By againstthegrainproductions

Going Against The Grain: Jack Yang

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Jack Yang is an actor, writer, producer and director. He has been seen on various televisions shows, movies and video games over the past 17 years. Jack started early-on as a model and commercial actor while doing extra work on television shows. He studied Directing and Photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and then transferred over to Theatre and Film Studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and South Coast Repertory Theater. He has guest-starred on Law and Order: SVU, CSI Miami, Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy. He has written many movie scripts, directed small budget projects and is currently working on his own personal project that has taken over a decade of research and preparation. He plays the leading man in indie film, A Leading Man, which has been doing well in festivals from Taipei to Philadelphia. He just wrapped up ADR for the new Jesse Eisenberg/Kristen Stewart film, American Ultra, which opens on August 21st.  (Look for him in a fun part at the end!)

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Going Against The Grain: 2014 Artistic & Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship Winners

The ATG Scholarship Committee is proud to announce the 2014 Scholarship Winners.  Scored  based on strength of GPA, leadership/community involvement, portfolio/video submission, essays, letters of recommendation and a final phone interview, we chose a record TEN students who are brilliant, shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain means to receive scholarships this year. We are truly proud of this exceptional group and all that we know they will accomplish for their vocation and for the Asian American community in the future. We are also grateful to Dr. & Mrs. Paul Cho and Bruce & Pat McRae for generously donating so that we could give two additional scholarships this year! Read more

Vietnam Orphanage Update – International Children’s Day 6/1/14

This email was received from Uu Dam, one of ATG’s supported orphanages in Vietnam (which now has more than 60 children) after International Children’s Day. The following is translated from the original Vietnamese email, and names have been abbreviated for their privacy.

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Dear  ATG Family:

International Children’s holidays returned again this year, warming the spirits of the orphans of Uu Dam.  This year as well as the years before, the ATG gave the Uu Dam family a large donation of money for foods and supplies and a generosity of spiritual values.  The children ​are very happy and excited to receive such a meaningful gift, especially this year’s donation that included extra encouragement for those who achieved academic honors in school from 2013 to 2014. Everyone in the Uu Dam family would like to deeply thank the ATG family.

At the request of Ms. Aileen, this afternoon PT went with the children to the  supermarket to shop for food, supplies and goodies for the International Children Day (QTTN) celebration of VND 12 million.  The remaining VND 3 million PT will purchase awards for the children who achieved the gifted/honor student certificates and also the student at University  who scored well.  Tomorrow, after the distribution of awards and the QTTN celebration, PT will send you pictures for you to see.

Attached, PT would like to send a few pictures of the youngest members of Uu Dam so Aileen and everyone in the ATG family can see.  The children are lovely, innocent and also very smart. The smiles of these innocent little angels of Uu Dam are the gift that PT would like to send to the ATG family during this fun day for the children.

Wish everyone happiness and good health!
PT

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Vietnam Orphanage Update 6/3/14

In addition to providing aid for basic needs such as food, milk, clothing, educational tools and cultural celebrations, ATG takes it one step further with our supported orphanages in Vietnam.  We provide incentives to the orphans to work hard to make a better life for themselves by awarding those who receive an academic achievement certificate from their school district an extra “prize” of new school clothesand school supplies It is our belief that this will continue to give them motivation and inspiration, while also letting them know that someone cares about their future. 

This email was sent by one of the workers at one of ATG’s supported orphanages in Vietnam. The original email is translated from Vietnamese, and names are abbreviated to protect their identity.

Uu Dam  June 1Dear  Aileen!

On behalf of ATG, PT has provided awards for children of Uu Dam who achieved good academic results during the school year 2013 – 2014.  Within this group, XT received  both certificates for good student and also completed her thesis for four years of University yesterday.  She received 9 out of 10 for her thesis.  XT was so happy, dear Aileen.  This morning, after receiving this meaningful award, she got teary-eyed and asked PT to send her sincere thanks to you, Aivy, and all of the members of ATG. She said that she had to go to school

today to set up the completion of her school, but when she comes back at night, she will write to you all.  PT and all of the orphans of Uu Dam will always treasure the love and support from the ATG family.  The continuous concern and support that ATG has given to Uu Dam during the past several years has contributed to making our home increasingly happy and boisterous with the laughter of these children.

