Adoption can be pretty serious territory, but thanks to Interactive Designer and all-around-artist, Jessica Sun Lee, we can take some times to laugh at the world . . . and ourselves. http://e-kads.com/
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you? And, what occupies your time?
Jessica Sun Lee: I’m the only adoptee in an Irish-Italian American family of seven kids. We grew up in a suburb north of Boston and had a weekend/summer home on a really small island near a tourist town in Maine. Because of this, I experienced many reactions towards me from a variety of people early on. Needless to say, I also had private reactions towards their reactions towards me.
I did a stint in Key West and lived in Ireland for a few years but found my way back to Boston. I can’t say I’ll stay here forever, but I know a lot of good people and have work connections here. Speaking of which, I’m an Interactive Designer and have been for over a decade. It’s not a bad living, but someday I’d like to spend the majority of my time writing, creating art, and music. My latest band is Secret Satellites and my bandmate Jeff Clarke made a video for a song that I wrote about adoption. It’s called ‘Abandoned Property’ and the video is here: http://secretsatellites.com/vids.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Your cards are so funny and spot on! What inspired you to start creating e-kads?
Jessica Sun Lee: Thanks! The obvious answer is: Life as a Korean Adoptee. But in all honesty, my boyfriend and I like puns and one day he was making fun of the Boston accent saying the word ‘cards’. It struck me as sounding like ‘KADs’ and I thought it would be a funny double entendre.
Over the past few years I’ve gotten more involved in the Korean Adoptee community and felt–and still feel–that we need more voices to communicate who we are and what we deal with on a regular basis. I had an idea to make a video montage of KADs recording PSAs but that idea seemed too ambitious–and maybe too intense, so I took it up on my own the best way I know how.
Since they were born from a good natured joke, I figured it’d be best to keep them that way for the most part. I think humor is more accessible and effective for people than outright bitterness or boring facts. Negativity can come off as a plea for sympathy, and I don’t like being represented that way. KADs have been through a lot and we’re strong–but can definitely benefit from some understanding.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Where do you get all your funny phrases for the card? Do you ever get hate mail because someone is offended by an e-kad you’ve created?
Jessica Sun Lee: I honestly thought I’d get some poor feedback from people who took offense, but I actually haven’t yet. That could be because it’s only been going since September and I made it difficult for people to contact me from the e-KADs site. I think it’s sad, though, that so many are prepared to be offended by things, and knew some of the cards would be controversial. But at the end of the day, what matters to me is that they’re my way of having a voice and spreading awareness. I don’t even know most of the people who’ve ‘liked’ e-KADs on Facebook–and I think it’s totally awesome that people are relating to and sharing them. My hope is that non-KADs will also see them passed around, too. Even if they don’t get them at first, it might spawn conversation.
As to the phrases, most of them are just written off the cuff from either recent or past experiences I’ve had. Because it’s just a side project, there’s always a long queue of therapeutic cards to make. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to just get these things out of my system–and then feel justified when people ‘get’ them.
Land of Gazillion Adoptee: Right on. Do you have a personal favorite?
Jessica Sun Lee: It depends on the day! This one came to me one morning that I was really craving Oolong tea. Walking back to my office, I was laughing to myself about it. I couldn’t wait to get it onto a card. Oh, the instant gratification of the internet. http://e-kads.com/2011/12/me-love-oolong-time/