Creative Spotlight: John Yuyi
Interviewed by Alexa Wilson
Dynamic, resourceful, and daring--three words to describe John Yuyi. The Taiwan-born photographer creates works which blur the lines between fashion, art, and the internet. Each aspect seeps into the other and culminates into Yuyi's wonderfully surreal world where dry noodles are used as jewelry, text messages are printed onto orchid petals, and social media stats are tattooed onto models' faces. In our interview, Yuyi discusses using the human body as a canvas, how her "Face Post" series began, and letting art speak for itself.
Why do bodies and skin get you excited or want to create art?
I found that everyone has their character and different look. And because I think everybody has very different skin and bodies, even though we are all human, but it's all unique. And the skin color and texture as a canvas to create art is just so eye catching to me. So I'm really into doing art like that. I feel it's intense.
You grew up and studied design in Taiwan, but have since moved to NYC. What do you like about each city? What do you dislike?
I love both. They have their own good things to tell. I love the energy in NYC and the unexpected things in NYC. You really can have everything happen there. But I am far from my family and my psychiatrist. It makes me feel insecure. And also it's not so safe, I have to be aware anytime. But in Taipei it’s safe and my family is here. I don’t have to be alone when panic attack happens. But in Taipei I can't have good collaboration or cool opportunity to do modeling or art. But I can use cheap source to do things here. Both good and both bad at the same time.
What does your creative process look like?
I basically got my ideas all from my daily life observation. And I am very productive and I'm an activist. So I'll execute my plan and idea immediately.
How was your transition from fashion to art--was it a conscious thing or did you just find yourself getting more and more involved in the art field as you kept creating?
It's a totally unconsciously getting more and more involved in art. But I still very in love with fashion as well. So what I'm trying to do is keep both field involve. I still doing styling and modeling. Or combine two stuff together. That’s what I like to do.
Face Post has been really popular online. How did it first start out?
The first Face Post actually was just a post to promote my fb fan page to sell my swimsuit collection. And then 2015 Sep I did first shooting with my friends. That is the real "Face Post" project. I think it's good to post on Instagram. I didn't think too much about future. But it just went viral then become my main project in life of last year, and I even travel to NYC, Taipei, Tokyo, London, Beijing, Shanghai to do the projects.
In other interviews, you’ve said that you don’t want to do things with big meanings. Could you talk to me about why.
It's not like I don’t want to have a big meaning inside, I just don’t wanna give the project a big meaning. I prefer people see what they want to see. Let image speak for itself. I don’t like to explain too much. I really don’t like it. Talk too much.
Do you consider your personal style to be an extension of your art?
Yes, I think my style, my personality, and my preference are all my extension to my art. But I really want to upgrade all the things in my life, especially my projects.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I always like to discuss about my career or my work with my friend or elder people in the field. I think doing what you like and keep doing and be smart is the best advice.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm working on a "FACE" project and a collaboration with a brand is coming soon.
Favorite song at the moment?
"A Million Butterflies" by WE SAVE STRAWBERRIES
*Images courtesy of John Yuyi