 

In these pictures, CH  and CT are brothers.  Because they had to go back to the countryside for their mother’s memorial, I gave them your awards earlier than to the others.  For many years now, both boys have achieved good/honor student status.  Their parents died when CT was 2 years-old and CH was 3-years old.  Currently, they still have their paternal grandmother, but  she is elderly and living out in the countryside under difficult conditions.

ATG Uu Dam Orphanage CHDSC04614

Yours,

PT

Orphanage Update: A Substitute Mother

By Aileen Nguyen

I have a friend who lives in Da Nang, my hometown.  We met three years ago through an acquaintance of mine while I visited Da Nang for distributions to the orphanages there.  Hong-Phan is very tall for a Vietnamese woman.  She often gets mistaken for a movie star or a model when she walks on the streets of Da Nang because she is very tall, very pretty and well-dressed.  However, that is not the reason that I want to write about her in this article. I want to talk about her dedication to the cause that ATG has been relentlessly pursuing in support of the orphans, whether they come from the streets, live in orphanages, live by themselves, or live with relatives in remote locations.  Like ATG, Hong-Phan wants to give these children the hope that there are people who care for them, who would come often to comfort and look after them.  Then, these children will be encouraged to try harder to study, so that they can escape the vicious cycle that has life has bestowed upon them.

Even with having a family of her own and also a job that requires a lot of her time and effort, Hong Phan has been instrumental to ATG’s aid activities in Vietnam during the last three years.  With her presence on the ground, ATG has been able to extend its support from the orphanages in the cities to those in remote locations.  We also were able to extend our support to orphans who lost both parents or one parent, but still live with extended families and have exemplary school achievement and good behaviors.

Hong-Phan normally comes to visit the orphanages with a SUV loaded with food and supplies purchased with the funds from ATG.  However, since Phan doesn’t own a car, she normally has to borrow the vehicle from friends or relatives so that ATG doesn’t have to incur transportation costs.

1The children from the orphanages have been seeing Hong-Phan often enough that they always break out in a loud cheers when they see her.  They call out “Co Phan den, Co Phan den!” (Auntie Phan is here. Auntie Phan is here!) and rush to the car to help unload the goodies.2

Here you see the children from the House 3 and 4 of  SPC Danang (this center takes street children and raise and trains them until they turn 18) unloading the food and supplies during Hong Phan ‘s visit this past week.

3Hong-Phan doesn’t come to visit the children with just food and supplies.  She often thinks of the children’s needs and talks to me about their mental and psychological needs.  She often talks to these children to comfort them and encourages them to do well in school, to care for each other and to continue to keep up their good behavior.  When she visits the orphanages, she goes directly into their kitchen to observe what they eat and would buy things that they didn’t often have, like meat or milk and fill up their refrigerator with those items.

She has also organized to feed the children their favorite hot meals, such as Mi Quang (a specialty noodle dish in the Danag area) and make sure that everyone has received a satisfying portion of these delicious meals.  On her recent visit this month, each of the children had at least two bowls of Mi Quang, to the point that they forgot to leave a bowl for their Guardian Director (they normally remember to do that as a courtesy).

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Beside Uu Dam, SPC Danang,  Thanh Tam Center for Disable Children, Redcross Danag, Hoa Khanh Center, Quan Chau orphanage. Hong-Phan also helps us to work with the local school districts and local PTAs in the areas with extreme poverty to identify orphans/children in need and provide them with support from ATG.  Together, we have donated 100 bicycles to those children in Da Nang who are without one or both living parents and in extreme poverty, but have achieved good grades and has demonstrated good behavior.  We also provided scholarships to the orphan students of NTH Highschool.  We are in the process of distributing 20 more bicycles and 100 of warm jackets to the orphans/children in the Huong Thuy District (in the outskirt of the city of Hue.)  Hong Phan works with the local RedCross, local PTA and School Board of the districts to select qualified children to receive the aids.   I, as a member of ATG, also review the list to ensure fairness and appropriation of the selection process.  Together, we want to bring the children the care, love, hope and support that normally would come from their own mothers, now made possible by  ATG via Hong –Phan.  She really cares for these children.

