Emerging Artist: Jessica So Ren Tang

For awhile I have been obsessed with Jessica So Ren Tang’s work and was itching to feature her art on the blog!

Jessica earned a Bachelor of Art in Studio Art from Mills College in Oakland, CA. She currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

Jessica works with embroidery as her medium. Her work is based on the Asian American identity and the idea of being too much or not enough of either Asian or American. She creates objects which negate themselves through their materials. While her figures feature Asian embroidery designs upon the skin which conceal the identity of the woman to reach a broader spectrum of all Asian women.

The color choice of thread is constantly high chroma and exciting. The embroidery itself is eye catching, but the color enhances their effect on the viewer.

The objects feature Asian noodle cups, classic Asian china (plates, cups etc.), and other objects embroidered after the literal object. This is where Jessica refers to Asian American objects of which appear to be the literal, but are a rejection of what they are by being constructed of a totally different material.

Looking at Jessica’s figures, we are not just seeing an anonymous woman with a classic Asian embroidery, but posed in intimate moments. Each woman is in a state of undress or undressing. It is as if she is stripping away her individual identity to show a lack of identity or a broad spectrum of identities all Asian women share. When we explore race, people will always think of attributes races will all share; for example with Asian women, people will automatically presume them to have long black hair, almond eyes, an olive cast to their skin tone, and are thin. Where this is true for some, but not all, this is where clumping race into one identity fails and strips people from their own individuality and humanity. At the same time if we think of this as uniting a broad spectrum of Asian women through they shared heritage, it can also be seen in a positive light.

What is so fascinating about Jessica’s work other than her phenomenally beautiful embroidery technique is her layered narratives. One can look at her work and see all the various subjects she touches upon and ways of viewing people and identity. Her work starts a broader conversation about race, how we perceive people, and how people perceive themselves.


To view more of Jessica’s work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram!



Emerging Artist

Emerging Artist: Michelle Ramin

Michelle Ramin is an artist based out of San Francisco, CA. She has a B.A. in Fine Art from Pennsylvania State University and her M.F.A. in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. I first saw her work featured on San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Submission Friday feature. I was instantly attracted to her style of drawing of the figure and her use of color and lines within the work. The drawing is called, Quiet Riot, it features a man sleeping on a floral couch wearing a white shirt that reads, “Riot”.

Ramin’s latest work features people who could be associated with the “riot culture” or represent the masking of our own personalities within the digital culture and masking our private lives. She has figures dawning the famous black ski masks that are known for criminals and activists who want to remain anonymous to the world. The meaning is very open because there are multiples ways and reasons for people masking their true selves. For me in a current pop-culture sense it symbolizes a relation to the Russian women activist group Pussy Riot, who are known for wearing brightly colored ski masks to protect their identities while they are partaking in protests and advertising their cause. But also bringing it back to criminals and everyday people I can associate the casualness of the figures in how they are dressed and posed to how we have become comfortable in masking our identities.

Her older work features more architecture and figures with a focus on color, geometrics, and textile rather than a direct political message in the content. All of this work speaks true to Ramin’s fantastic ability to use color and textile within her work to grab the viewers attention. I cannot wait to see her next paintings and drawings.

To see more of Michelle Ramin’s work visit these links,






Art History Lesson

Art History Lesson: Zoë Mozert and the Pin Up Art Scene

Pinup Artist Zoe Mozert Painting Fashion ModelZoë Mozert, the famed Pin Up aritst was born Alice Adelaide Moser, April 27, 1907 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mozert attended the Philadelphia School of Industrial Design in 1925. She was famous for being a prominent painter/illustrator in the Pin Up art scene. Her works have appeared on many magazines and movie posters. She used live female models posed either nude or 5ntdL3Sr1njJJU2w5bEcLqxAxDoin character, they are depicted from sweet girl next door cheesecake to sultry and seductive. Mozert’s first nude Pin Up was purchased by Brown and Bigelow in 1941 for one of their Calendars. Her work continued to be purchased and commissioned for calendars and magazines throughout the World War II era. Perhaps her most famous calendar was of her complete works titled, Victory Girls produced by Brown and Bigelow.

Pin Up by Pearl Frush

Not only was Mozert famous for painting Pin Up women, but she herself would model. During her time at art school, Mozert would pose for other artists to earn money and she would also pose for herself using a series of mirrors and cameras to find the right angles.

Pin Up by Joyce Ballantyne

Some examples of Mozert’s most famous works are movie posters for, True Confession with Carole Lombard, and The Outlaw with Jane Russell. As Mozert’s career strengthened she was placed in the Big Four (the four best Pin Up artists) alongside, Rolf Armstrong, Earl Moran, and Gil Elvgren. Mozert was the only woman amongst this group. Her success helped open doors for many women Pin Up artists, proving it was not a man’s subject, that women surely could create great work as well. Other fantastic women Pin Up artists include, Pearl Frush and Joyce Ballantyne, both of which had their own unique style on painting the Pin Up.

Betty Grable taken by Frank Powolny
Marilyn Monroe with pinup artist Earl Moran
Marilyn Monroe posing for Earl Moran

Today the Pin Up revival scene has a strong presence in underground art.Women dress in fashions influenced by famous Pin Ups icons, Betty Grable, Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe and so on. Bettie Page Clothing is a line selling revival dresses of the 40’s and 50’s to preserve the Pin Up legacy, along with Esther Williams Swimwear, where you can buy revival swimsuits in many colors, patterns, and styles unique to the time. Women today also mimic old hair styles, the most popular being Victory Rolls and Pin Up Bangs, which are famously worn by contemporary celebrities like, Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry.

Gwen Stefani wearing Victory Rolls in 2001
Katy Perry with PIn Up Bangs
Will Cotton’s “Crown”, 2012, oil on linen, 80 x 68 inches (Katy Perry as the model)

Artist’s continue to paint Pin Up’s as well as photograph them. Painter, Will Cotton is known for his Pin Up influenced paintings of women emerged in Candyland type fantasies. Photography businesses have even found the Pin Up photo shoot to be a profitable market consisting of a head to toe Pin Up makeover and a photo shoot. Shameless Photography in San Francisco/New York made the Pin Up shoots popular and are known for their Classic Pin Up, Boudoir, and Glamour stylings one can choose from. There are also magazine publications still dedicated to the scene, such as Pin Up America Magazine, The Pin Up Magazine, and Retro Lovely. Along with magazines, there is an online community called, Suicide Girls where Pin-Up and Alternative models can post photos and profiles of themselves, the models range from clothed to nude.

Glam Poppy Dress by Bettie Page Clothing

Zoë Mozert and her fellow Pin Up artists have left behind a hugely influential art scene spanning into an full fledged underground culture where the classic beauty of the 40’s and 50’s are preserved and loved. Louis K. Meisel Gallery  is known for their preservation of the Pin Up who ran an extensive exhibition called, Great American Pin Up which showcased art, historical information, and books. The Pin Up will live on in many forms and the pioneers of the scene will forever be celebrated. 

Below is a collection of Pin Up paintings by Zoë Mozert.