Walk the Farm is a program of the Orange Coast Optimist Club's helping Farms Feed Families - a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

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© 2019 Kaitlyn Chu • Harvesting Hope

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Artist Statement

‍I am a multidisciplinary designer, entrepreneur and doer who is always creating and making it happen. My goal is to share positive stories through physical & digital products and experiences.

Ever since I discovered finger painting when I was little, I have surrounded myself with creative tools and art. My passion for the arts led me to attend Orange County School of the Arts for my middle and high school. This education led me to experiment with many mediums including clay and a pottery wheel, painting and drawing, designing and silk-screening my creations onto t-shirts, digital art, pounding and sanding metal into jewelry, and so much more! 

I love to combine art and technology in order to bring awareness, raise money and advocate change for social issues I support, and have found myself expressing these goals through my experiences as a graphic, video and product designer. I am currently attending University of Southern California's Iovine and Young Academy to pursue a degree in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. 

A theme I have naturally expressed throughout my work has been my experiences as an Asian American. I am proud of my Japanese and Chinese heritage and I use my art to celebrate my cultures. I also create with the purpose of bringing unheard stories to light. This is why I focus a lot of Walk the Farm, because many people would not hear of these personal stories on everyday news sources. It is important to me that I share authentic accounts for these individuals and families.

In the future, I also plan to study and share more about what I know about race, ethnicity and identity through my art. I would be interested in experimenting with augmented and virtual reality in my works to enhance user experiences at museums and historical sites. The goal of my immersive and interactive pieces would be for all of us to become active witnesses to California’s diverse history, as if we were looking through the eyes of immigrant railroad workers and internment camp survivors - to elevate cultural understanding and to advance social justice.

Going forward, I can see myself starting my own business or working for a startup company because I want to be a part of something artistic and innovative that can improve society. It would be so incredible to invent something totally new! I want to be able to use my creativity and flexible way of thinking to help others see or do things that they haven’t thought of before. Throughout all of my work, I will continue to be creative and use my platform to elevate the stories of Asian Americans.
 

Farmer Ootomo

It was incredibly heartbreaking to hear how Farmer Ootomo lost just about everything in such a short amount of time. He showed us pictures of his old house, which was very spacious and large. His house was less than a mile away from the ocean. The destructive tsunami crashed through his house and violently tossed his cars and farm equipment. Thirty eight of his neighbors tragically perished, and his neighborhood of 102 farms was left barren, reduced to rubble with little to salvage.

This collage art was inspired by meeting Farmer Ootomo and hearing his stories and experiences. I learned about how he was personally piecing his life back together, just as these various elements illustrate.

Rafu Shimpo

I realized that it was imperative for me to speak up for the farmers to raise awareness and to keep the fundraiser going. When I returned home, I wrote an essay which was forwarded to over a thousand potential individual and corporate sponsors for the next Walk the Farm. My essay was also published in the Rafu Shimpo – the nation's leading Japanese American newspaper. The newspaper editor said it was “the best piece about the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami from the U.S.”

History

Symbolizes my Chinese and Japanese sides and how the Chinese and Japanese American past shapes the future generations.

Heartbeat, Heartbreak for Japan

On March 11th, 2001, a massive and devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.

Following my visit to Japan after the tragedy, I made this interpretation based on Japanese folklore as a way to deal with my heartbreak and sorrow for Japan. [A Japanese demon, Oni, pounds on the taiko drum, producing a horrifying earthquake and tsunami.]

Harvesting Hope in Sendai Video

Walk the Farm video created by Kaitlyn and Kara Chu.

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