Meet Emerging Artist in Residence Joy Wong


We are pleased to welcome Joy Wong to the RMG as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. Joy’s residency will be taking place virtually from their home studio until the RMG reopens to the public and it is safe to work on-site. To learn more about Joy’s artistic practice visit their profile.



Joy shares what she is currently working on and looking forward to as artist in residence.

What are you working on right now?
Currently I am working on growing the SCOBYs (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from kombucha brewing. This pellicle is a natural product of the brewing process and is largely composed of cellulose as the colonies consume the sugars in the kombucha. I’ve been drying these skins, oiling them up so they stay supple, and working on manipulating the surfaces – whether it’s through embossing with textures or folding and pleating the dried pellicles.

What are you looking forward to over the next several weeks?
Over the next several weeks, I’m looking forward to learning more about biomateriality and biofilms as an extended metaphor for the surface of the body. I hope to create larger SCOBYs that can act as surfaces for painting and drawing manipulations, and to use them as sculptural materials as well. I’m excited to continue my research about the history of tea, motherlands, origins, and contamination. And lastly, I’m looking forward to the day that I may get to work in the Incubator Lab!

What will be different about working virtually and offsite?
Working offsite is different as I conduct all my meetings with RMG staff online. Because my work consists of material investigations, there is an apparent lack of touch when it comes to interacting with my work right now. I suppose this is fitting, given our current situation – our own bodies lacking touch from loved ones who we have to socially distance from. If I were working onsite, perhaps it wouldn’t change anyway as visitors have to wear masks/face coverings, but there is also a certain… funk to fermentation. That element of smell is also missing from online interactions too. Try as we might, I think everyone knows that viewing work online can never match up to seeing works in real life. I hope we get to be around one another someday soon.



The RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.