A delightfully talented artist with a passion to “make the world a better place,” Lexy Ho-Tai creates playful and interactive works in a range of media. Her long-term project Kookerville is set in an imaginary world populated by Kookers, wildly fanciful creatures made from found and recycled materials. We met up with Lexy earlier this year during her residency as a a Van Lier Fellow at the Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle.
What is your earliest art memory?
Art has always been a part of my life; I can’t remember when it wasn’t. My earliest memories are of scribbling on paper and painting in the bathroom with waterproof paint. I was three at the time.
What inspires you to create art?
I have to! It is a natural form of expression.
What are your favorite mediums?
Fabrics/textiles: soft sculpture and costumes. I also love illustration and painting.
Can you tell us something about your process of working with fabrics?
My main source of materials is the fabulous FABSCRAP. I use both my hands and a sewing machine to assemble my artwork.
Have you a formal art education?
Yes! I have a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School for Design (2016), where I was nominated for Designer of the Year.
How does your family feel about what you are doing?
My parents grew up in Hong Kong. At first they were hesitant, but now they are supportive and happy.
What do you do when you, yourself, are not creating art?
I’m often teaching others to create art. In 2015, I co-created Accessible Art, a weekly art program for disabled youth in the South Bronx, Art gives non-verbal kids the opportunity to express themselves.
What is your favorite setting to work?
I love working outside.
Any other passions?
Biking, nature, working with kids, learning new skills…
What do you see as the role of the artist in society?
Each artist has a different role. I see art as a pathway to change.
What would you like people who see your art to walk away with?
Joy and wonder! And a sense that fashion isn’t something just to be consumed.
Are you generally satisfied with your finished project?
Generally, yes! I’m a perfectionist. And working with found materials, it is easy for me to move on to the next project.
Continuing to create things, helping people and traveling.
Good luck with it all! We love what you are doing!
Interview conducted by Bonnie Astor and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 & 5 by Lois Stavsky; 2-4, courtesy of the artist