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Using clay, acrylics and paper, Tan creates rich images of Tenderloin architectural designs that evoke the beauty of the neighborhood along with its unique style and history.
“Beauty in its own way,” he describes, “the kind of aesthetic that many people may not at first recognize. I relate to the diversity and mix of cultures in the neighborhood, as well as the things that exist beyond the surface. It’s the diversity here that allows me to thrive. I imagine that these buildings have eyes - that they've seen many struggles, that they have seen suffering and that they have seen sadness. In my art, I connect with these emotions, but also with the strength and solidarity that have come through and that has allowed people to find beauty and the support of one another.”
Geometric lines and reflective mirroring allow the viewer to enter these buildings and invites them to see into each building’s history and uniqueness. Tan superimposes photographs of the Tenderloin neighborhood onto clay using lasers to etch a textured 3D image that invites you to feel and connect with these buildings. His work is then developed with many layers of color painted by hand that have been worked and reworked, building upon building, layer upon layer.
Hospitality House Community Arts Program, San Francisco