"When I was 10 years old the Nixon White House received a gift of two pandas (Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing) from China. I was enthralled, and being from Washington DC, I asked my father to take me to the zoo as frequently as he could. I loved to take pictures and make drawings, and I felt a deep connection to them. As a child, you don’t intellectualize your passions — they wash over you. Fast-forward to being an adult and an artist: I found that the panda was a symbol that not only had deep personal relevance but also addressed larger issues. It’s a symbol that teaches us to revere nature, to tread lightly and compassionately."