When you’re Asian-American, art is something you are expected to outgrow.

Art is a part of the Asian-American identity. We practiced musical instruments for at least an hour each day. We spent our Saturday mornings at the studio for weekly dance lessons. We were forced by our parents to show what we’ve learned and perform for the family at parties.

However, despite all the time we put into our crafts, careers in the art are seen as unstable and invalid.I have wanted to tell this story for a long time, but I didn’t know how. That is, until I enrolled in Dr. Victor Bascara’s Asian American Studies 101 class at UCLA and had the opportunity to do my final project on whatever I wanted, and so, Against the Grain was born.

I created this blog because I know the power of example. The reason I feel like I don’t have to leave behind my creative passions when I graduate is because I have met people who are doing that right now. People who look like me.

My Asian-American upbringing told me to live a life of “or.” I can be a professor, or I can keep dancing. I can be a writer, or I can make money. I can be successful, or I can be happy.

The people featured on Against the Grain dare to live a life of “and.” They are college graduates and creative people. They support themselves and cultivate their art. They are successful and happy.

This blog exists to provide concrete examples of how success and art can coexist for Asian-Americans. We are not limited by our heritage. We are not bound to our parents’ ideals. We are creative people of color who dare to rewrite the Asian-American narrative.

We grow and move Against the Grain.