Sylvia La knows there is wonder in seemingly ordinary events. She took her first breath in a place that at the time had just changed its name, from Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City, and was still grappling with its new political and nationalistic identity. Placed in Vietnam as a member of the Chinese ethnic minority in the wake of recent independence, forced to flee, wander, petition and move again four more times before the age of six, La has a specific perspective on place, shifting identities, diaspora and uncertainty.
La’s work is driven first and foremost by the immediacy & expressive capacities of painting, drawing and collage. Her materials inform her work as well as receive direction from stories & ideas about migration, cultural identity & spiritual search. La is also influenced by literature & cultural studies. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
Largely self-taught as an artist, but with the benefit of teachings by fantastic bay area painters and illustrators (see CV), she works in a wide range of materials, including oils, watercolor, acrylics, inks, charcoal and dry pastel, collage, and found objects.
Professionally, La has exhibited her artwork in the Bay Area and around California since 2003.
La currently lives & works in Oakland, California, where, in addition to art-making, she practices meditation, coordinates the volunteer program at East Bay Meditation Center, trains capoeira, and teaches workshops on creative process.