Interviews | January 1, 2024 |

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

Interview: Weiyun Chen
Luca Curci
talks with Weiyun Chen during the 18th edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Weiyun Chen is a professional graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York, with a primary focus on branding, exhibition, print, and editorial design. She is employed as a creative director at Lucky Risograph and founded Midnight Project Design Studio with Supatida Sutiratana, a Thai graphic designer based in New York City focusing on branding, packaging, print and typography design. Midnight Project is a design studio focusing on brand identity design, exhibition design, and print collection. We bring our cultural background into our design principle which makes us have diverse interactions with design thinking. It allows us to design more inclusive experiences that reach broader audiences.
Weiyun Chen’s passion for design is fueled by a strong interest in the intersection of design and human experiences, emotions, and daily life. With specialized knowledge in exhibition, brand identity, and editorial design, Weiyun creates visual expressions that connect with audiences on a deeper level. Now, she is dedicated to expanding her creative expertise and exploring new design opportunities.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Weiyun Chen –
Midnight Project, a design studio created by Weiyun Chen and Supatida Sutiratana, is currently engaged in an exciting collaboration with New York Chinatown for the upcoming Lunar New Year. Our focus is on crafting a captivating calendar for the ensuing year, featuring the artistic prowess of six distinct Asia-based illustrators rooted in the vibrant landscape of New York. The exhibition is set to unfold within the familiar confines of the Review Retrospective project’s venue, yet with a distinctive twist – this time, the entire gallery space will be transformed to showcase our creative endeavor.
Simultaneously, we aim to leverage this opportunity to offer a cultural immersion by introducing Chinese traditions to the wider public. Nestled within the heart of New York City, Chinatown stands as the oldest Chinese community, providing a haven where individuals of Asian descent can embrace their heritage, communicate without the need for English, and foster a unique environment. Here, amid the bustling metropolis, people discover a home-away-from-home – a space where they can truly savor a slice of Asia within the vast expanse of the city.

