Interview: Kayee C
Luca Curci talks with Kayee C during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Kayee is a fine art photographer born and raised in Hong Kong before relocating in France a decade ago. She makes use of techniques of self-portrait and composite photography to create story-telling images to explore the dynamics of relationships on different levels. Her works can be humorous, dramatic or melancholic mises en scene of a variety of human interactions. Characters staged in her portraits range from complete strangers, friends, coworkers to family members, trapped in familiar settings inspired by famous paintings, mysterious surroundings or entirely surreal dimensions. Her favourite subject above all is the paradox between social disconnect and our desire to belong. Kayee practiced different art forms including classical piano and theatre acting before focusing on digital photography in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Hong Kong with first class honours (2005).
Luca Curci -What is art for you?
Kayee C – I think art is simply when someone expresses his/her thoughts and feelings via one or more mediums (writing, drawing, body movement, makeup, etc.). During my adolescence, I explored different art forms at different stages of my growing up journey. Now the way I use photography is all based on constant decision making according to the stories I want to tell, who I want to tell the stories to, and various constraints such as time and my physical limits.
LC – What are you currently working on?
KC – I continue to develop my main body of work which consists of original creations and reinterpretations of classical paintings by Caravaggio, for instance. They are all storytelling pieces built from my self-portraits with composite techniques in Photoshop. At the same time, I have also started a solely black and white series about power. I am still at the beginning of this series.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
KC – Relationships! People can be surprisingly deep and you can never guess what they have been through based on how they look. Sometimes we may think that people are all the same: couples all fight for the same old reasons, coworkers all get into trouble for the same mistakes, friendships all end in the same way. But if we take the time to sit down and listen, we may discover hidden facettes of people we thought we knew. When I listen to stories, digested with my own thoughts, I build up my inspiration reserve. At some point, some of the ideas get further developed and evolve into photographs. By relationship I also mean the way we relate to ourselves. I am a thinker and I take lots of time to digest my own emotions in my corner. Emotions are no liars and they always tell us how well we are doing in loving ourselves. I have this habit to write and draw what I feel, even when I can’t quite structure the big picture behind. I have a little pile of notebooks on my desk documenting my random thoughts. Some of them grow into photographs after some time.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
KC – The most challenging part of my creations is the fact that I work solely alone. From hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, camera set-up, acting to retouch, I am a lone ranger! In fact, I enjoy working alone for the freedom it represents: flexible hours, full focus on deep work. Also, I’m hard of hearing and working with a group of people around me requiring constant communication drains me. I learned from my own body to turn physical constraints into creative freedom whenever I can. My solitary way of work is therefore a balance between creative excitement and my body’s limitation.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
KC – I can only answer this one from a strictly personal point of view. I believe it takes a lot of focus to remain oneself in a world full of blown up representations of social status. Sometimes it is easy to want to make works that seem to appeal to the market because they appeal to us too! Then I stop to question myself, “Which of the emotions these works trigger in me really belong to me?” There’s no point in becoming a discounted version of someone else when you can be your priceless self.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
KC – Yes, I find your theme very timely reflecting what’s going on in the world right now. It is very important because artists are living beings who transform their observations of their surroundings into their chosen art forms.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
KC – The diversity of selected works plays a big role. Your open mindedness is visible in your selection of artworks with a great diversity.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
KC – I can see that you are actively at the forefront of what’s happening in the art and design world and I really appreciate it!
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
KC – Yes! On top of what I said above, your team is also very friendly. Thank you so much!
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
KC – For sure, thanks to this exhibition I’ve also connected with some of the artists in the show and I really enjoy the community.