Kwok-pong "Bobby" Tso

Artist Statement

“In-between” The power of time can affect a person regardless of where they are from and what culture they are born with. My current work draws ideas from the displacement of being born into Chinese tradition while growing up surrounded by the western culture of British controlled Hong Kong and spending half of my adult life as an immigrant in United States. While embracing the dichotomy of culture, the forever evolving sense of uncertainty often calls for the constant negotiation of who I am and where I belong, continually learning the power of self-permission to allow my identity to exist. This work creates a platform and visual language that gives me freedom to talk about my understanding of coexisting and the ability to re-contextualize my experience of being appreciated by some and being invisible to some, allowing me to cross the boundaries to talk about the intersection of cultures with a more direct meaning. I question the grey area about what gives one the right to claim what is theirs and what is not while confronting my inner struggle of feeling like an outsider of the country I was born and raised in, and still investigating the sense of belonging as a foreigner of the country I spend half of my life living in. Regardless of place, the nature and land that are shared with us often look and feel the same. It helps us discover what we can grow into and build upon, and the space it creates allows for our basic understanding of emotions and interactions with others to grow. This becomes something that is fascinating and inspiring to me. While using timelessness of old Chinese motifs and colors to lay the foundation for the western abstraction of bold and colorful designs, the symbolism within rests in between seriousness and whimsicality that mirrors the eastern philosophy and western freedom of thought. This work helps me mark and record the collision of the east and west, allows me to question the within and without in the nomadic life of culture, and facilitates searches for something that adapts well from one side to another.


Kwok-Pong was born and raised in Hong Kong and decided to come to the USA to continue his education while beginning to explore the cultures differences. He holds his BFA from Northwest Missouri State University and M.A and MFA from the University of Iowa. His work has been exhibited and published both internationally and nationally, he was named as Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist in 2014, and NCECA Emerging Artist in 2016, summer resident at the Archie Bray Foundation. In addition to his studio practice, he is currently an Associate Professor at Washburn University Topeka, KS.

Kwok Pong’s current works investigate the status as an immigrant in United State, through travel, documentation and recreation of objects from the path of Asian immigrants, he hopes to address the contemporary concern of ownership in cultural influence and enlighten the curiosity that is deep within, both for his viewer and himself and allow them to experience what migrants had to endure, while answering their own sense of belonging.