For that, I often called Hong Phan a substitute mother….

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December 2013

 

Going Against The Grain: LeUyen Pham

leuyen

LeUyen Pham is an award-winning author/illustrator of nearly sixty children’s books.  Her books include “God’s Dream,” written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the New York Times Bestselling series “Freckleface Strawberry,” written by Julianne Moore, “Grace for President” by Kelly DiPucchio, the Alvin Ho Series by Lenore Look and “The Boy Who Loved Math” by Deborah Heiligman, to name a few.  She also co-illustrated (with her husband Alex Puvilland) the New York Times Bestseller “Templar,” a 450-page graphic novel written by “Prince of Persia” creator Jordan Mechner.  Her books have garnered numerous awards, including the Society of Illustrators Bronze Medal, the Junior Library Guild recipient, Parent’s Magazine, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio award, among others.  Prior to illustrating books, LeUyen began her career at Dreamworks Feature Animation as a layout artist.  LeUyen lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two adorable young boys, Leo and Adrien.

Full Name:

LeUyen Pham

Hometown:

born Vũng Tàu, Vietnam

Current City:

San Francisco

Ethnicity:

Vietnamese/French

 What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”

I have the perfect drawing that answers that question better than I could with words.

 

brave fish

What made you decide to pursue a career in the book industry?

I don’t know that I decided to pursue it as much as it pursued me. I’ve loved children’s books and illustrating all my life, but I have to admit as a kid I’d never been encouraged by my parents to be an artist. They were more inclined towards a more traditional field for me. In my family, I have an older sister, two older brothers and a younger brother. We were expected to become (in that order): a doctor, a businessman, a dentist, a lawyer and an engineer. I was told that to become artist would mean confining myself to a life of poverty. Of course, this is understandable that my parents, having come from a war torn country, would want their children to pursue the safest of careers. (Also, let’s admit it, with an arsenal of children like that; my parents would never have to pay for professional services ever again! All I’d have to do would be to marry a mechanic, and they’d be covered for life!) Most of my siblings did pursue those jobs, but somehow, when it came to me, I just didn’t go that way. I went as far as attending UCLA for two years as a political science major, before jumping ship and entering art school. Even there, I was told that one could never make a living as a children’s book illustrator, that it was a side job at best. Somehow, for whatever reason, I didn’t listen. I think I’ve got some sort of internal compass in me that always points me in the way my heart needs me to go. Cornball, I know, to say that, but it’s absolutely true. So here I am, having not listened to anybody, and doing exactly what I thought i could never do. Wait a second, holy cow! I think I just accidentally answered the “going against the grain” question.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?

Seriously? The BIGGEST challenge is that NOBODY CAN PRONOUNCE MY NAME. I’m not even joking about that! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard my name slaughtered before a presentation. Even some of my closest friends, even editors I’ve known for years, hesitate slightly before introducing me. I think it’s funny, though. And I usually start out any talk to elementary schools or at signings with a proper pronunciation of my name. I even renamed my website to “howdoyoupronounceuyen.com.” I figure, the day any kid can walk into a book store or library and ask for a book by me, and be able to pronounce my name correctly, is the day that I can count myself a success in this field.

Also, publishers who don’t know me who call me are always surprised to hear my voice on the phone. I think they think I’m a man. Which I like to take as close to a compliment, suggesting that my art doesn’t seem more feminine than masculine. But still, if I see another letter addressed to “Mr. LeUyen Pham”, I don’t know what I’ll do…

Other than that, though, I’d have to say that as an Asian American, the publishing field is an extremely welcoming field. I think stories that are not main stream, with culturally diverse characters, are really sought after. So I can’t say I’ve have any complaints!

