My parents are both college professors, and it made me want to question authority, standards and traditions.
I had very few friends. We always ate dinner with our parents. We didn't want to go out. American adolescence was a lot wilder than I would have felt comfortable with.
When I was building the Vietnam Memorial, I never once asked the veterans what it was like in the war, because from my point of view, you don't pry into other people's business.
Growing up, I thought I was white. It didn't occur to me I was Asian-American until I was studying abroad in Denmark and there was a little bit of prejudice.
OK, it was black, it was below grade, I was female, Asian American, young, too young to have served. Yet I think none of the opposition in that sense hurt me.
My dad was dean of fine arts at the university. I was casting bronzes in the school foundry. I was using the university as a playground.
Some artists want to confront. Some want to invoke thought. They're all necessary and they're all valid.
The role of art in society differs for every artist.
Even though I build buildings and I pursue my architecture, I pursue it as an artist. I deliberately keep a tiny studio. I don't want to be an architectural firm. I want to remain an artist.
I was always making things. Even though art was what I did every day, it didn't even occur to me that I would be an artist.
I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That's art to me.
I left science, then I went into art, but I approach things very analytically. I choose to pursue both art and architecture as completely separate fields rather than merging them.
I loved logic, math, computer programming. I loved systems and logic approaches. And so I just figured architecture is this perfect combination.
Art is very tricky because it's what you do for yourself. It's much harder for me to make those works than the monuments or the architecture.
I probably spent the first 20 years of my life wanting to be as American as possible. Through my 20s, and into my 30s, I began to become aware of how so much of my art and architecture has a decidedly Eastern character.
The process I go through in the art and the architecture, I actually want it to be almost childlike. Sometimes I think it's magical.
In art or architecture your project is only done when you say it's done. If you want to rip it apart at the eleventh hour and start all over again, you never finish. I was one of those crazy creatures.