Muralist Candy Yu-Yen Kuo

The Shoulders of Giants, 2023

Candy is a Taiwan-born visual artist and muralist currently based out of Austin, Texas.

With a background in fashion studies and music, her pieces often feature strong female portraiture, playful depictions of local flora and fauna, as well as influences from pop culture and musical inspirations. The motifs presented in her work create a unique, stylistic blend of East meets West — stemming from the experience of growing up in both Taiwan and the Rio Grande Valley.

Candy has been painting murals professionally since 2016. Although she works across a variety of mediums including oil paint, watercolors, and textile art, her work primarily utilizes acrylic, ink, and aerosols. In the last six years, Candy’s focus has been murals and large-scale installations, traveling for festival installations, and collaborating with communities in urban renewal initiatives across the country with her partner and daughter.

It is hard to say exactly when a legend is made. Are there stars born among men, destined for greatness from birth? Or are we all stardust, carrying unlimited potential within each of us, a legacy waiting to be forged through the fires of trials in life. Perhaps it’s the moments that make us. A cumulation of all the passing instances that weave together like threads in the quilt of the human experience.

With a loud boast of EVERYTHING IS BIGGER in TEXAS, it can be hard to stand out and blaze a trail in the state of bigger, better, stronger. An unforgiving sun, the thick and tangible heat, speckled with a landscape of ornately flowering cacti, covered in endless spines, this environment was built for the tough and determined. But, we all know what they say, diamonds are only created under pressure.

Of all the athletes to come out of the Lone Star State, few shine brighter than the great Kevin Durant. Born in 1988, Durant’s accomplishments and ambitions eventually led to his enrollment with the University of Texas. When asked why he chose Texas out of all his prospective choices, he was quoted as stating that he “wanted to set my own path”. And indeed he did; his highly-decorated career and list of accolades only grew as he continued to carve his own way through the world and athletics. During his time with Texas, he became the first freshman to win any of the national player of the year awards. His jersey number of 35 has since been retired by the Texas Longhorns.

It can be easy to forget the dim beginnings of the past when in the glowing presence of the present. However, the true growth and progress of our own evolution happens in the everyday minutiae. It is often in the practices and habits of your daily routines. It’s in the stories and love shared between friends and family, the lessons learned from mistakes and foes, and in the challenges and eustress that spark the light to strive for more. It is being bold when your breath catches, and stepping forward when you feel pause. It’s shooting for your dreams and manifesting their realities.

We may never have any accurate measure of when greatness is born. But without question, greatness cannot come without action. Sometimes the leaps we take in life are as simple as taking the first step onto the court. Reach for the sky, and you will find there is no limit.

Candy Kuo