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

I don’t think I’ve had any really big accomplishments. I think I’ve had a large number of little accomplishments that have led me to where I am. I can’t say with any certainty that any single event changed my life so much that it propelled me to where i am now. I just kept doing what I was doing, kept moving slowly towards my goals, and lo and behold, I look up and find myself having published over 50 books, happily living the life of an artist and feeling very fulfilled.

Wait a second! Holy cow, I forgot my kids. Do my kids count? They’re pretty big accomplishments! Well, actually, they’re still pretty young, maybe I should wait until they’ve moved out of the house before I can say that.

What’s up next?

Oh, brother. What’s NOT up next? I’m one extremely busy illustrator. This year alone I’ve illustrated already 6 books, and I’m not even done yet. Let’s see… I’ve just finished illustrating a book called “Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover,” written by Anne Marie Pace. The book is about a Vampire girl who has a sleepover, but is embarrassed to show her friends her home, as she’s, well, a vampire, and her house is appropriately ghoulish. But the little Vampire girl is really me, a little Vietnamese girl, who was also embarrassed to bring over her best friend. When I was ten, my friend came over to my house and wondered at all the “Vietnamese” stuff around — the shrine to my grandparents, the fact we had to take off our shoes — she even saw chicken feet frying in my mom’s pan! I remember being so embarrassed, but now I look back and wish I’d embraced my culture more. So “Vampirina Ballerina” is a way for me to revisit that part of my life, and in the book, this little vampire girl starts out feeling embarrassed, but with the support of her family, and in realizing herself that it’s pretty cool to be different, she gets her friends to embrace her life too. Other projects? Let’s see, I have a couple board books coming out called “Pat-a-Cake” and “All Fall Down” with Candlewick Books, a huge picture book on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” where all the different characters (maids a milkin’, lords a leapin’, etc) are represented by different ethnicities around the world (and yes, I have a Vietnamese maid a milkin’, in an ao dai, a Thai drummer, a Japanese lady dancing and all manner of all other races — see the accompanying illustration) coming out next year, a book called “The Princess in Black” written by Shannon Hale, about a very pink girly princess by day, monster-fighting super hero girl by night, and then another young reader book written by Lenore Look called “Alvin Ho”, about a young chinese boy living in Massachusetts who is absolutely afraid of everything, but in a very funny way… I also did a New York TImes Bestselling 450 graphic novel with my husband Alex Puvilland (illustrator extraordinaire and the one critic I trust the most) called “Templar,” written by Jordon Mechner. And then on top of all that, I’ve got a bunch of my own stories coming out. “No Such Thing As Little” (the illustration previously shown is one for this book), “Friends” (a story based on my youngest son), another as yet untitled project… the list kind of goes on, I’m exhausted just thinking of it! Here are some sample pieces of some of my projects.

Alvin Ho
“Alvin Ho”
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“The Twelve Days of Christmas”
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“Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover”
From "Sketchtravel", soon to be "Friends"
From “Sketchtravel”, soon to be “Friends”
"Templar"
“Templar”

Quote to live by:

I have MANY quotes, hard to choose one.  So I’ll offer up two:

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” — Mark Twain

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” — Milton Berle

Funny that my biggest heroes are funny old white guys (that’s not a quote, that’s just me commenting on my quote choices).

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac):

Year of the Ox (go Ox Girl!) and Leo (roar lion!)

Passionate about:

Everything.  Seriously.  I have boundless energy for all things that I’m even a little interested in.  When I grow old, I won’t die, I’ll just burn out at last.

Favorite food:

My mom makes the most awesome cơm gà (chicken rice) in the world.  Like, I dream about it sometimes.  She never makes it for me any more, just for my kids.  Oh, and then sushi.

Can’t live without:

My husband and kids of course!  Then my ten minutes of alone time in the morning with my coffee and the internet.  And, well, so sad to admit this, but : my iPad, NPR, Netflix, Kindle.  Before you judge, remember that I draw and paint in a studio pretty much by myself most of the time and require some sort of intelligent life form emanating from some source, be it virtual or otherwise.

