the 21st century is a form of art.

As a woman or woman of color, why do you think it is important to create?

Because we have been dehumanized, and creating art makes us human. Art help us heal our traumas. Art is way to have our voices be heard.

What or who keeps you inspired?

Artists, organizers, activists, workers, revolutionaries …people who take risks everyday because they dream of something better for themselves and their communities.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

When I tell difficult stories in my comics and the people who read it tell me that they are moved, and that they are inspired to take actions in their own lives, big and small.

How do you define love?

I can’t!

What is the space like that you create in?

I can create anywhere. Since for comics, all one need is pencil and paper (which is why I love the medium.) I live in the most expensive, gentrified places in the US, so I can’t be picky about my space.

What do you like to listen to while you create?

Audio-books (love memoirs and fiction) and jams that touch my soul.

Random: my thoughts on cultural equity and my approach to art making:

Make it happen. Why wait for the culture gatekeepers to open the doors for you?  Make some wheatpaste and remix ads like Street Cred. Grab a pen, make a comic, and post it on social media. Form an art collective with your friends. Museums and institutions have never included people like me or my community. Why not do something that will truly shift power?

For me, cultural equity is about the right for everyone to be creative, to be fully human, and to reach our full potential. Why shouldn’t the janitors who clean museums have the right to be considered great artists? Why even make the distinction between artists and non-artists? Don’t we tell our kids that everyone is an artist? Even if more people of color can make a living as artists, we still need to make sure the janitors and the marginalized will not get left behind.

Thank you Kayan for your challenging us to shift power and unleash the artivist (artist/activist) within.