Only in New York

by Aja Tarrao and Hua Huang

Artist Statements

Aja Tarrao

Aja Tarrao was born and raised in Queens, New York. She has always kept the art community close to her heart. Tarrao keeps herself involved in the creative world by attending and participating in arts and cultural events around the city. She creates multimedia art, including photography and video about some of her social and personal experiences as a young creative in NYC. Post-COVID she dreams to travel the world and document her experiences.

Through her work she expresses a range of shared human emotions to find connections across many people. This is shown through a reflection of feelings during daily routines or major life events, such as COVID-19. Tarrao’s work is about individual experiences in a community, whether it is part of her family, her city or the art world. She tackles experiences like studying abroad during a lockdown, graduating in a pandemic, living with her parents at 22, being part of a large family, being a woman, etc. She explores the use of many aesthetics and styles, varying from work to work to create a sense of alteration based on the content of the work: no two stories are the same.

Hua Huang

Hua was born at the south side of mainland China and moved to Brooklyn, NY at the age of 4. He has always been interested in the digital aspects of artistic expression including 3d modeling, video and animation. Playing games growing up, video games as a medium has been a key inspiration for Hua, as it blends interaction with narrative in a way no other medium can.

Living under the same roof constantly has been the reality for many folks in the tri-state area, but it has been especially hard on Hua. There is nothing more bleak than your own home becoming a prison for your body and mind. The pandemic has lasted longer than many expected, and the longing for both companionship and freedom is ever present in discussions in person or digitally.

Hua’s work is about expressing ideas of self-doubt and introspectionism, but to also juxtapose that with beams of light here and there, hoping to amass some sort of newly found hope for the future. Life is a spectrum of light and dark, and even at the deepest moments of people's lives, we can find solace in knowing that we are not alone, and that we are all in this together.

Project Statement

New York City is a vibrant, electric, diverse, and beautiful city that is home to over 8 million people. One can call New York home, but you must go through various rites of passages to call yourself a New Yorker. Play “Only in New York'', a walking simulator game made through Unity that allows you to explore a subway station and listen to NYC-centric stories ranging from the hardships of immigration, the crazy drunk weekends, the scams, and even ... pee?