Going Against The Grain: Jody Pham

JodyPham_portrait_ATG

Jody Pham is an artist and illustrator based in Dallas. Her love and appreciation for the visual arts began at a very young age, and only grew with time. Her work is distinctively monochromatic, and filled with intricate details that invite the viewer to take a closer look.

She has worked on a wide array of creative projects, from providing illustrations for Stripmall Architecture’s last album, creating bag designs for a collaboration with Cykochik custom handbags, to illustrating the winning canvas-wrapped cooler for Red Bull’s Canvas Cooler competition this Summer. She has showcased her work at the Fort Worth Community Art Center, as well as created live at art shows throughout the Metroplex, including Art Love Magic’s Underground and GirlShow; Local Flavor, Kettle Art’s Holiday Presence, and Art-Hunger’s One Year Anniversary Show. She has also donated original works for various fundraisers and charity events, including Artists Healing Japan in Dallas, and Anatomy for Life in the UK. She’s thrilled to exhibit her work at SCOPE Miami during Art Basel for the first time this December.

In addition to her artistic goals, she aspires for a career in social services, with a focus on the needs of children and families. She recently earned her BA in Sociology from UNT, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Social Work at UTA. She hopes to continue integrating her passions for human services and the arts in her community as she works to further cultivate both.

Full Name:

Jody Lynh Pham

Hometown:

Grand Prairie, Texas

Current City:

Dallas, Texas

Ethnicity:

½ Vietnamese and European (German, Scottish, and Irish)

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”:

Accomplishing great things through unconventional methods. Defying conformity and shunning mediocrity. Taking chances. Being resilient, open-minded, and receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the arts industry?

Art is such a powerful tool, for both the creator and observer. It creates a wide array of emotions that captivate and move people. I truly think that art has the power to change lives. It’s been a constant in my life that has always made me feel a deeper connection with the world around me.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?

In my younger years, it was a challenge to pursue the creative arts, which conflicted with my family’s expectations to I would seek a degree in the Science or Technology spectrum. While they did give me positive feedback about my work, they didn’t consider it a “serious” path that could actually lead to anything.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

Being the first person in my family to earn my BA, and pursue my Masters. I’m also proud of how far I’ve come after putting my art out into the local art scene in the last couple years. Up until 2011, I had primarily shown my work through online avenues, and was honestly very apprehensive about taking the plunge. I didn’t realize the impact that being face to face with art patrons would have on me. Putting my work out into the community has given me the gift of meeting so many dynamic and passionate people, as well as providing me with opportunities to grow as a visual artist in countless ways.

What’s up next?

I’m preparing to show at SCOPE Miami this December, and also have my first solo show in the works. I also want to be more active in my community in regards to promoting the arts, and volunteering my time.

Quote to live by: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” -Ernest Hemingway

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Monkey/Aquarius

Passionate about: drawing, multicultural studies, volunteering, learning, cooking Vietnamese food, genealogy, human rights.

Favorite food: Sushi, takoyaki, pho, banh xeo, anything Greek.

Can’t live without: My iPhone.

Fashion for a Passion No. 5 Marks New Milestone

DALLAS, TX – Non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions hosted its annual charity event Fashion for a Passion No. 5 on Saturday, Oct. 12th at The Dallas Contemporary Museum in the Dallas Design District. The show was attended by 365 guests who helped to raise $35k, which will go toward for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, scholarship fund and year-round outreach programs.

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Entering the Dallas Contemporary, guests got to enjoy the ambiance set by Lumiere Lighting & Drapery and music by DJs Super T, tasty bites by Royal Catering, sips by Ben E Keith and dessert by Sugarbee Sweets Bakery. Hung from the rafters with red rope hangers were the eight designers’ t-shirt design pieces. The work of eight Exhibiting Artists – Jody Pham, Trung Vuong, Kathy Tran, Cameron Lee Phan and ATG Artistic Scholarship winners DJ Wang, Grace Kwon, Xiaoye Jiang and Catherine ‘Kit’ Zauhar’s were displayed, flanked by tables of fabulous silent auction packages. Pre-show Musical Performers from ATG’s community partner Kollaboration Dallas included Kassy Levels, Mijee Park, J.O and Y.O!, as well as a special performance by ATG Artistic Scholarship winner Kendyl Ito. The show kicked off with a surprise ensemble performance. As guests took their seats, President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee, Community Outreach Directors Jared Rehberg and Hue Dao Miner and 2012 Artistic Scholarship winner Thoa Nguyen honored the two 2013 Artistic Scholarship winners who were present at the event, showing videos of gratitude from the ones who were unable to be present in person.

