FIVE QUESTIONS WITH ALBERT YOWSHIEN KUO
ARTIST OF “HAPPINESS” HEADBOARD IN THE YELLOW ROOMS
Albert Yowshien Kuo was the first in his family to be born in the United States. At a young age he showed a strong interest in the musical and visual arts, and was educated in both St. Louis and Taiwan. In 2014, he completed his MFA and has since been working as an exhibiting artist and professor of the arts in various institutions including Washington University, Fontbonne University and St. Louis Community College Meramec. Albert currently lives and works in St. Louis, and has studio space within Intersect Arts Center. His piece “Happiness” is featured in the yellow rooms at Angad Arts Hotel.
1. What is it like making and teaching art in St. Louis?
Teaching art in St. Louis has really exposed the rawness of its community and the need for empathy in any situation. Communicating complex strategies and ideas while offering support and encouragement that include youths to retired adults in a wide spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds has taught me how to listen and empathize. The arts community in St. Louis is very supportive of one another and has little competitive attitudes that circulate. Having the support of colleagues and peers within the non-visual and visual artistic community creates a tremendous sense of belonging.
2. Where are your places to see art in the city?
Some of my favorite places in the city to see art include The Pulitzer, St. Louis Art Museum and in the Grand Center Arts District. There are many others I would like to mention, but generally I have always had the most enjoyment from recent shows I’ve experienced at those three locations. This might be because I’m partial to the architectural and social structure of those spaces as well.
3. In what ways can Angad Arts Hotel impact the arts in St. Louis?
The inclusion of local artists and institutions to be directly involved in the creation of Angad Arts Hotel helps to employ local artists and allows AAH to take on the role of becoming a pedestal for the arts in St. Louis for the rest of the nation to recognize. Hiring artists of all age groups and skills will serve as a strong reflection of St. Louis’ humanitarian and cultural embrace.
4. What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness is being able to connect with yourself and those around you. Having the feeling that your own emotions and interests are justified with the support of those close to you in your life. I believe happiness should not be defined in opposition to unhappiness, rather that they exist as a package. Working hard for the things and people you have a deep care for can be difficult at times, and at other time bring happiness.
5. How do you hope your piece imparts happiness to guests who stay in the yellow rooms?
Happiness should always come from within. Being in touch with yourself by having a sense of comfort and confidence in your own identity spreads to those around you, and therefore your family, friends and community. I hope yellow can become a reflection of the best versions of yourself and give you a boost of confidence in your own wellbeing.