She was born in Toisan, China in 1949. She came to the United States at age five, grew up in New York City, and graduated from Pratt Institute. She moved to San Francisco in 1974.
Nancy became interested in community events and Asian American history after participating in anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in the early 1970s. As an artist, curator, and organizer, she has worked in many communities in San Francisco. Her involvement with Kearny Street Workshop, an Asian American arts organization, spans three decades. She served as its Executive Director for nine years. Widely known for her silkscreen artwork, she has created numerous images for community events, political and social causes. She is also a published writer, graphic designer and children's book illustrator. Her award-winning book, Nine-in-One Grr! Grr!, is one of five books published by Children's Book Press that contain her illustrations.
Nancy received a San Francisco Art Commission's Cultural Equity Individual Artist grant in 1995 and was awarded a Gerbode Fellowship for outstanding leaders in 1998. She received the KQED Local Hero Award in 2003. In addition to being on the Advisory Board of Kearny Street Workshop, she is currently on the Board of the Asian American Women Artists Association, the Arts Advisory Committee of Manilatown Heritage Foundation, and the Board of Heyday Institute (publishers of books on California culture). She also serves on the Community Arts Distribution Committee of the Zellerbach Family Foundation.
My experience as an immigrant, mother, administrator, community activist, and spiritual seeker continue to provide the framework for my creative endeavors, which include writing as well as visual art. My work over the last 30 years was mostly done for community events and causes. The themes - women, family, culture, protests, and celebrations - are universal. I see art as an approach toward life, a daily meditation that infuses creativity in everything I do.
For my visual work, I like to depict various emotional states and to evoke sensuality through curved shapes and fluid lines, with a minimum of detail. The vibrant colors and patterns echo the liveliness of ethnic neighborhoods. I favor the single image in my work, to have one figure, one gesture be the symbol for universal truths. I want most of all for my art to make a difference - to individuals and to society, whether it brightens someone's existence, helps promote a good cause, calls attention to a social issue, or brings hope to mankind in general.