Copyright by Ivy Do
Copyright by Ivy Do

“It was a special, emotional and wonderful milestone night, and we could not have done it without the efforts of so many who were willing to devote the necessary money, time and talent to making this event happen,” said President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “It is no small feat that an organization like ours can continue to pull off an event of this caliber and magnitude consistently year after year. I’m tremendously proud of our team and sincerely grateful to all who have helped our cause.”

First time attendee and 2013 Kollaboration Dallas winner Kassy Levels gave it her all, staged a fantastic set and enjoyed every minute of FFAP. “It was definitely a classy event! The scene was an incredible display of art, talent and fashion,” said Levels. “I am proud to say I was part of FFAP No. 5 not just because of the event, but more importantly, the organization that directly benefits the event.”

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Musical entertainers and exhibiting artists shared their love and support to ATG President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee and the Board for all their hard work to get FFAP where it is today.

Kendyl Ito expressed her thanks to ATG for recognizing her as a scholarship winner and musical performer. “Thanks so much ATG! It truly is an honor to be an Artistic Scholarship winner, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the ATG community now. You all inspire me everyday and give me the extra push to continue in my artistic endeavors! Be bold and always live life ‘against the grain.’”

“As a musician and artist myself, I’ve done my fair share of performances. Still, FFAP was a more precious experience than most; in that it was an event supporting aspiring artists follow their dreams. I’ve never felt more blessed and honored to be part of an event,” performer Mijee Park said. “Seeing people come out to not only socialize but support so many different artists, communities and causes were amazing. It shows that ATG is being proactive which is something that we desperately need in this world, in order to better ourselves and do better onto others.”

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Exhibiting Artist Kathy Tran attended the event and realized how much effort and opportunities ATG has provided for audience and volunteers to mingle. “I was exhilarated to be a part of the event with other artists of all forms. I had the opportunity to connect with quality people of the Asian community in Dallas…I was home!”

The evening was emceed by actress/model LeeAnne Locken and CBS 11 Morning News Reporter Elizabeth Dinh, who engaged the audience from the start with lively banter and humor. In honor of the anniversary, even the catwalk was shaped in a “5.” Beautiful models from Page Parkes Management, Dragonfly Agency and Campbell-Wagner Runway strutted off the diverse collections of eight Presenting Designers, including Nikki Duong Koenig of Cykochik Custom Handbags paired with Vera Wang’s Viviona swimwear, Kim PhamBecky Hollands, Danh Ta, Cac Lam of Cac DeMode, Texas Next Top Designer winner Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang and Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses.

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Returning designers expressed their appreciation to the show for helping getting them positive label exposure, as it has for FFAP success story Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh.

“Against The Grain’s FFAP was a successful event not only to help me launch my career as a designer, but also to spread support for education in Asian American communities and to provide funding for orphanages in Asia,” designer Danh Ta said. “This is why I chose to return and participate as a veteran designer. ATG has been a true inspiration pushing me to accomplish more as a designer while in turn helping to raise awareness for those who are less fortunate.”

Copyright by Ivy Do
Copyright by Ivy Do

Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses closed the show and said, “FFAP is always a highlight of the year for me. It’s so great to work with such passionate people while doing something we love and giving back to a great cause. The event itself was so fabulous, it seems like ATG somehow make every year a unique experience that is way different than their previous shows. I can’t wait for next year.”

Copyright by Chi Tran
Copyright by Chi Tran

First time presenting designers expressed humble gratitude for being selected to showcase their work for Fashion for a Passion and awe at the show’s production value.

