Hyong Yi’s 100 Love Notes first launched on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina on November 21, 2015. To honor his wife, Catherine Zanga, on the one-year anniversary of her death from ovarian cancer, Hyong and his children gave strangers 100 handwritten love notes, notes that chronicled Hyong and Catherine’s life together.
NBC and ABC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and The Today Show covered the story as well as many other news sources. Yi realized that his notes had greater purpose, and he commissioned 17 artists to illustrate them.
Hyong Yi doesn’t neatly fit into a box—he defies pigeon-holing—but if he had to share some details about who he is, this is what he would share:
He’s the father of two children, Anna and Alex, who have high expectations of him, i.e., universal source of information, and unlimited source of funds for buying all things Disney (Anna) and Nerf (Alex).
He has spent his career working as a public servant, currently for the City of Charlotte. He earned degrees in political science and public administration, qualifying him to work in government (if this sort of thing matters to you).
He dreams of being seen as a creative soul and hopes this book gives him the street cred to call himself an artist.
He loves science fiction, reading everything the local library has to offer. He’s uncomfortable in the water so is thinking about taking swimming lessons. It’s not that he can’t swim, he can; it’s just he’s not that great in water. Land is an entirely different story (just for the record).
He has a brilliant sense of humor, best experienced live.
He loves his community, his family, his children, and most importantly, his late wife, Catherine.
Tina M. Alberni
Tina Alberni, of Cuban heritage, lived in Bogota, Colombia as a child, and returned to the U.S. in her late teens. She earned a BS in Art Education, with a concentration in printmaking. Her bilingual and bicultural upbringing weaves into the fabric of her art, allowing her to explore elemental relationships and respond intuitively. She works in a variety of mediums and exhibits in alternative spaces. She has received awards, exhibited, and sold her work to collectors across five continents. (colordesignstudio.com)
Emily T. Andress
After graduating in 1979 from William Woods University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Andress began her career as a printmaker, creating a recognizable style and an international reputation. Three decades later, she returned to her first love of painting. Influenced by the Fauvists and German Expressionists of the turn of the Twentieth Century, Andress uses the line work prevalent in her printmaking and marries it with painting to create new energy. (etandressfineart.com)
Luis G. Ardila
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Luis Ardila received his Master of Fine Arts from the National University of Colombia. Since childhood, Ardila has traveled between the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. His work has an expressionist-symbolist style rooted in the influence of Latin American painters of the 60’s such as Rufino Tamayo and Wifredo Lamand, and by medieval European iconography. Ardila’s work has won numerous awards across multiple continents. (ardilaart.com)
Caroline Coolidge Brown
Caroline Coolidge Brown loves working in all types of mixed media, exploring layers of images and words with different printmaking and painting techniques. A graduate of Duke University, with degrees in studio art and art history, she has lived and exhibited in Memphis and New York and is now happy to call Charlotte home. Caroline exhibits and teaches regularly at Ciel Gallery and leads creative retreats across the U.S. and abroad. (CarolineCBrown.com)
Originally from Chicago, Caswell holds a BFA and MFA in design, and an MFA in creative writing and publication arts. She studied writing at Iowa Writers’ Workshop and illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art. Passionate about combining words and images, she was the lead writer and book designer for LUCK, A Collection of Facts, Fiction, Incantations & Verse. Her collages were featured in Far From the Centers of Ambition, and she is the author of Motherload, stories. (averycaswell.com)
Jean Lee Cauthen
After growing up in Naples, Italy, New Orleans, and the Carolinas, Cauthen now enjoys painting and teaching in the Charlotte area. She creates large-scale paintings in her Mint Hill studio, teaches art history at University of North Carolina–Charlotte, and leads international plein air painting workshops. Her path crossed with Catherine and Hyong’s during her time at the Levine Cancer Center as artist-in-residence.
Pam Goode has been working in mosaic since 1999, when the process of cutting and fitting and forming remnants into a whole grabbed tight and wouldn’t let her go. She has studied with mosaicists across the U.S. and in Italy, and her work has been exhibited internationally. She is an artist with Ciel Gallery, and teaches both at home and abroad.
