ShoPowSho Episode 019: Artist, Kenneth Tan of The Lola x Kenneth Collaboration

Psst. Psst. Hoy! New episode of the ShoPowSho!

Episode 19: We welcome Artist, Kenneth Tan of The Lola x Kenneth Collaboration! Join us as we discuss Kenneth’s story, his amazing Lola’s story and how their collaboration came together!

ShoPowSho explores Filipino and Filipino American history and culture; along with spotlighting and featuring Filipinos throughout various fields of industry to help showcase the amazing contributions they have provided to our world. Please join me, Kuya P, and my wonderful co-hosts, or as I like to affectionately call them, “The Amazing Ates” Kataphorric and Viva Valentina!


EPISODE 019 SPECIAL GUEST: Kenneth Tan of The Lola x Kenneth Collaboration

I’m Kenneth Tan and this is Crescenciana Tan, my grandmother (“lola” in Tagalog). In 2014 I was living in Los Angeles. My mother called and said she would be getting knee surgery, so I left my job and moved back home to San Jose, CA to help her care for Lola. It was an easy decision to make. Lola helped my mom raise me. And I missed her. Lola and I fell into a routine marathoning Murder, She Wrote every day. One morning, we were sitting at the kitchen table and I asked Lola what she wanted to do. She surprised me. She said, “Something that is for a purpose.” I’d heard that art could be used as a form of therapy, and I’d loved drawing as a kid, so I thought Lola and I could try making things together. Neither of us had formal art training, but we settled into our roles. Lola made paintings in watercolor, and I added drawings or illustrations based on her stories and memories. Lola passed in 2016. She left me with her stories and her paintings, and our purpose remains the same: My grandma makes the paintings. I promise to finish everything she starts. – The Lola x Kenneth Collaboration

“I turn to these papers and then make some drawings. That makes me happy because my mind is occupied with thinking of the world that will pass by.”


Crescenciana Tan – BIO: Crescenciana was born in 1920 in the village Villasis in the Pangasinan province of the Philippines. She raised two daughters as a single mother in the Philippines, and five grandchildren in California. She made a living farming rice, cashiering at the village grocery, and traveling to different villages to set up a variety goods pop-up shop. Crescenciana’s favorite detective is Columbo. Her favorite warrior is Xena. And, if you ask her, all her grandchildren are her favorite.

Your job is something you leave behind at the end of a day. Your work is everything you leave behind at the end of a lifetime. Lola and I are our work. We are everything we’ll leave behind.


Kenneth Tan – BIO: Kenneth was born at Stanford Hospital, where his mother was a nurse. His mother and grandmother raised him in San Jose, CA. When he was a kid, Kenneth wanted to grow up and be a comic book artist, a Power Ranger, or Usher’s backup dancer, but instead he listened to his mother and he studied public health at UC Berkeley. He moved back home in 2014 to help care for his grandmother. Kenneth likes boba, board games, and the Oxford comma. He loves Labrador Retrievers.


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Host/Producer: Viva Valentina

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