Becky Hollands has been eager to participate in her first Fashion for a Passion and has made the goal to return again in the future. “This year marked my first year and I am so grateful and honored for the opportunity to chase my dream and in doing so, utilizing my time and talent to celebrate the Asian American community alongside artists and musicians to promote opportunities for scholarships, funds and raise money for orphanages in Asia. ATG has given me the opportunity, the voice and the extra push in taking the plunge to pursue my dream as a fashion designer and launching my own label.”

“ATG put together a great pack of designers,” said Vera Wang. “All the designs were strong and refreshing…Viviona Swimwear is proud to be part of it.”

Each presenting designer donated at least 2 pieces to be auctioned for charity live. Additional auction pieces were given by FFAP veteran Nha Khanh, Dora Yim, Ann Hoang by Ann Hoang, Le Dragon d’Or and Watters. The night’s top bids were for a black racer back wool peplum top with embellishments and black wool flared pant by Nha Khanh, a 18K White Gold with Diamonds “Handcuff Necklace” from The Bound Collection by Le Dragon d’Or and a “Vega” ivory textured organza wedding gown by Watters.

Copyright by Chi Tran
Copyright by Chi Tran

To see photos from the evening’s event, please visit the ATG Flickr site, with photos courtesy of David Loi, Chi Tran and Ivy Do.

The non-profit will launch a $10k social media holiday fundraising campaign starting November 1st, to help reach its annual goal and a record of $50k raised in one year, 100% of which will go towards the next year’s giving budget for orphanage aid, scholarship funds and outreach programs.

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. In addition to giving out an annual scholarship to exemplary Asian American students pursuing a degree in the arts, they also produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at over 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 www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.

2013 Fashion for a Passion No. 5 Words of Praise

Photo courtesy of David Loi
Photo courtesy of David Loi

2013 was landmark year for Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions, who recently hosted its 5th annual Fashion for a Passion charity event. A unique evening, Fashion for a Passion brings the community together to celebrate emerging Asian American fashion designers, artists and musicians as a platform to promote up and coming talent. This year’s event was hosted at Dallas Contemporary, attended by 365 guests and raised nearly $35,000 for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, artistic and leadership scholarship funds and outreach programs.

Read some of this year’s reviews:

FFAP is always a highlight of the year for me. It’s so great to work with such passionate people while doing something we love and giving back to a great cause. The event itself was so fabulous, it seems like ATG somehow make every year a unique experience that is way different than their previous shows. I can’t wait for next year. – Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses, Presenting Designer

I cannot express my gratitude and admiration for ATG and Fashion for a Passion as an organization and group of people. My brand “Lucy Dang” was launched officially with ATG and it has been an amazing 3 years for us professional since our debut. I truly believe by being a part of this charity and helping contribute to this amazing cause, we were blessed tenfolds. – Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Presenting Designer

Against The Grain’s FFAP was a successful event not only to help me launch my career as a designer, but also to spread support for education in Asian American communities and to provide funding for orphanages in Asia. This is why I chose to return and participate as a veteran designer. ATG has been a true inspiration, pushing me to accomplish more as a designer while in turn helping to raise awareness for those who are less fortunate. – Danh Ta, Presenting Designer

This year marked my first year, and I am so grateful and honored for the opportunity to chase my dream and in doing so, utilize my time and talent to celebrate the Asian American community alongside artists and musicians to promote opportunities for scholarships funds and raise money for orphanages in Asia. ATG has given me the opportunity, the voice and the extra push in taking the plunge to purse my dream as a fashion designer and launching my own label. – Becky Hollands, Presenting Designer

Thanks to everyone for making it such a fabulous event. I would love to work with ATG in the future. – Vera Wang of Viviona, Presenting Designer

Thanks so much ATG! It truly is an honor to be an Artistic Scholarship winner and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the ATG community now. You all inspire me everyday and give me the extra push to continue in my artistic endeavors! Be bold and always live life ‘against the grain.’ – Kendyl Ito, 2013 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner

