The zines in this collection were created by Naomi Kuo. The gardening themed zines feature original art by Kuo, and quotes from family interviews she condcuted with her family in Houston. The Flushing (NY) Art Tours zines reflect Kuo's neighborhood in New York.
Biographical / Historical
Born in Houston, Texas in 1991, Naomi Kuo grew up in a loving Taiwanese household with her parents and older brother. She explored art and creativity from a young age, armed with her 50-color RoseArt pencil set, and later double majored in English honors and Studio Art at the University of Texas at Austin.
During college, she also participated in a study abroad art program in Italy, which was a pivotal step toward her choosing a career in art. After graduating, Kuo ventured out of Texas and moved to Queens, New York as an artist of residence at Transform Arts, a faith-based art organization. She recalls how the shift from a suburban to urban landscape exposed her to a new rhythm of life, as well as a tangible history of activism and art within different communities. In New York, along with photographer Fina Yeung, Kuo created a project called “Building Stories,” which documented the landscape in New York and Hong Kong through drawing and photography. Later, she worked as a teaching artist and muralist with Thrive Collective, a role that broadened her view of NYC as she interacted with predominantly Black and brown communities.
Coming out of her master’s in fine arts/social practice at the City University of New York, Kuo was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, during which she began her Eco Crafts for Friends practice. This project reflected her practice of staying environmentally conscious by using recycled materials, and also served as a way to connect with loved ones during social isolation by making gifts for them. After eight years in New York, she moved back to her parents in Missouri City, bringing with her a passion for community-centered art. Thus, with the help of a grant from the Idea Fund Houston, Kuo began her Garden Connection project, where she maps the intricate networks of support surrounding herself and her family by interviewing people that have given them gardening advice. In conjunction with her diverse artistic interests, Kuo also explores a wide range of mediums, from quilts to paintings to zines. Outside of art, her love for nature also led her to volunteer with the Texas Master Naturalist (TMN) program, where she helps to maintain and preserve local ecology for the parks department.