By Natalie Saar
Have you ever wondered what happens when a kid grows up around medically accurate gynecological models and then becomes an artist? Look no further than Chicago-based RAW artist Linggo.
It’s impossible to look at her art and not feel something welling up inside you. But if you find it hard to pinpoint exactly what that emotion is, you’re not alone. In fact, many people have described her work as “disturbingly beautiful, amazingly gross.”
What’s clear is that it’s certainly something to behold, but where does this alternative take on the world come from? According to Linggo, it all started as a child. “I grew up with grandparents who are both doctors. I was very impacted by my childhood life. My grandmother is a gynecologist, and I spent most of my childhood in her office. I read a lot of medical books and heard a lot of stories from different patients.” Even with that depth of curiosity, Linggo wasn’t tempted to follow in their footsteps.
“A secret I did not share with my followers is that my grandpa was ‘forced’ to be a doctor. He lived in a period when China was in an economic crisis. People had trouble looking for a job and making a living. He had to give up his passion and choose a career to support his family. By comparison, I am lucky to have more options.”
The patriarch of the family still had a hand in steering Linggo toward art. “Growing up with my grandpa, I can tell how much he loves art, he spends all of his spare time working on creating amazing artworks. I did not see that passion from him by being a doctor. Being an artist makes him happy. I don’t think I will want to be a doctor. I like being an artist because I love happy accidents, it gives me new inspirations and new perspectives, but accidents will not be allowed if I am a doctor.”
Over the course of her life, Linggo not only taught herself many of the techniques that she uses today, but she also attended The School of Art Institute of Chicago and received her Bachelor’s of Fine Art. While there, she took the opportunity to explore other forms of art, including puppet art, but always gravitated back towards sculpture.
After watching hours of YouTube tutorials, she learned to carefully hone her craft, which helped result in one of her most perturbing works yet. “In my personal opinion, my most ‘disturbingly beautiful, amazingly gross’ piece is Satis. The name was given by a fan from Instagram, which comes from an Egyptian deity, representing war, fertility and the act of hunting.
“I made this piece because I have very mixed feelings about the fact that my fiancé killed a deer during hunting season back in 2016. I’m not a big fan of killing, but deer populations have grown well beyond the ability of the natural communities to withstand the effects. I know he did the right thing, but I still have a complex feeling about it. I made this sculpture for the deer we killed. I want to appreciate this beauty given by nature. I appreciate everything we get from nature, she is a goddess to me.”
If you’re inspired by Linggo’s one-of-a-kind style, she’s got some advice for you: “Never let anything stop you from creating what you want. I never had sculpting experience in the past, but I was still willing to do anything I could to become a good sculptor. Not following the traditional steps (like taking a class, reading textbooks, etc.) makes you more experimental and unique. Learn from mistakes and try to make every mistake into a happy accident.”