It was definitely a classy event! The scene was an incredible display of art, talent and fashion. I am proud to say I was part of FFAP No. 5 not just because of the event, but more importantly the organization that directly benefits the event. – Kassy Levels, Musical Performer

It was so great experiencing the ATG event and performing for it. Everything was well organized and put together on a “next level scale.” Being involved and seeing the true passion of Tammy and her crew’s hard work was really what made the show so great. The models, designers, art and music artist were all on point. I’m just happy we got to perform for the fashion show. Definitely going to be there next year! Thank you, Tammy! – Josh Osgood & Anthony Young of J.O. & Y.O.!, Musical Performer

As a musician and artist myself, I’ve done my fair share of performances. Still, FFAP was a more precious experience than most; in that it was an event supporting aspiring artists follow their dreams. I’ve never felt more blessed and honored to be part of an event. Seeing people come out to not only socialize but support so many different artists, communities and causes were amazing. It shows that ATG is being proactive which is something that we desperately need in this world, in order to better ourselves and do better onto others. – Mijee Park, Musical Performer

I was exhilarated to be a part of the event with other artists of all forms. I had the opportunity to connect with quality people of the Asian community in Dallas…I was home! – Kathy Tran, Exhibiting Artist

It has been my honor to be a part of such a worthy cause again this past year. – Dr. Sam Lam of Lam Facial Plastics and Ova Skin Care, Year-Round Sponsor

It’s all about the kids. Keep up the good work. – Ace Kham of Copy HQ, Year-Round Sponsor

I am privileged to be involved with Against The Grain as it continues to organize wonderful events as a platform for rising Asian Americans and donate all its net profit to orphanages in Asia and creating scholarships for students seeking degrees in the arts. – John Ting, Esq. of Law Office of John Ting

Against The Grain’s Fashion for a Passion showed off some very talented young designers and singers whose donations along with the audiences support helped raise money for a great cause. Having never attended an event like this, I was impressed with the entire production which involves so many people donating their time to make this event a success. – Jeff Lanscek, Portfolio Administrator of Baldrige Asset Management, VIP Guest

The ATG Fashion Show was a fun and fashionable event with an array of talented artists. It was a great way to mingle with local designers and see their beautiful designs, all while benefiting a great cause. – Valerie Huggard of Senior Accountant at SEI, VIP Guest

FFAP No.5 was an incredible milestone event which I am incredibly proud and humbled to have been a part of as a board member and a presenting designer for Cykochik Custom Handbags. Everyone came together for ATG’s cause and produced another high-caliber event. I am inspired and moved by all the talents involved! – Nikki Duong Koenig, Presenting Designer

I have had the privilege of show casing my collection with ATG since the launch of the very first Annual Fashion for a Passion, and it is heart warming to watch how the show and the organization as a whole has evolved over the years. She show has become such a spectacle every year and provide platforms for emerging designers like me to further our careers. I admire ATG so much for their dedication to better the community, and truly appreciates the opportunity to use my talents to support such a great cause. – Kim Pham, Presenting Designer

Even though I did not physically attend the event, it was an honor to participate and have my work be a part of the show! The work ATG does is truly exceptional. – Xiaoye Jiang, 2013 ATG Scholarship Winner

Fashion for Passion no. 5 was my third year of supporting for this great cause. I am so honored to be a part of it and very happy that I could be able to contribute to the cause. I am so proud of how everyone came together, supported, and worked so hard to make the event became another successful year. I am looking forward for next year event with bigger progress, bigger success. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of an amazing cause – Cac Lam, Presenting Designer

Pictures from the event can be viewed on the ATG Facebook Page or ATG Flickr Page, courtesy of David Loi, Chi Tran and Ivy Do.

See highlights from D Magazine.

Read DFW Style Daily’s Coverage by Heather Lettieri.

Read Asia World Media’s Coverage by Anthony Tran.

For more press/media information on the event, please contact Elizabeth Dinh or Annie Tran at pr@againstthegrainproductions.com.

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. In addition to giving out annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student leaders and those pursuing a degree in the arts, they also produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at over 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 www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.