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DIgital portiat


Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Feb. 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Cultural Roots is a series of digital portraits that explore the ways in which culture affects our upbringing and our everyday life.


Tou Xiong creates digital portraiture through the layering of photography, exposure of images, making photomontages and collaging photos. Xiong explores art through the lens of a first generation Hmong American, exploring both the Hmong culture and the American culture. Prominent themes of his works include self-identity through cultural exploration. Xiong is a Graphic Designer who will receive his BA at Augsburg University in 2018. He currently lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Cultural Identity is a series of digital portraits that explores the ways in which culture affects our upbringing and everyday life. Culture is everywhere, whether it is the language we use in our everyday life, the way we dress, the way we think and act, our religious belief, and many more. As a Hmong American, I represented a part of the Hmong culture along with six other individuals.

Adobe Photoshop is the tool used to manipulate these portraits. They consist of blending effects, photomontages, and collages. This method is used to express the characteristics of these people, showcasing different aspects of the Hmong culture. The connection digital art have with culture is a change of generation from traditional art to digital. How I relate this generation gap to the Hmong culture is the idea Hmong Americans have both agreements and disagreements with the current customs and traditions. Growing up as a Hmong American, there are morals and values we learned from the culture of American society which conflicts with some of the Hmong customs and traditions and vice versa.

My artwork is inspired by Marumiyan, a Japanese graphic artist, and Minjae Lee, a Korean artist. These artists work with portraits and incorporates nature into their portraits. Their style really intrigues me as I would recreate it with my current artstyle. All of these ties back to culture as culture is always changing. The influence of another person’s work changes one’s own work. I have experienced several forms of art which includes drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, and digital art. My style of artwork has changed throughout the years working with art, from traditional drawing to digital art. Change is necessary for one to learn and grow from throughout their journey of finding oneself.

Throughout my experience here at Augsburg University, I have discovered more about my own self-identity. I have grown interest in learning more about my own cultural background and why it is important to learn about one’s own culture. As people look around the gallery, I want people to think about their own cultural identity when they see my work.

Images from Exhibit

Photo of exhibit Photo of exhibit 2 Entrance of exhibit Side view fo gallery View of gallery