Johnny Tang is an emerging Taiwanese American photographer who specializes in a surreal and cinematic brand of portraiture. He received his BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NYC.
Tang describes his creative process as constantly trying to find the sweet spot between eye candy and mind candy. While the subject of his works are mostly inspired by a western education, most of his visual influences are inspired by Asian pop culture. Tang seeks to create a unique aesthetic that expresses his experiences as an Asian American.
His recent solo exhibitions include BBoy Monsters at the Reed Space in New York’s LES, and World of One at Emmanuel college in Boston. His work is currently on view as part of the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston.
Johnny often finds that the problem with self-destructive activities such as drinking too much and/or eating too much, is that they are usually a lot of fun to do. This image was created to illustrate this conundrum. While the self-destructive activity is fun at the time, one’s only hurting themselves in the end.
One of Johnny’s favorite philosophical questions to ponder is: “How can I tell if the reality I’m seeing is real?” Or as Descartes described it, “How do we know we’re awake in real life, or just living in a dream?” As an artist, this is a question that Johnny often allude to in his work, particularly in regards to the authority society gives photographs over what is perceive as “real.”
Illusions of Progress is inspired by the feeling of being not quite sure if one’s efforts are paying off. As the great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
The relationship between creation and destruction is fascinates Johnny. In order to create something, something else must be changed. Said differently, something must be destroyed in order for something else to be created. Johnny finds that the creation process, more often than not, is slow and deliberate. But destruction on the other hand, is often swift and unexpected.
This is 2 of 2 images (the other being Invictus) on the theme of “Being alone in a crowd.” One feels the most lonely when they are ignored by others; to illustrate this point, Johnny juxtapose the feeling of alienation with inclusion, and chose to do this by surrounding a lonely figure with an engaged crowd.
This is how Johnny feels when he is on the internet. Particularly, when he is on social media.