Announcing the 2016 Fashion for a Passion Artist Lineup


Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce its 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion Exhibiting Artists. The roster of talented Asian American artists who practice a variety of media, includes a mix of emerging, established and 2016 Against The Grain Artistic Scholarship finalists. Fashion for a Passion, which serves the organization’s mission to support and provide a platform for emerging Asian American artists, will take place Saturday, Oct. 29, at new venue 6500 near Love Field Airport.

“We are very excited to have such a talented group of artists from various backgrounds, ages and experiences showing at our event for the first time,” said ATG President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “It is a wonderful opportunity to support their artistry while also sharing it with the Dallas community.”

Guests of Fashion for a Passion will have the opportunity to bid on each artist’s work through a silent auction. Proceeds from the silent auction and tickets to the event will benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, artistic and leadership scholarship fund and community outreach programs.

This year’s emcees include Fashion for a Passion veteran Benjamin Smithee, CEO of The Smithee Group, and former Ms. Asia Houston Dr. Diana Tran-Yu. Both hosts are also past panelists for Against The Grain’s leadership-focused event Groundbreakers Speak.

Introducing our 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion Exhibiting Artists:

Xian Boles*

Eighteen-year-old Xian Boles is a Boston University student who plans to major in Painting. Quiet and shy, Xian expresses herself best in her art. She often paints about social injustice, including paintings concerning global inequality, gender, and cultural appropriation (of Japanese culture) and stereotypes. One of her recent paintings “Whitewashed” provoked students at her school to engage in a heated discussion about its content and other students to ask her about its meaning and her intentions. While she felt awkward about the attention it drew to her personally, she feels that raising the issue and instigating discussion is a positive impact.

Her parents decided to bus she and her sister to a magnet school in Saginaw, Michigan, so that they could experience more diversity than in Midland, Michigan, and that experience opened her eyes to ethnic diversity. Her first experience “going Against The Grain” in terms of social issues was submitting to “I Can Make History, Black History Month,” in which she illustrated an African American girl in tears with scowling faces behind her. She also submitted successfully in subsequent years with awards.

A later series revolved around mental illness, inspired by a friend who attempted suicide twice and whose difficulties deeply affected her and their relationship. Painting became a personal outlet for her to express the topic, specifically by reference to his intense experiences and her own difficulties understanding and coping.

In sum, her paintings and illustrations have been a way for Xian to “speak out” about social and political issues and mental illness, that hopefully lead to greater discussion and awareness. In the process, she feels that she has been able to better express herself and “go Against The Grain” through her art.

Michelle Dominado*

Michelle Dominado is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work is filled with nostalgia and fantasy, combining both European and Asian influences, to create various interpretations of fairytales, myths, and legends. There is no limitation to the media that she uses to express her stories, whether it is pencil, paint, sculpture, or computer animation. Born in Japan where her father, a U.S. Navy corpsman, was stationed, she is fascinated by East Asian culture. She especially enjoys the delicate designs and exquisite colors used in pottery and sculpture, particularly the red-brown and yellow-green colors.

Her art has flourished from the encouragement and direction of the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia, where her skills have tremendously improved. Under the guidance of the program, she was able to exhibit at various student art shows and galleries. From these shows, she allows open interpretation of her work and receives constructive feedback that has helped shaped her current portfolio.

Sarah Hickey

Sarah is a twenty-something Speech Language Pathology Assistant from Dallas, Texas, who is living out her lifelong dream of being an artist. She has always had a passion to create, make people smile, and leave a lasting impression. During this season, God has blessed her with the flexibility of working in a pediatric home health setting while doing the very thing she loves – to paint.

Her art is slowly evolving as she continues to explore acrylics. Each abstract piece stems from Scripture, which is the foundation of each painting. Her desire is to illuminate His already impressionable word with color and movement. She also wants to paint with a purpose. For every painting she sells, a portion goes toward feeding the poor in the Philippines through the non-profit organization Compassion for Asia.

Jin-Ya Huang

Upon arrival to the United States after being raised in Taipei, Taiwan, until the age of 13, Jin-Ya Huang was inspired to remember her experiences as a whole and relate it to her new life.

As she struggled with her East-West identity, dealing with social issues of being an immigrant in America and as a working Mother/Artist, Jin-Ya realized this is the narrative point of view she wanted to address in her work. She found her translation through mixed media and written words, by which she is able to convey her history with meaning, while making a difference and project the mission-of-kindness footprint.

Michelle Kim*

Michelle Kim is a first-year student at NYU Steinhardt and currently resides in New York, New York. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, she moved to the U.S. at the age of five and lived in New Jersey; Illinois; and Long Island, New York. Inspired by childhood experiences, favorite movies, and everyday surroundings, Michelle enjoys painting and drawing with various mediums on canvases of all sizes. She especially loves to use acrylic paints and observe oil paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The MOMA, places she often visited as a young girl with her parents.

For a long time, Michelle wanted to become a teacher because she believes that she feels the happiest when she is surrounded by children and spending time getting to know a child’s personal story. She attended Ashcan Studio of Art since the ninth grade at Syosset High School and competed in various local and national art competitions, including the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, from which she was awarded the 2014 National Silver Medal. Her artwork has also been displayed in galleries at the CUE Art Foundation and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education. Currently, she is seeking opportunities that combine both her love for teaching and fine arts such as illustrating for children’s books, becoming an art teacher, or using art therapy to assist children in hospitals.

Susan Yu Petty

Sue Yu Petty is a self-taught artist who lives in Dallas, Texas. She started at a young age, working with various media with an inclination toward realistic sketches and watercolor paintings. In 2000, she first began painting with oils. Shortly after, she became acquainted with the brilliant master-painter JD Miller, who inspired her to use a free-flowing, heavy oil sculpting style. Her first oil series and gallery show began with brightly-colored, sculpted butterflies that flew off the canvas. The next series portrayed luscious hearts and cascading florals. Currently, she is transforming her work into a new series this fall that will take on an even more organic nature.

While painting, the creative process for her transforms into a meditative one, where often what was initially planned takes on new life. It is that deep moment of creative flow that echoes for her the reality of a creative God whom she loves.

Sue is a retired chiropractor, passionate about health, and lives in Wylie, Texas, with her beloved husband Travis Ross Petty and her two greatest masterpieces – their daughters Meela Grace and Mikayla Love.

Tram Vo

Tram Vo is a 30-year-old Vietnamese artist whose art first began in a talented/gifted art class in the fifth grade. She received her first award from Cox Communication, for which, in celebration of Black History Month, she drew Ruby Bridges entering a segregation school. She won second runner-up and received $500, which she gave to her mom.

With an affinity for painting pretty and eye-catching things, she describes her style as “pretty broad.” Lately, she has moved toward more abstract paintings, which appeals to her because of the many potential layers and manifold details.

Tram draws from the influence of her art as a hobby, relishing in how stress-free and happy it makes her and well as those who display her art. She also loves that her daughter enjoys paintings with her.

She is honored to be chosen to present at Fashion for a Passion because she will be able to do good with her art.

*2016 ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist

About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit or

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