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Maya Lin's Quotes

Maya Lin profile photo

Born: 1959-10-05
Profession: Architect
Nation: American
Biography of Maya Lin

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Our parents decided not to teach us Chinese. It was an era when they felt we would be better off if we didn't have that complication.

Tags: Felt, Off, Parents

Some artists want to confront. Some want to invoke thought. They're all necessary and they're all valid.

Tags: Artists, Necessary, Thought

Some of your teachers are actually closer in age to you than you think.

Tags: Actually, Age, Teachers

Sometimes you have to stop thinking. Sometimes you shut down completely. I think that's true in any creative field.

Tags: Sometimes, Thinking, True

The definition of a modern approach to war is the acknowledgement of individual lives lost.

Tags: Lives, Lost, War

The only thing that mattered was what you were to do in life, and it wasn't about money. It was about teaching, or learning.

Tags: Learning, Life, Money

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.

Tags: Almost, Art, Sometimes

The role of art in society differs for every artist.

Tags: Art, Artist, Society

We were unusually brought up; there was no gender differentiation. I was never thought of as any less than my brother.

Tags: Brother, Less, Thought

When I was very little, we would get letters from China, in Chinese, and they' be censored. We were a very insular little family.

Tags: China, Family, Letters

You couldn't put me in a social group setting. I'm probably a terrible anarchist deep down.

Tags: Deep, Group, Put

You have to let the viewers come away with their own conclusions. If you dictate what they should think, you've lost it.

Tags: Away, Dictate, Lost

A lot of my works deal with a passage, which is about time. I don't see anything that I do as a static object in space. It has to exist as a journey in time.

Tags: Journey, Space, Time

I probably have fundamentally antisocial tendencies. I never took one extracurricular activity. I just failed utterly at that level. Part of me still rebels against that.

Tags: Against, Level, Took

My goal is to strip things down so that you need just the right amount of words or shape to convey what you need to convey. I like editing. I like it very tight.

Tags: Editing, Goal, Words

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.

Tags: Business, Once, War

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.

Tags: Growing, Thought, Until

I deliberately did not read anything about the Vietnam War because I felt the politics of the war eclipsed what happened to the veterans. The politics were irrelevant to what this memorial was.

Tags: Politics, Read, War

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.

Tags: American, Friends, Parents

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.

Tags: Art, Rather, Science
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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.

Tags: Art, Character, Life

I really enjoyed hanging out with some of the teachers. This one chemistry teacher, she liked hanging out. I liked making explosives. We would stay after school and blow things up.

Tags: After, School, Teacher

I started studying what the nature of a monument is and what a monument should be. And for the World War III memorial I designed a futile, almost terrifying passage that ends nowhere.

Tags: Almost, Nature, War

I was probably the first kid in my high school to go to Yale. I applied almost as a lark. Then, when I got there, I was the dumbest person in your class.

Tags: Almost, High, School

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.

Tags: Art, Crazy, Done

It was a requirement by the veterans to list the 57,000 names. We're reaching a time that we'll acknowledge the individual in a war on a national level.

Tags: Time, Veterans, War

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.

Tags: Black, Hurt, Young

You have to have conviction and completely question everything and anything you do. No matter how much you study, no matter how much you know, the side of your brain that has the smarts won't necessarily help you in making art.

Tags: Art, Brain, Help

You should be having more fun in high school, exploring things because you want to explore them and learning because you love learning-not worrying about competition.

Tags: Learning, Love, School

To fly we have to have resistance.

Tags: Fly, Resistance

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.

Tags: Architecture, Artist, Keep

I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That's art to me.

Tags: Architecture, Art, Give

Math, it's a puzzle to me. I love figuring out puzzles.

Tags: Love, Math, Puzzle

To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.

Tags: American, Dream, Freedom

Every memorial in its time has a different goal.

Tags: Goal, Memorial, Time

I loved logic, math, computer programming. I loved systems and logic approaches. And so I just figured architecture is this perfect combination.

Tags: Logic, Loved, Perfect

Warmth isn't what minimalists are thought to have.

Tags: Thought, Warmth

All my work is much more peaceful than I am.

Tags: Peaceful, Work

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.

Tags: Art, Works, Yourself

For the most part things never get built the way they were drawn.

Tags: Built, Drawn

How we are using up our home, how we are living and polluting the planet is frightening. It was evident when I was a child. It's more evident now.

Tags: Child, Home, Living

I didn't have anyone to play with so I made up my own world.

Tags: Anyone

I loved school. I studied like crazy. I was a Class A nerd.

Tags: Crazy, Loved, School

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.

Tags: Art, Artist, Making

I went through withdrawal when I got out of graduate school. It's what you learn, what you think. That's all that counts.

Tags: Counts, Learn, School

I'm not in a hurry to do a lot of projects. I am very resolved in each project I take on.

Tags: Hurry, Project, Projects

If we can't face death, we'll never overcome it. You have to look it straight in the eye. Then you can turn around and walk back out into the light.

Tags: Death, Face, Light

It terrified me to have an idea that was solely mine to be no longer a part of my mind, but totally public.

Tags: Idea, Mind, Public

It's funny, as you live through something you're not aware of it.

Tags: Aware, Funny

It's only in hindsight that you realize what indeed your childhood was really like.

Tags: Childhood, Indeed, Realize

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.

Tags: Dad, Fine, School

My grandfather, on my father's side, helped to draft one of the first constitutions of China. He was a fairly well-known scholar.

Tags: China, Father, Side

My parents are both college professors, and it made me want to question authority, standards and traditions.

Tags: College, Parents, Question

Nothing is ever guaranteed, and all that came before doesn't predicate what you might do next.

Tags: Guaranteed, Might, Next
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