Anna's image
Anna Youngyeun
Artist and Programmer

I’m Anna - an artist and programmer based in St. Louis, MO in the US. In my previous career, I was a university art instructor in Kansas, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art in Kentucky, and worked with a non-profit arts organization in St. Louis. During an artist residency, I was curious about integrating craft with code and began making silly animations with JavaScript in 2016.

I loved being an artist and educator, but I began to realize that it also took a lot out of me. At the end of my days, I had little spark left for myself, and spent a lot of time struggling with existential crises mixed with depression and anxiety that I dealt with all my life. I wanted to find a career that was enjoyable, sustainable, and would support me as an artist. I also just needed a huge shake up in my life. So I took a leap and completed a free web development course with Launchcode and began my career as a developer in 2018 (working mostly in Java, Javascript, and React).

My first couple of years, the imposter syndrome was real, but I’ve made so many supportive friends along the way who helped me believe in myself. This led me to try lots of other new things in life — the biggest was conquering terrible gym anxiety and getting into weightlifting. Coding reignited my curiosity and excitement for learning, and lifting made me feel strong and greatly improved my mental health and confidence.

I still make and exhibit art. Much of my work consists of plushy alien soft sculptures and has been a means of navigating my intersections of identity. I grew up in a Thai-Chinese household in Missouri and became a product of two spaces where I never quite fit—an American society that both exoticized and mocked my racial identity and a Thai-Chinese heritage that I felt estranged from. In my work, I explore sentiments such as comfort and awkwardness, sympathy and disgust, and closeness and alienation. I love considering small (often negligible) thoughts, feelings, and experiences that make us all human.

I recently began working in Laravel and have joined Tighten as an apprentice programmer. I'm excited to learn as much as possible, and I am so grateful to join a community that is as curious and excited about the humanity in others as I am.

Anyone out there who’s feeling tenuous about a life change or a fresh start — there are so many resources and communities out there, and regardless of where you land, trying is worth it!

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