We are pleased to have on our emerging artists season Chinese born artist Yinan Chen. Yinan is a multimedia artist; she lives and work in Wuhan, China. Her journey with art began from a young age as she was born into an artist family. Yinan studied at BA and MA in Ceramics at Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in China and recently completed a Master of Fine Arts, Ceramics at Rhode Island School of Design.
Chen’s discipline is multimedia; her works consist of various materials such as steel, clay, and daily objects. She draws on life and society as inspiration for her expressive, detailed sculptures.
She is a very accomplished artist, having had her works exhibited in the US, China, and Taiwan, and receiving multiple awards from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts and consequently making it on to SAATCHI ART’S rising stars class of 2019. Yinan works speaks for itself and is an artist to pay attention too. In our interview will be getting to know more about Yinan, the lady behind the sculptures, her inspiration, her creative process, and more.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
A: I was born into an artist family. When I was little, art was everywhere in my life. Then when I grow up, art is an indispensable and irreplaceable way for me to express myself.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: Life is my inspiration. From my point of view, our track of life is like a mixture of complication and simplicity. Our life seems regularly repeating the process of eating, drinking, playing, sleeping, studying and working. However, when you explore the essence of life, every single second can be different, which is the reason for us to do regular things, record and make changes.
Ceramic is an important element of my works. It is a material with strong bearing capacity, and at the same time, it is a tool with the attribute of nature and social function.
Q: What is your creative process when you’re creating?
A: The only way I know how to create is to start from something I know very well, then going beyond the constraints of aesthetics and existing experiences and then try to make changes.
Q: Which is your preferred surface for working on?
A: Ceramic is an important element of my works. It is a material with strong bearing capacity, and at the same time, it is a tool with the attribute of nature and social function, for the similarity with humans can be found in it. Thanks to its characteristics, I am able to transform the forms, colors, and quality to complete my works. Collected from nature, carved with human hands, the clay is cultivated and my expectation of the outside world is satisfied.
Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of an Artist?
A: Being “interesting”.
Q: What artist inspires you the most?
A: Both my parents are artists and they inspired me the most, who created me and my past so I can create my future.
Q: What is the reason behind your use of society in your works?
A: My process of creating a work is a process of inspecting society. I am trying to convey the world seen through my eyes, which is also my understanding of art. Artists should lead people to the ideal world they create.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: When I can never see it again.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
A: Butterfly Cemetery and Throngs. Butterfly Cemetery is the first piece I made based on my own understanding and emotion. I have been afraid of butterflies since I was little, the more beautiful, the more attractive, the more terrifying. My feelings about beauty and fear and awe of life are evoked via thousands of “dead” clay butterflies with sound, light, electricity, and shadow in a closed space.
For a long time, I have been making art for myself. Throngs is a transitional piece that I started exploring the connections between butterflies and humans which have a couple of similarities, including identity, beauty, camouflage, community, and migration. Each butterfly is regarded as each individual. I translate human living conditions into my works using the symbolic element of butterflies.
Q: How did you feel when you did your first solo exhibition?
A: Now I am planning and preparing my first solo show so I would say I am very excited and grateful.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
A: The most rewarding thing for me to be a part of the art community is that there is always someone who can understand and expect me and my works.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
A: Social media is a great and powerful “window” for artists. Though I just started taking advantage of it, I am benefiting from it.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for artists on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?
A: I’m still learning how to manage it.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
A: I don’t think so. As for me, art is all about expression and anything can help it will be great. Besides, technology is part of our life and we are living in this age so whatever we do, like art, is a creation of this era which is also a product of technology.
This was Yinan Chen for Art Plugged emerging artists season. You can keep up to date with Yinan latest works, exhibitions, and more by following her on Instagram and heading over to her website.