The walls in Yeo Kaa’s bright Manila studio are covered by canvases in various stages of progress for her upcoming solo show in Paris. Everything here is neon and pastel, drenched in blazing pinks and purples, electric blues, and fluorescent yellows—and that includes Kaa herself, with purple hair, lipstick, and an outfit to match. But despite the color and cuteness, the content here is very dark. Her acrylic paintings are full of disemboweled characters and suicidal figures. Flowers bore her.
Yeo Kaa 在马尼拉有一间敞亮的工作室，墙壁上布满不同进度的画布，那是她即将在巴黎举办的个展作品。放眼望去全是霓虹色调蜡笔画风的作品：亮粉亮紫、电光蓝和荧光黄，就连 Kaa 本人也不例外：紫色的头发、口红和相得益彰的装束。虽然作品的色彩鲜艳可爱，但画中的内容却十分暗黑：这些丙烯画描画的大多是开膛剖肚和充满自杀倾向的人物。对 Kaa 来说，幸福快乐的主题太无趣。
One of Kaa’s current pieces, standing nearly as tall as her and twice as long, shows the body of a girl laid out on a table being dissected, with a sign listing prices for selfies with the corpse. In a world where sex and violence sell, the depiction of a disemboweled corpse as a carnival attraction forces a discussion of the exploitation of women’s bodies into the center of the room. Kaa is not shy about challenging anyone; another canvas encourages viewers to “suck her non-existent dick.” The work is transgressive and defiant but also entertaining. This Filipina artist is uncompromising, and the glowing colors and kawaii faces add a cute, almost kid-friendly veneer to what is clearly adult content.
Yeo 一幅新近的作品几乎和她等高，且两倍于体宽。画面中，一个女孩正躺在桌子上被解剖，上面放了一张和尸体自拍的价格表。在一个性和暴力被标价出售的世界里，一具被解剖的身体就一项娱乐项目一样夺人眼球，迫使人们去讨论剥削女性身体的话题。Kaa 并不害怕迎战他人。在另一幅画中，她邀请观众“亲她不存在的老二”。这是一幅越界的作品，充满挑衅，同时也充满着娱乐性。作为一位毫不妥协的菲律宾艺术家，她以闪亮的色彩和可爱的面孔，为这些成人内容披上儿童的可爱外衣。
Kaa’s paintings upend traditional gender expectations by showing that just because someone is feminine and cute doesn’t mean they can’t be dark and angry. It follows in the footsteps of Japanese artists like Hikari Shimoda and Shintaro Kago. But she’s not intentionally illustrating any kind of feminist theory, she’s just being herself; she’s venting and happens to like kawaii stuff. Her work is more visceral than methodical.
Kaa 的画作颠覆了人们的传统性别期望，看上去充满柔美和可爱的女孩，并不意味其内心不会阴暗和愤怒。她的作品令人联想到日本艺术家下田光（Hikari Shimoda）和驾笼真太郎（Shintaro Kago）的作品。但她并没有特意去申张任何女权主义，她只是在表达自己的想法；她在宣泄，只是她恰好喜欢可爱的东西。她的创作更多是遵循内心，而不是特定的创作方式。
In fact, Kaa never even intended to be an artist. She moved from the island of Palawan to Manila and enrolled in a fine arts program. After winning numerous art competitions it became clear that art was the right path for her. In the last few years, she’s landed solo shows across Asia and Europe. “My mom didn’t want me to be an artist or to dress colorfully—she’s a businesswoman and wanted that for me, too,” Kaa says. “But she’s still supportive of my art.”
事实上，Kaa 以前甚至从未打算成为艺术家。从巴拉望岛搬到马尼拉后，她参加了一个当代艺术项目。她意识到艺术这条路走对了，是在获得了许多艺术竞赛的奖项之后。在过去几年里，她分别在亚洲和欧洲都举办了个人展览。“我妈妈不希望我成为一名艺术家，也不喜欢我穿得这么色彩缤纷。她是一名女商人，也希望我和她一样。虽然如此，她还是很支持我的艺术创作。”Kaa 说道。
The darkness in Kaa’s work comes from a very real place: she suffers from mental health issues. “I used to call the suicide helpline a lot, but it’s staffed by untrained volunteers. Twice, they simply told me to talk to a pastor,” she recalls. Kaa is not religious. More recently she’s stopped calling and started filling entire notebooks with bleak sketches as a way to express her deep despair. While art offers a respite, it’s only a temporary distraction. She spends ten hours a day in the studio painting, and as soon as she stops, it’s often be a quick slide back into the depths of depression. But her friends help keep the demons at bay. They often drop by to keep her company, some of whom deal with similar issues and can lend an empathetic ear. Last year, she also got a Pomeranian puppy named Fake who she says has helped a lot.
As our interview wraps up, she has Fake do some tricks, which he’s eager to perform. “He’s such a happy, energetic little creature. It’s hard to be upset around him.”
Kaa 作品中的黑暗并非无病呻吟，她有心理健康问题。“我以前经常打电话给自杀热线，但那里好多志愿者都是没接受过培训的。有两次他们都只是叫我去和牧师谈谈。”她回忆道。但 Kaa 本来就不是宗教信徒。最近，她不再打这个热线电话了，转而开始在笔记本上画满各种风格阴暗的画，以此表达她内心的绝望。虽然艺术给了她喘息的机会，但也只是暂时的。每天，她都会在工作室画上十个小时的画，一旦停下来，她很快又会深陷抑郁情绪。但幸好还有她的朋友，他们经常会过来陪她，其中一些朋友也和她一样承受着同样的问题，所以他们可以互相开解。去年，她还养了一只名叫 Fake 的波美拉尼亚小狗，它的到来也令情况有所好转。见面快结束时，她让 Fake 表演特技，Fake 很是热衷。“他是一只快乐、活泼的小狗。有他陪伴，想不开心也很难。”