Charlotte-based artist Jonathan Grauel has gained international recognition for his visual narratives which construct surreal spaces for the viewer to journey through. Focusing on the places we travel, Grauel portrays not just physical locations, like coffee shops and parks, but also constructs villages from mental, emotional, and spiritual territories. Using finger or brush, on iPad or traditional media, Grauel’s work is a response to his surroundings and the relationships they contain. Collaborations with other artists often figure in Grauel’s work. (bluestudioonline.com)
Rebecca Haworth works in mixed media painting, ceramics, and fiber arts. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Texas at Dallas and pursued a BFA in Painting and Ceramics at UNC- Charlotte. Nature inspires Haworth’s art and her figures and forms are of indeterminate origin. Former owner of Wingmaker Arts Collaborative in Charlotte, she currently maintains a studio at C3Lab. Her work has been exhibited across the Carolinas, California, Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas.
Laura McRae Hitchcock
Laura McRae Hitchcock is a painter who plays with sticks. She loves painting anywhere she can and gathers beautiful sticks, feathers, and rocks along the way. The focus of her paintings is the beauty found in each moment and the light that makes that moment magical. She was born in Georgia, moved to Washington state a couple of years later, and has continued moving throughout her life. She graduated from Agnes Scott College with a BA in art, raised three children, and has been married to her boyfriend for over 30 years. Her work is in collections across the U.S. and her paintings have been accepted into various juried national exhibitions. Currently a partner with Ciel Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina, she lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Wisconsin-born artist Marianne Huebner studied fine art at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well Florence, Italy, earning her BFA. She later earned a masters degree in Art Therapy. A leader in the art therapy field, she has presented nationally, served as president of the Wisconsin Art Therapy Association, and was adjunct faculty at Mount Mary University (Wisconsin). In 2011, Huebner received an International Award from Ronald McDonald House Global Corporation for the impact of her art therapy work on grieving and traumatized families. She currently practices in Charlotte, North Carolina, working with developmentally disabled adults. The meaningful work of art therapy has informed her professional art career, shifting it into deeper meaning and exploring story through images.
Nicholas Napoletano received a BFA from the University of Hartford and gained additional instruction from renowned egg tempera painter Fred Wessel. His experience includes visual communication design, public art installation, advertising, illustration, sculpture, painting, and printmaking. Napoletano’s work can be found in galleries, museums, and public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad, including a mural for the New Britain Museum of American Art.
Diane Pike grew up in Boulder, Colorado. A job relocation brought her to North Carolina in 2008. Pike’s work in oil and in pastel reflects her pursuit to understand and translate how light affects the colors we see. She lives in the Lake Norman area where she paints full time, teaches weekly classes at Charlotte’s Ciel Gallery, and leads plein air workshops across the U.S.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that a single video changed Ria Rivera’s life. After watching the mesmerizing dance of pen on paper, she began learning calligraphy and she’s been hooked ever since. When she’s not working, or exploring the streets of Taipei, you can find her at her desk practicing calligraphy and watercolor painting. (hueandai.com)
CeCe Stronach is a visual artist, a creative dream strategist, and the founder of The Ruminate Project. Originally from Wisconsin, Stronach relocated to North Carolina in 2008. By observing the passions and idiosyncrasies of others she immortalizes their soul-stirring stories.
Jen Walls is a mark-maker and mixed media artist who is often inspired by the traditions and stories of indigenous peoples. Self-taught, her art is the result of disciplined studio time, a regimen of exploratory and experimental projects, and a good dose of magic. An advocate for doodling in the classroom, the waiting room, and the board room, she lives in Plantation, Florida, with her husband and one grouchy dog.
Samantha White is a designer, calligrapher, artist, and story teller. Born and raised in Montana, she made her way across the country and found home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her travel experiences are the foundation and inspiration for her work. While watercolor and ink are her primary mediums, she is constantly experimenting with different tools and processes.