Artist Profile: JoRaeGo
This holiday season, why not support some Hapas and Quapa artists? Welcome to Hapa Mag’s Virtual Holiday Market, a place where you can check out the wares of some of our favorite mixed-race Asian artists.
What is your name/brand name?
My name is Rae. My dear friend Jo and I created the brand JoRaeGO. Our motto is “A piece of paradise everywhere you GO.”
What makes you Hapa?
I am a first-generation Chinese-Jamaican American. In the United States, I am seen as Chinese, but my family is from Jamaica and we identify as Jamaican. Growing up my sister and I were usually the only Asians in our classes and we were teased a lot. I had a hard time being teased for being something I could not connect with (being Chinese). I was proud to be Jamaican because culturally, that was all I could relate to, but it was hard to accept the Chinese part of myself. In adulthood, I learned about the impact Chinese migration had on the economy and history of the Caribbean, and today, I’m proud of my background and proud to be of Asian descent. I was so relieved to learn the term “Hapa” -- finally, a term I can connect with.
What kind of art do you create?
We’re jewelry designers, but the art JoRaeGO creates is the intangible story we are telling through our collections. Yes we make beautiful jewelry, but behind every piece is a journey and a message. It’s a reflection of who we are as Jamaicans and Americans.
If applicable, how does being Hapa apply to your work?
It’s in everything we create! From the materials we use in our work to the design. It is a reflection of the beautiful fusion of both eastern and western hemispheres where we descend from. Everything we put out as JoRaeGO is a reflection of who we are today, and also a reflection of our ancestors who rewrote our history through their own story of migration.
How long have you been an artist/crafter/creator?
We have been in business for three years and we are closing out our third collection, Root + Fern. We’ve both been artistic and expressive and creative basically our whole lives.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
I am a big giver. I love to give. It’s my love language. The best gifts I give are the ones I create with my hands. The best gift I’ve received? When I moved to Japan the first thing I bought for myself was a sewing machine. I lost my sewing machine and dress form when I had to leave the country. I was heartbroken over it and my friends took up a collection to buy me a new sewing machine and dress form. I will never forget that moment.
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Growing up, my grandmother would host these fabulous Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner parties. She’d even wear a gown (yes, a real long gown), and as her grandchildren, we were expected to dress the part. Her parties were known for serving the best Jamaican-Chinese fusion cuisine. Every holiday, her home was the home for those who had nowhere to go for the holidays, and she would welcome you like family. I miss those parties.
What are your favorite pieces of your work?
My favorite piece is a pyrite jade necklace that I made years ago, before JoRaeGO started. I love love love big and bold statement necklaces but could never afford the ones I really liked. So I made my own! It’s my Mona Lisa. I would never sell it.
Where can people find your work? (Physical location or website)
We have pop-ups throughout NYC and for info on when/where to find us, follow our IG stories and see our website.
If you happen to be in South Florida, you can find our pieces at Splash Boutique at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
What are your social media handles (IG or Twitter)?
You can follow and share our story on IG @JoRaeGO using the hashtags #GoAndBE and #JoRaeGO.