Interview: Yu Chen
Luca Curci talks with Yu Chen during ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR – 8th Edition, held in Rome at ITSLIQUID Monti.
Yu Chen’s art is an exploration of the complexities of society and the human experience. He delves into social issues and the rich cultural inheritance that informs our understanding of the world. He is particularly interested in examining the cultural differences between the East and West, and how these disparities shape our perceptions of the world around us. At the heart of his work is a deep passion for exploring human emotions. He is driven to study and understand the symbols that exist within our collective consciousness and the role they play in shaping our behaviour. He believes that by extracting these symbols and transforming them into visual art, he can bring to light the often unseen and intangible aspects of human emotion.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Yu Chen – I’m an enthusiastic visual artist, designer, and educator with strong expertise in branding, art direction, and 3D graphics. My educational background is rooted in an MFA degree from the well-regarded School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My professional journey began in 2018, during my first year in college. I was just 18 years old when my design project, ‘Panda Cigarette’ received the prestigious Pentawards recognition. This honour was given at the renowned Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which brought considerable industry attention my way. This led to numerous interviews and enhanced my visibility within the art and design community. Following that accomplishment, I received numerous collaboration offers and significant awards. I take pride in being included in the list of the TOP 100 DAC World’s Leading Designers and having the privilege of being part of the jury for Milan Design Week. Moreover, I actively contribute as a member of the China Fashion & Color Association’s Color Education Professional Committee. Throughout the years, I’ve built partnerships with a wide range of clients, including major automobile brands, celebrities, educational institutions, government bodies, beverage companies and key players in the entertainment field. My projects have garnered more than 40 international awards, including notable distinctions like the Type Directors Club Awards, Communication Arts Awards, and the Grand Prize from the NYX Awards. My work has been showcased across various continents from North American centres like the US and Canada to cultural hubs in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Europe and beyond. A significant highlight of my career was the inclusion of my pieces in New York Times Square in December 2022.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
YC – My art and design revolve around evoking emotions. I find joy in capturing the subtle moments of life while ensuring they come alive visually. My focus lies in those often overlooked actions that everyone performs but rarely acknowledges. I incorporate these nuances into my art to magnify their expressions. Interestingly, my inspirations are quite ordinary – showers and walks. Particularly, those leisurely strolls ignite a sense of untamed creativity within me. And as for my creative process? Early mornings are my sweet spot. There’s a certain enchantment in the calmness before sunrise, a tranquillity that envelops me, knowing the world is still at rest and it’s just me immersed in my artistic flow.
LC – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
YC – I’ve been playing around with this unconventional concept: how about a grand-scale performance art installation? Picture an entirely transparent room. Imagine using a crane to lower it right into the heart of a bustling city intersection. Then, spending a day just existing within that see-through enclosure.
LC – How is your creative process?
YC – My creative exploration begins by delving into the essence of human behaviour. When inspiration strikes, I meticulously examine life’s subtle gestures, uncovering the underlying, deep-seated patterns of the subconscious. With this foundation, I skillfully integrate sophisticated rhetorical methods, harmonizing them with the diverse range of potentials inherent in both individuals and objects. The medium I select acts as a conduit, effortlessly linking the creation to its audience, forging a connection that surpasses the commonplace and kindles something extraordinary.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
YC – No, my artworks don’t center around a specific theme. The choice varies depending on the inspiration at the moment of creation.
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?
YC – The theme of “FUTURE LANDSCAPES” deeply resonates with my work, “Character?” At its core, my creation delves into the transformation of Chinese characters, which carry the weight of centuries of cultural history, in the face of modern challenges such as haze. These characters aren’t mere symbols; they represent a living legacy that billions of people still embrace daily. Rooted in life and enriched by their historical significance, these hieroglyphs possess the capacity to evolve. When they undergo a transformation that harmonizes with their cultural essence, they hold the potential to profoundly impact the viewer, offering new perspectives and sparking contemplation about the environment and beyond.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
YC – Absolutely, ITSLIQUID GROUP provides artists from around the world with an excellent opportunity for exposure and recognition.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
YC – Working with ITSLIQUID GROUP was truly enjoyable. The collaboration encompassed everything from choosing artworks to the commencement of the exhibition and the entire process was carried out with a high level of professionalism.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
YC – Certainly, I believe that working with ITSLUQUID GROUP provides artists with an exciting opportunity to showcase their work on a new platform. This is especially valuable for those who are looking to broaden their reach and gain more exposure in the European art scene.