LC – Which artists have somehow had an influence on your work?
WC –
Andy Warhol holds a special place as the first artist I encountered in my life. Having attended several of his shows, I embarked on a journey to understand the transformative power of printmaking, inspired by his innovative approach. Warhol’s adept use of color and infusion of humor into his works deeply resonated with me. Influenced by Warhol’s impactful artistry, my aspiration is to provide my audience with an enjoyable visual experience while embedding profound meaning within my creations. Much like Warhol, I seek to use color as a vibrant medium of expression and infuse a subtle sense of humor to engage viewers. Ultimately, I aim to go beyond mere visual pleasure, striving to convey messages that resonate on a deeper and more meaningful level.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – What do you think about art on social media? Are they turning into the new showcases of contemporary art?
WC –
Living in the digital era, platforms like Instagram and TikTok have become incredibly accessible tools for delivering messages to the public. They represent a convenient means of promoting artwork, breaking down geographical boundaries with the internet’s reach, making art more easily and rapidly shareable. However, despite the convenience of showcasing art on social media, the experience of viewing artwork in person remains distinct. In the pursuit of my graduate school thesis, I explored the realm of Augmented Reality (AR) in the context of an online gallery. This concept aims to seamlessly blend the digital and physical realms, recognizing the unique attributes each brings to the art-viewing experience. Grounded in research, the thesis delves into how exhibition design can enhance the value of artwork by influencing audience behavior and guiding them through a curated approach to engage with the pieces. I believe there is still a substantial gap in the perceived value between the physical and digital worlds when it comes to showcasing artwork. My exploration of an AR online gallery seeks to bridge this gap, offering a novel way for audiences to interact with and appreciate art that combines the benefits of both physical and digital experiences.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – What issues do you intend to deal with in the future?
WC –
Having been born and raised in Taiwan, my inherent interest in environmental issues, particularly waste management and global climate change, has been a constant theme in my life. Upon relocating to the USA, I noticed a stark contrast in the level of environmental consciousness. There seemed to be a significant indifference towards issues such as food waste, excessive packaging, and overall environmental impact. Motivated by this observation, I am driven to utilize my creative abilities to construct a visual language that communicates the gravity of these environmental concerns. Through design, I aim to raise awareness and encourage a shift in perspective, urging people to reconsider their impact on the environment. Additionally, my cultural roots inspire another facet of my creative endeavors. Witnessing the erosion of cultural heritage over time, with historical items replaced by newer counterparts, has fueled my desire to bridge the gap between the past and present. In a world often focused on the contemporary, I seek to use design as a conduit, bringing the captivating stories of our cultural heritage into the modern design landscape. By doing so, I hope to instill a greater appreciation for the richness of our history and encourage a more profound connection with our cultural roots.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
WC –
Having conceptual ideas but grappling with the execution, I find a strong inclination towards working with physical spaces, especially in exhibition design. Despite originating from a graphic arts background, delving into three-dimensional concepts poses a significant challenge. Understanding the intricacies of spatial design, including the dynamics of light and its visualization within a space, remains a learning curve for me. There’s a wealth of knowledge and skills I aspire to acquire in this exciting journey of exploration and growth.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
WC –
The global escalation of waste production has emerged as a pressing concern. Waste management, now a worldwide issue, is witnessing an alarming surge in output. In response to this challenge, the SUPERTRASH project endeavors to generate awareness regarding the significance of recycling waste and transforming trash into a valuable resource. The primary objective is to shift perceptions of waste from being a predicament to an opportunity. Through the SUPERTRASH initiative, my partner, Supatida Sutiratana, and I aim to elevate consciousness and educate the public about the merits of recycling and upcycling. Our vision is to alter the narrative surrounding waste, emphasizing its potential for positive transformation. To achieve this, we have meticulously crafted 16 distinctive and memorable personalities, each assigned to a specific piece of discarded material. Drawing inspiration from the 16 personalities framework, we’ve bestowed upon each piece of trash a unique name and personality traits that align with its function and origin. Our approach involves repurposing everyday items, breathing new life into them through the creation of these individualized characters. By doing so, we hope to prompt a reevaluation of the ubiquitous waste that surrounds us. Our aspiration is that this innovative perspective will inspire people to reconsider their relationship with trash and, in turn, encourage the adoption of creative approaches to waste management. This issue is global and I think corresponds to the international art fair. Seeing other countries’ daily usage and how we deal with that waste. I think this is a really fun part of joining an international art show.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
WC –
SUPERTRASH #008 – CREEPY TWINS. Me and my partner Supatida Sutiratana created 16 unique and memorable personalities for each piece of trash we find. We used the 16 personalities framework as a basis for our characters, giving each piece of trash a distinct name and personality traits that correspond with its function and origin. For example, a piece of plastic waste found on the beach might be given the name “Sandy” and have the personality traits of being outgoing, adventurous, and resilient. Meanwhile, a piece of paper waste found in an office building might be named “Paperclip” and have the personality traits of being organized, detail-oriented, and efficient. By creating these characters, we hope to make people see trash in a new light and encourage them to think about the potential value and usefulness of items that are often considered waste. We believe that by giving each piece of trash a unique personality, we can create a more personal connection with our audience and inspire them to take action towards more sustainable waste management practices.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
WC –
It provides a lot of amazing opportunity for artist to showcase artworks in different countries. I think this is a really good opportunity for early stage artists to showcase artworks.

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
WC –
This marks my inaugural opportunity to present my work on an international stage. In New York, finding suitable spaces to showcase artistic endeavors can be quite challenging. I’ve been actively seeking such opportunities since the beginning of the year. The ITSLIQUID GROUP has provided a platform to showcase my creations to a diverse audience. I hope that this experience will eventually pave the way for establishing a dedicated space in New York in the future

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
WC –
I think social media to promote the show can provide more information about artists. Or the post on the website can at least show who participated in each show. Therefore, it will be easier to find more information about the artists.

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Image courtesy of Weiyun Chen

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