Kev Liang, Artist – Edmonton

Kev Liang is a multidisciplinary artist based in Edmonton, Treaty 6 territory. He graduated with his BFA in Intermedia and Printmaking from the University of Alberta and has shown work at SNAP Gallery, Latitude 53, the University of Alberta, and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto for the 2021 BMO 1st Art! award. He tackles his queer, 2nd-gen Chinese Canadian identity and existential anxieties related to lineage and prosperity. He is making new work through SNAP Gallery’s Emerging Artist in Residence Program with a solo exhibition opening in October 2022. He is a Production Assistant for The Works International Visual Arts Society, a Gallery Associate for dc3 Art Projects, and a mentee with Latitude 53’s Art From Here II project with work featured in their current Cross Cut group exhibition.

  1. A dérive, bathing in the Anthropocene

As a kid, I used to go to Calgary roughly once every month or two for my parents’ supplies and errands trip for their small-town restaurant. I remember always being gobsmacked by skyscrapers and the new towers being developed. These tall, modular, glistening monuments would make me feel overwhelmed with how much happens in our contemporary world outside of the secluded rural environment. To this day, I enjoy being in these spaces to feel inspired, but also, in a sense, hopeless.

  1. Lady Gaga

Today she is gaining more respect from a variety of audiences, but I still don’t think people understand how significant this woman is. I swear, every time I tell someone about how I am a fan, they laugh as if it’s something to laugh about. She saved queer/gay lives during a time when certain kids were perhaps unsure of themselves and needed to see in the media that they can simply be… different. Seeing her in Toronto recently with both children and the elderly in the audience made me incredibly happy.

  1. Tattoos

I remember when I got my first tattoo at eighteen and my mom straight up didn’t talk to me or look at me for a whole week. I’ve noticed that tattoos, especially in Edmonton, have become part of queer culture and a slow act of resistance. I’ve been building on my tattoos, but the things I love to get are incredibly specific content and aesthetic wise; I think that is the way many queer people use it to express themselves and resist.

  1. Beer

Maybe it’s the Berta-boy blood in me (yes, I identify as a Berta-boy even though I don’t own a pick-up truck). I admire how Edmonton (or any urban area, really) has transformed my taste in beer. I used to say that they all taste the same. I also initially avoided drinking it because beer has a weird reputation for masculinity or “bro-culture” – especially when thinking about throwbacks to high school “shop parties” in the middle of a farm where I already felt out of place and had to sip (or chug) fruity hard liquors. However, I embrace it now and have grown to genuinely like the taste and experience.

  1. The TTC

Coming originally from a small town and then living in a smaller city like Edmonton, I was impressed by the smooth urban planning and ease of not driving when I first rode Toronto’s TTC. I also learned from locals about the complicated history of the TTC’s infrastructure and its major flaws (constant closures on weekends, two-hour commute times for people in the GTA, etc.). My interest may seem silly to big city folks since this is part of their everyday lives, but it is fascinating for me as someone who grew up in rural seclusion. Each station is unique and the breeze of the incoming train during my hot and humid summer visit was bliss.