Chris Rylee

Chris was one of the first people I painted for this project. He’s also been one of the most enthusiastic, which gave me a lot of encouragement. 🙂 As a fellow artist, it’s always nice to work with others who have similar interests and passions. Read his story below.

During my youth I struggled to fit in, to know my identity, to find where I belong. Though many young people experience this, I found the isolation of being an adopted person uniquely lonely—especially a Korean American from a white family growing up in a rural town without other Asian people. I faced harm from peers, from strangers, and from myself. Fortunately, I discovered solace in creativity and imagination during that time and built my life around it. Through creativity, I journeyed along my own path to healing, emotional growth, and belonging. In fact, I’ve built my relationships and my career around creativity and advocacy for those facing individual or systemic isolation & othering. These days, I openly wear my identity as a Korean American Adoptee & Diaspora, and I’m proud that I don’t fit in. For me, normalcy is isolating and weirdness is where I belong.

Photo by Ben Ilili

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