Interview: Cassie Zeng
Luca Curci talks with Cassie Zeng during the 18th edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Lixia Zeng (b.1992) is a photographer born in Wenzhou, China and currently based in New York City, she earned her master’s degree in Photography from the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Her diverse portfolio includes portraiture, still life, nature, and documentary photography. According to her experience, his work is more toward exploring identity in recent years.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Cassie Zeng – My background is in visual communication, and I use photography to express my poetic emotions in everyday life. In recent years, when I moved to NYC to pursue my master’s degree, I was exposed to multiple cultures. Living in NYC has sparked a fascination with exploring identity and the intricate connections between individuals and society. Simultaneously, academic life at SVA has also inspired me a lot. All these experiences have significantly influenced my work. Now, I’m more focused on identity, the connection between individuals and society.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
CZ – My journey to my current artistic practice has been a dynamic evolution shaped by a combination of education, experiences, and personal exploration. Initially, I cultivated a foundation in visual arts, and then during my studies at SVA, I learnt to appreciate the nuanced language of photography. Immersing myself in different cultural landscapes, especially during my time in NYC, has significantly broadened my artistic perspective. These varied experiences sparked my deep interest in capturing the essence of identity and the connections between individuals and society. Over time, I narrowed my focus to explore the interplay between personal stories and wider social contexts, shaping the unique artistic practice I pursue today.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
CZ – I draw inspiration from my personal experiences, but sometimes when I feel tired and nothing comes to my mind, I’ll go to museums and galleries, such as Itsliquid Group to see how other photographers process their work. And another way which always works is travelling! To get some fresh air. I can always find inspiration during trips.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
CZ – Yes, my style has undergone a significant shift over the years, influenced by the changes in my living environment. While my earlier work celebrated the beauty of mundane life in a peaceful and poetic way, my current style is more realistic and reflects more of my inner thoughts. My work now serves as a visual exploration of the identities and connections among individuals, rather than a departure from my past themes, this evolution represents an embrace of the rich diversity in city living.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
CZ – Both. Sometimes, I’ll make a shooting plan first to decide my subject and conduct research before capturing images, especially after my studies at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) where my major is Fashion Photography, I learnt the importance of arranging everything especially when you shoot a campaign for a fashion brand, I gained valuable inspiration from these experiences. Sometimes, I simply capture moments spontaneously in my life, and in the days that follow, as I review them collectively, I notice that certain photos are strongly connected to each other, forming a cohesive narrative. The photos themselves tell the story.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
CZ – These photos are part of my ongoing series “Camouflage,” captured in 2021 during my first year of studying abroad. In this photo, a girl is imitating the color nearby. The visual narrative within this frame is a reflection of my personal journey. The process of imitation becomes a visual metaphor for my desire to blend seamlessly into my community, much like an animal adopting the art of camouflage to shield itself from potential threats in unfamiliar surroundings. This photo captures a universal experience – the innate inclination to mimic and conform in the quest for connection and security. Like the animal’s camouflage, this mimicry serves as a way of self-preservation. It also invites viewers to reflect on their own experiences of conformity, and to think about how much time and effort they spent to assimilate, adapt, and conceal vulnerabilities in our pursuit of societal integration. Through “Camouflage,” I try to capture the complexities in the human experience, prompting viewers to recognize the shared threads of vulnerability that weave through our quest for connection and belonging.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
CZ – Yes, and VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR – 18TH EDITION with no limit on the theme gives artists the greatest space to submit their work, which leads to a diversity of artistic works.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
CZ – Of course, It is a very smooth cooperation!
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
CZ – Your service is great, and you respond to emails very promptly, I really appreciate it!
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
CZ – It’s an incredibly valuable artistic platform, especially for emerging artists seeking to showcase their work to a global audience.